There’s a little rat inside your head.

This rat doesn’t know anything, but it knows that sometimes snacks fall into its cage, and sometimes the floor shocks its feet.  It likes the snacks, and it hates the shocks.  It will tell you to do things that produce snacks, and it will tell you not to do things that produce shocks.

This little rat is not the only power inside your head, and it might not be the strongest, but it’s there and it has influence.

So pay attention to how you’re treating the little rat.

If every time you learn something new, you say to yourself “ugh, I’m so ignorant for not already knowing this,” you’re shocking the rat.  You’re teaching it to be afraid of learning new things, to associate it with embarrassment and self-criticism.

Remember to feed the rat instead.  Tell it “now I know, and that is good,” and let it eat its snack in peace.

If every time you take care of yourself and your home, you say to yourself “ugh, I never do this enough, and I’ll never get it right,” you’re shocking the rat.  You’re teaching the rat that it was safer when you didn’t try to take care of things.

Feed the rat instead.  Praise what you have done, forgive what you haven’t, so the rat can feel safe.

When the rat takes a step in the right direction, even if the step is too small or slow or not in quite the right direction, feed it.  Don’t shock it for being imperfect; it’ll only learn not to take any steps at all.  Feed it, and let it get bolder, and take bigger steps, and give it bigger rewards for those bigger steps.

Be kind to your little rat.

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