“A belief is just a thought we keep thinking.” – Esther Hicks
Have you ever gotten into your car and started driving and you fall into, what seems to be a type of trance, then suddenly you arrive at your destination, but you have very little memory of how you actually got there?
Or have you ever watched a pianist or a guitarist perform intricate musical pieces and thought, “How on earth do they remember all of those notes?”
These two instances are examples of the subconscious mind at work. Our subconscious mind is important. It’s where we store things after repeated practice. This works for activities like practicing the piano and it also works for the way we perceive and think.
When I first started driving, I remember being extremely conscious of everything around me. I remember staring at the road right in front of me and not looking off into the distance as I do now. With much practice driving became rote. I no longer have to think about it – it started off in my conscious brain when it was new and with repetition it made its way to my subconscious mind where it now stays.
How do musicians remember all those notes? – They don’t – not really. As a former rock star, wannabe, I can tell you, you have to practice a lot (repetition, repetition, repetition) and when you’ve gone through a whole song correctly many, many times, your fingers just know where to go, without you having to think about it. It starts off in the conscious mind, as you’re figuring it out – but practice, practice, practice, cements it in your subconscious mind where you don’t have to think about every single note.
Why is this important? Because repetition is the process of how codependent’s internalize the message that they aren’t good enough, or worthy of love, or worthy of being treated with kindness and respect. When these messages are repeatedly delivered to us, by word or deed, throughout our childhood, they become ingrained in our subconscious mind – they become our core beliefs about ourselves. To make matters worse, our young brains are like little detectives trying to figure out if those messages are true and we start comparing ourselves to others and unfortunately the bad stuff is always easier to come by and easier to believe.
Reprogramming the Subconscious Mind
Repetition of thought is the cause of our disease, the good news is, it’s also the cure. When we battle Codependency what we are really battling is our early programming. I’ve complied a few of the techniques I’ve used to reprogram my subconscious mind.
Change your perception: Wayne Dyer always used to say, “When you change the way you look at things the things you look at change.” That isn’t just a clever play on words. It means, instead of looking at misfortune as another disappointment and another obstacle, look at them as challenges that will make you better and provide new opportunities. Instead of looking at things and thinking, this is impossible, change your perspective to believe that everything is possible. Things are only impossible until they’re not. Instead of saying, “Why me?” Instead say, “Why not me? I got this.” Instead of taking in your environment with a negative perspective, put a positive twist on things and look at life with awe and wonder.
I’ve been doing this for a long time and I’ll give you an example of how this works in my life. It was my birthday this past weekend and we all went up to my family’s cottage on the lake. One of my brothers, who is always highly stressed and constantly worried about money, got a speeding ticket on the highway – it was a huge ticket, $500.00 (it was in a construction zone, so the fine was doubled). These kinds of things are always happening to him. They happen to him because that’s where he’s putting his energy and his attention and focus (on not losing money) and so he’s emitting the feeling of losing money and that’s exactly what he keeps getting – opportunities to lose money. I drive faster than both of my brothers. I never get speeding tickets any more. I haven’t had one in six years. I believe that I’m not going to get one – ever. I really believe that and I don’t.
Mindfulness: Mindfulness is where you catch yourself thinking the old way, the self-sabotage, self-destructive way and you remind yourself, “Hey dumb-dumb, we’re not thinking this way anymore.” And you stop what you’re doing and you change the course and the tone of your thoughts. It’s not going to feel good. It’s going to feel strange and uncomfortable at first. It’s something that you have to keep doing even though it will feel unnatural. This is the part of the process that requires practice, practice, practice. You keep doing it, even though it’s hard. When you hear people say, “Do the work,” in the self-help field, this is what they are talking about. Practice, practice, practice doing this. How successful you are at changing the way you feel about you, is entirely dependent upon how well and dedicated you are to this process.
After persistently doing this, it will eventually stop feeling like hard work. You’ll know it’s gotten into your subconscious when it’s your automatic, go-to way of thinking.
Positive Affirmations: Positive Affirmations help to keep positive thoughts and feelings fresh in our minds. Often when I’m at work and I’m not feeling the way I want to, I’ll throw on one of my favorite affirmation videos on YouTube. It puts me in the right frame of mind and gives a feeling of empowerment. One of my favorites is by David McGraw and you can find it by clicking here. Louise Hay is another of my favorites and she has written countless books on the topic.
Meditation: I use meditation for relaxation, visualization, health and to raise my emotional vibration. I usually don’t use guided meditation, but follow my own script. If I’m not feeling physically well. Let’s say, I have a cold. The first thing I’ll do is get myself in a feeling good state of mind by raising my vibrational frequency and I do that by feeling the feelings of joy, love, and abundance. Then while in that state, I will visualize lying down on a silver hospital table and then I will see and feel a divine white light will ascending from the sky. It will scan my body, going from the top of my head, all the way to my feet and as it goes over my body, it heals everything inside of me. Once I feel healed, I will then visualize myself in situations that I would like to be in and feel the feelings of already being in that state.
When meditation becomes a habitual way of life for you, you will find yourself in a much happier and calmer state of mind. Again it will feel uncomfortable at first, but with a lot of practice you really will feel empowered and that you actually do have a profound ability to impact your own moods, thoughts and behavior.
Hypnosis: While in a state of hypnosis your brain is operating in a theta wave cycle and it is highly susceptible to suggestion. In this state you can plant things in your subconscious mind that you would like it to do (or not do). Hypnosis has been used to help people stop smoking, lose weight, lessen anxiety and I’ve even heard of people, who are unable to go under anesthetic, use hypnosis to not feel the pain of surgery. You don’t have to pay big bucks to go to a hypnotist. You can write your own script and input whatever message you would like to give to your subconscious. There are many books on self-hypnosis, or you can find many online that can help you plant whatever message you would like communicate to yourself.
To go from where you are to where you want to be requires practice. I always say to my Skype with Savannah clients, “This is a process. You won’t feel perfect tomorrow, but if you continue to work at it, continue to be disciplined and continue to do the mental work, you can undo your early programming and create the messages and beliefs that you want to hold of yourself. It just takes practice, practice, practice.
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