Ep 22 – A Story About Two Brothers

Hello and welcome to another episode of the health begins with mom podcast. This is Dorit Palvanov, your host. This show is all about inspiring mothers to THRIVE as women, wives, and mothers and today I am back with another short episode of me, solo. In earlier episodes, I promised to keep Mondays as interview days with various practitioners and coaches, and Wednesdays would be the days I come on solo and talk to you about motherhood, parenting, relationships, nutrition and other topics.

As you know, I am a huge proponent for developing emotional intelligence as a skill in our children, so Today on the show I share a story which is an analogy for two parts of our brain that process different types of information we, humans, encounter on a daily basis. This is a story about two brothers, the “big brother” is the one who’s responsible for processing emotions and feelings and the “younger brother” is responsible for processing information, academics, learning, memory, etc. This is what we call the battle between EQ and IQ, and the difference between the two.

This is a story I received in my inbox written by an Israeli psychologist I’m subscribed to and admire his approach, so this is how it goes:

Today, kids, I am going to tell you a story about two processors. A big processor and a smaller one. We will refer to them as a big brother and a younger brother.

The older one is wise and experienced and the younger brother is inexperienced, arrogant and full of himself.

What do I mean by the processor? This is a part of our brain that works like a computer processor that knows how to process information and turn it into comprehension and then into tangible action.

This is a true story, kids.

The older processor is called “intuition”, “emotional intelligence” or “subconsciousness”, who shines when it comes to being wise about life and processes information slowly, with patience and reverence.

The younger one is called “the mind” or “consciousness” and he is really good at thinking, analyzing, and remembering details.

The younger brother is extremely proud of himself for doing well in school, he knows a lot, reads a lot, he is what people call book smart, intelligent.

The younger brother puts the older brother down and feels superior to him. After all, he is the educated and enlightened one.

However, when life becomes difficult, unbearable and too stressful this brother caves in, becomes silent, he has nothing to say. He doesn’t know how to cope with difficulties. That is the time when the older brother kicks in.

Both processors are inside of our heads

The younger one sits on the left at the front of our head, and the younger sits on the right at the back of our head.

The youngster goes to school and teachers adore him: he knows mathematics, literature, he speaks politely and with manners, he’s great at putting on a show.

Parents love him too, they enjoy conversing with him, he makes them feel good about themselves, smart and successful.

But the truth is that the young brother can handle small amounts of input at a given time. Too much of it overwhelms and confuses him.

The older brother, however, is much more resilient. He makes millions of calculations at every given moment, Weighing considerations and produces a result. He is responsible for how we feel at the moment and for our sense of safety, confidence, and security. 

When the older brother solves a certain problem and declares it, the younger brother awakens and starts to doubt his solution, he says things like “yes but”, “what if”, “if only” “I can’t” “you’re not good enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough, not thin enough”.

That is why most of the time I choose not to believe the youngster.

It feels like he’s not telling the truth, he’s too doubtful for my liking. He’s a newbie. That’s why most of the time I choose to go with the advice of the older brother.

How about you? Who’s controlling your head?

Unfortunately, mainstream education system favors the younger brother.

It doesn’t understand and trust the older brother. They don’t know how to nurture and encourage him.

Who do I prefer?

It would be silly to choose one over the other, as the healthiest solution would be a combination of both brothers, both processors.

But it is very clear to see that the younger brother rules in the educational and health systems, so we need some affirmative action in favor of the older brother.

We need to learn to trust him more

to grow and nurture him, to allow him to guide and direct the younger brother over a lifetime.

So what does this mean to us as parents?

This means we have to ask questions like “what is the first thing that jumps into your head?”, questions like “how does it feel in your body?”, “where do you feel it in your body?”, “guess what’s right”.

This is a practice and we have to help our children develop a stronger sense of trusting themselves and their bodies. This is called intuition, gut feeling, inner wisdom. It takes practice.

Look, the little processor is able to work really well, ONLY when the older brother keeps him safe.

This means I cooperate and participate in any activity that gives the younger a sense of confidence in learning. I listen and pay attention to children’s language, both verbal and physical. I ask open-ended questions and encourage to listen to their inner wisdom and come up with answers that feel good to them.

I am patient, loving and accepting. I believe in their abilities to come up with solutions that are right for them.

I know you are busy, and there are a lot of things that need to get done. Here’s the thing though. Before you can help your child to tune into their his/her wisdom and intuition it would be wise to develop it in yourself, so that you can model it to them. The thing that works best for me is to slow down, sit in silence and journal. Meditation works beautifully as well.

If you are new to this start a yoga practice of your own. If you need accountability do it with a community. Try group yoga classes. I recommend taking classes at a professional yoga studio instead of at the gym, as the atmosphere is totally different. You can listen to episode 18 where I interviewed my yoga teacher, Rachel, and we spoke about the benefits of yoga for mothers.

I hope this was a helpful way for you to think about these two forces in each and every one of us. Both of them need nurturing, gardening and practice.

If you would like to find more inspirational stories, I recommend to visit ToastFinder – which is a website with a collection of inspiring stories to learn and share with others.