Our subconscious mind is an intricate, yet wonderful thing. It can be our own worst enemy, or our greatest Ally. Like everything, the trick is to make our subconscious work for us, rather than remain enslaved to it´s wiley ways.
Our subconscious mind is a giant memory bank. It stores every event that has ever happened to us, and due to it´s inability to reason or rationalise- it accepts everything that manages to sneak past the conscious mind, as truth. It´s job is to make sure that you respond exactly the way that you have been conditioned. Your subconscious mind works on auto pilot and makes everything you say and do fit a pattern consistent with the years of conditioning and repetition that it has received.
I´m sure you can imagine how easy this would make life, if everything we have ever been told by friends, peers, parents, society and religion has been positive, with the only events that occurred and words spoken to us were pre prepared by those responsible for conditioning us as children, with the sole intent of contributing to our growth and positive mindset. Unfortunately that is not always the case, which is why it´s so important to become aware of our subconscious and how it is manifesting patterns, thought process and behaviours in our adult lives, most of which we are not aware of- we don´t think, we just do!
It is through repetition that the subconscious accepts phrases or events as reality, and between the ages of 0-6, the repetitive circumstances in our lives have formed our internal operating system. When we experience a traumatic event (which can be as simple as a teacher shouting at us in front of a classroom full of other children and telling us we are no good) humans produce a freeze response. This paralyses our conscious mind and a part of our consciousness, holding onto this memory, splits off and goes straight into the subconscious. It is at this moment that we form a belief about ourself and the world.
So if we have been exposed to circumstances that have caused us to form a subconscious belief, that becomes our truth.
Throughout my youth, I attended private schools, which were old fashioned and competitive in nature- we were programmed from day one to compete against each other. Whether it be who would be chosen as captain of the Lacrosse team, who would be chosen to be someones best friend out of an entire group of people, or who would be chosen for the lead part in the school play, or who would end up in the dreaded D class for maths (me by the way) there was always the tense few days of waiting and uncertainty, before the results would be pinned on the notice board in the hallway.
I have always leaned towards more creative abilities, rather than academic classroom activities and singing and theatre were always my passion. I had my heart set on becoming the next Marilyn Monroe when I grew up. My parents were always very supportive of my singing and acting, and whenever we had a dinner party at home, I would always get up at the end of the meal and sing or do a little scene from a play. I received alot of positive feedback from teachers, friends, parents and parents friends- but whenever the school play auditions would happen, I would never be chosen for a part other than an angel or a donkey in a nativity play. When the rounders teams were chosen in the summer, I would gear myself up for being captain, but someone else would always be chosen over me. So what belief did I eventually form about myself and the world? “Someone else is always chosen over me”
As we grow older, our conscious mind comes to learn that this happened in the past and really it was just a silly thing that happened at school when we were little, however our subconscious mind, having no concept of time, space or even reality (aside from the reality it is programmed to believe) just says “ok someone else always get´s chosen over me, your wish is my command” so that is what continues to manifest in our lives time after time. The job we were so certain we would be chosen for, but then last minute the other candidate got chosen because she was less independant, or calmer. The guy everyone wanted as their boyfriend, who made every effort under the sun to get close to you and then promptly friendzones you and dates your biggest rival from your class. Or the Ivy league university you are just one point away getting accepted to, when your exam results come back. The extraordinary thing about these beliefs, is that because a part of our minds accept them as truth, we actually tend to behave in ways that guarantee that we are not chosen. Let´s take a look at the possibilities of what really happened behind one of the examples above:
Our version of the truth: The job we were so certain we would be chosen for, but then last minute the other candidate got chosen because she was less independant, or calmer.
The actual truth: Both candidates had equal strengths, you had a slight advantage because you spoke another language. You were both called back for second interviews, and you both had plans to go on holiday. She cancelled her holiday, you thought cancelling your long awaited beach break was an idea so ridiculous, you didn´t give it a second thought.
Outcome: In this moment it became clear to your employer that she was willing to comply with what they wanted, you weren´t. She got the job. Your conclusion? “Someone else always gets chosen over me”
and on it goes…
In order to dissolve these beliefs and re-programme our subconscious, we first need to look at the constant themes in our present day lives, in all areas of our life, identify what it is that we would change, and go about recalibrating our subconscious in order to design a new master programme into our thoughts and lives, so that we can begin creating a reality of choice, rather than chance, as a result of how we have been previously calibrated.
Some tips to get you started:
- Practice positive self talk– also known as affirmations. Emil Coue, the French pharmacist who is world renowned for bringing affirmations into the mainstream would repeat to himself on a daily basis “every day, in every way, I am getting better and better” Dr. John Demartini´s favourite is “I love what I do and I do what I love” write yourself five affirmations, that are true to you, repeat them several times, first thing in the morning and last thing at night, for a period of 21 days (to form a habit) and notice the changes in your thought patterns and hence reality.
- I am a huge fan of Byron Katie´s “The Work” so simple, yet so impactful. When you notice a persistent thought stop and ask yourself the following questions. “Is this true” “Can you absolutely know it’s true?” “What happens when you believe that thought?” “Who would you be without that thought?” Just taking the time to mindfully be aware of our thoughts and challenge them, brings our awareness to a new level, and we start to see that the map is not the territory.
- Another simple process I often use whenever I experience thoughts or observe behaviours I would rather not have, is everytime I experience a situation which re affirms a belief to me, I make two mental lists: here is an example using the belief of “someone else always gets chosen over me” 1. Remind yourself that this is not fact and make a mental list of all the times you HAVE been chosen. 2. Recognise that there is positive and negative in absolutely everything– if on this occasion someone else HAS been chosen over you, what benefits have you got from it? if someone else was chosen how has that helped you? If you had been chosen, what would it have stopped you from being, doing or having? before long you will realise that actually it may have been a blessing in disguise.
- Practice mindfulness– just because you have been triggered by something which is causing you do feel that your belief is true DOES NOT mean that it IS true! Your emotions do not define you and as a fully functioning human, you have the CHOICE whether or not to engage with this emotion/belief. If you choose not to it really is as straightforward as saying to yourself “Right i can see what´s happening here, it´s that same emotion arising, I´m just going to let it pass and not get involved” Force yourself to focus your attention on something else and not engage with it, and you will find before long it passes.
Although the above post is not a conclusive method to re-training the brain, it is a good starting point towards your own understanding of how your Subconscious mind is working in your life, and just the recognition of that, is already a powerful step into Re-aligning with your authentic self. Practice makes perfect, so start practicing the tips above, and leave a comment letting us know your (new and improved) thoughts!