How the Subconscious Works (Against You)

We all have our own personal triggers. It could begin with a smell, word, or image. Poof! A rush of endorphins floods the brain, overwhelming our thoughts and feelings, sparking an impulsive physiological response for food, drugs, sex, whatever we crave. Within the intensity of this compulsion we become someone whom we are not. After the charge is gone, we regain our composure and the habitual drive dissipates. However, we feel ‘less than’ for succumbing to this urge, especially when we are prone to recycling this pattern all over again. It is a powerful sequence that can prey upon individual prosperity.

This victimization of self and the question as to why this happens is deeply personal and uniquely different for each individual. Yet this distinct process is quite common and presents similar challenges for everyone. The commonality is that we all have a subconscious part of our brain that reacts predictably. Yet the neurotic development of this same region is particular to the story of one’s own experiences. By the tender age of eight or nine our subconscious wiring takes clear shape. From this point forward, for better or worse, all the associations we form become greatly influenced by the imprint of our subconscious script. In other words, the decisions we make now are modifications that reinforce what we have always known. We just paint the elephant a different color.

For instance, all of us carry emotional trauma that we either can not, will not, or do not dare expose. This resolve is a form of protection, control or avoidance. It is deeply embedded in the human brain because of past experiences that we needed to navigate around, and adapt to, in order to move on. Furthermore, we have become so accustomed to burying these issues, layering one trauma over the next, that they come to resemble a neurotic onion, unfolding the same process with the same result. What is most frustrating is that our conscious selves envision a higher path - a positive change which we want to grasp - but our established patterns derail this goal because we have conditioned ourselves to make the same choices over-and-over again. It is like the New Year’s resolution that ultimately fails because our objective is an unknown, an outlier, and therefore gets rejected. The tired beat goes on.

So whether we eat that whole bag of cookies, chase an elusive high, or long after that image of our ideal someone, it is all done as a safeguard to fill a void, create a distraction or to protect us from relationship rejection. This is the human brain mastering the art of modification and presenting it as an illusion of a healthy release. In essence, the subconscious mind seizes control of our involuntary decision-making by taking what is known (past experiences) and applying that knowledge to a current development to produce an outcome that it can recognize. The subconscious sees this behavior as a means of survival. It doesn’t know nor does it give a damn if you are happy or unhappy. Why? It has no concept of happy or unhappy. What does it know? That you are alive! And how did you stay alive? By keeping this anxiety! Does it make sense? No. However, when you de-engineer the process, you are able to understand the logical reasons behind the illogical responses. It is about protection and survival.

However, there is a silver lining – the brain is a goal machine! Its motivation is based upon the successful outcome of choices. And, in recognition of how these choices work, the consciously aware person can utilize their new tools to formulate a life’s script to win. It all starts with the ability to recognize that your complexes are not your fault; you have just been conditioned to do this all along. When you allow that self-forgiveness to take place, identify the personal patterns you want to change, and conceive a plan to build towards this change, then you can begin to make inroads with your new progression. You are literally creating a neural pathway.

Understand that this change takes consistent effort and, at first, it will be a bumpy ride. (You are deconstructing and constructing lifecycles all at once!) Inevitably, you will continue to fall back into that old rabbit hole, however, find relief that it will be far less frequent than before. When those worn-out habits crack, light will shine through them upon your new you and a higher trust in self will take place. Remember, it is you who is responsible for cultivating this winning script, one that inspires a feeling of being ‘greater than’ and infuses a lifetime of prosperity. No one can take that away.

- Rian O’Meara, C.Ht.

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