Expect Delays!

There is road construction by my house, but miles before you get to the actual site, there are lighted signs set up at periodic intervals telling you to Expect Delays. The authorities are awfully insistent about it! Do they really think sitting in jammed traffic will be easier to bear if you had been expecting it beforehand?


The reality is that when you expect delays, delays are what you’ll find - not because of the law of attraction or some such thing but because that is how the brain works. The reason for this is located in a tiny nerve center in the brain called the reticular activating system.

The Reticular Activating System Explained

There is a bundle of neurons located in your brainstem called the reticular activating system, or RAS. It has the job of sorting and organizing the massive volume of information you encounter on a daily basis and filtering it down into easily understandable, bite-sized pieces.

There is far more data coming at you than you are aware of. Every second of every day, you are inundated by billions of bits of information about the world around you. Think how crazy it would be if you could see the atoms and molecules of the air! The world would be an indecipherable jumble. The reticular activating system, however, filters out all the unnecessary and presents you only with the information you need in a well-ordered and organized fashion.

 You might wonder how the RAS decides what is, in fact, necessary and what is extraneous. The decision is made based on a very specific set of parameters, and these parameters are your beliefs. Accordingly, information that [you believe] is true is highlighted and ushered right through. Information that [you believe] is false is allowed in but flagged as such ahead of time. Then, there is also information that falls entirely outside your frame of reference and that is blocked out altogether. Of course, you don’t know that any of this is happening because the RAS operates at lightning speed below the level of your conscious awareness.

 For you, it looks as if the same things are happening over and over again, and as a result, you believe them to be accurate. However, in reality, your reticular activating system gives preferential treatment to the things you already believe. It ensures that you see what you believe, and you believe what you see in a perpetually self-fulfilling cycle. In other words, your experiences only confirm your beliefs; they do not necessarily tell you what is there.

 When you are looking for love, and there is a long delay, it’s not because there is no one for you. It means you’re expecting a delay, and you always get what you expect. You may say, “No, I am very hopeful to find someone; it just never turns out that way.” I hate to say it, but you are really not the one exception to the rule.

When you’re not meeting anyone, it means you have a filter in your RAS that weeds them out before you see them, and that means there has to be a subconscious belief standing in the way of finding the love you crave. It can be frustrating because, of course, you’re not aware of what your reticular activating system is blocking from you. The reasons are probably as complex as you are. Maybe something in you thinks you are not worth loving the way you are. Perhaps deep down, you fear a relationship will require too much compromise, or you are trying to recreate what you had with your ex (because a part of you conveniently forgot the nightmare it was). One thing is for sure: whatever it is, you are the one who is creating the delay.


The Fine Art of Complaining

A helpful strategy to discover your blind spots is the fine art of Complaining. I’m not suggesting you start moaning and bellyaching about your woes to anyone who listens. This is an exercise for your eyes only. Complaining done right is a stream-of-consciousness narrative about what’s going on in your life. It’s honest, and it can bring fantastic clarity. You need that because you can’t fix a problem if you don’t know what the problem is.

Write down on a piece of paper everything that’s bothering you. This can be harder than you think. We are so used to showing a stiff upper lip and not being whiners that we have difficulty discussing our problems this way. However, this is not the time to hold back or censure yourself in any way. Whether it’s your body, money, or love, complain about whatever is not to your liking.

When you’ve written it all out, it's time to get to work. Flip the paper over, and for every complaint, write down what you would like to see happening instead. Albert Einstein said a solution can’t be found with the same thinking that created the problem. Here is your chance to reverse your thinking. Remember that the reason you don’t have what you want is not because there is no possibility of having it. You don’t have it because somewhere YOU BELIEVE you can’t have it. Writing down the solution begins to create a different level of thinking.

There is also a second part to this exercise. Here is where you take back your power.  Go back to your original page, and wherever the responsibility for the situation lies outside yourself, write your own name. Was it in your upbringing, something your mother or father did or said that now puts you in this spot you don’t like? Write your name in there now. Your mother or father might have said something long ago, but you are the one who is holding it in place. By taking responsibility, you take back the power you’ve given away. Does it seem as if your boss is not appreciating your accomplishments at work? Write down your name as the one who does not respect your accomplishments. The fact is that if you held yourself in high esteem, it wouldn’t matter much what anyone else thinks. As you change the level of your thinking, you are also changing the filters in your reticular activating system, and you might soon see a different reality.

Take responsibility and write your name even if it looks as if fate is stacked against you. The sentence, “Perhaps I’m not meant to find anyone,” becomes, “I don’t mean for me to find anyone.”

You are not just a left shoe. You are not so unique that there is no match for you somewhere in the world. The love of your life is out there waiting for you. The only reason you haven’t found them is because you have been filtering them out. Stop expecting delays; instead, expect wide-open roads ahead!

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Expect Delays!

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