“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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I stumbled upon your website and omg these articles are GEMS! Especially for me in my current situation – husband of 13 years drifted away and cheated on me and is continuing the relationship saying I made him unhappy and made him turn to other women. My self worth is non existent right now and your acticles are empowering. I stumbled upon the site through an article about narcissists (I suspect my husband is a case) but now Im trying to read every article. Thank you so very much.
Remember that some of these subconscious “messages” we receive are nonverbal. My mom had two little kids when she was 22 years old and was overwhelmed and out of her depth. I was the second kid, and my older brother was a demanding toddler when I was an infant. It would have taken a saint with excellent tools to give me the love and attention a little baby needs in infancy with a toddler sibling in the picture. My mom was not a saint and had no tools.
So the subckncious message I received was that I’m not important; I’m a burden on others; I don’t have the right to be here.
I’ve been working on reprogramming myself along the lines Savannah mentions ever since I’ve been in recovery. The first step to reprogramming is AWARENESS of my primary programming — learning to hear the negative voice to shut up and stay quiet; who am I to speak up and say who I am? The next step is what Savannah is talking about: affirmative and positive reprogramming: I am worthy; I am enough; I know my truth.
I am learning to be aware and to counteract the negative subckncious messages I hear all the time.
Listen to Savannah – she knows her shit.
Happy Birthday Savannah! I favorited the positive affirmation website and will be listening to it tonight. Thank you so much for all of your help.
Thanks very much. You are right. Happy Birthday TOO. . it is my birth month as well. oh MY LORD I LOVE THE FALL.. the colors fragrances light…the sublime.. THANKS FOR WHAT YOU WROTE TO ME..IT WILL BENEFIT US ALL.
I have been doing SO well and really felt like the monkey was off my back, even though I still many times wake up thinking about the guy.
I made a big mistake of making a comment on a post of his on fb. Out of about 15 comments, he “liked” everyone’s but mine. I know it’s just fb, but it brought back old wounds. Then lo and behold, yesterday I received a text describing what he would like to do to me sexually. And then he said if I wasn’t such a drama queen and he wasn’t so self centered and screwed up, we could have a wonderful time sexually.
All my progress isn’t lost, but I feel like I have taken a step backwards because I had contact with him. And all my feelings of inadequacy came flooding back.
good stuff.and thank you for enlightening Katy about her sub conscience seeking attention for “almost being killed”. For some reason I have been noticing how people are practically proud of negative events that happened to them. I do it too, Oh it was so terrible ‘I stayed with my N for so long’, poor me when we should be saying I had a life altering experience, I learned from it and I’m a better person. I try to catch myself seeking victim “supply”. Iim learning to share the good, not the bad.
Savannah, GOOD FOR YOU THAT YOU HAVE READERS PARTICIPANTS WHO ARE WILLING TO COUNTER OR CRITIQUE SOME IDEAS..OR PERHAPS EXPRESSIONS. I SEE THAT AS YOUR SUCCESS. I SAW ONE FLYING MONKEY BUT YOU DID NOT ENGAGE IT NECESSARILY. THOUGHT ABOUT YOU LAST NIGHT AND THOUGHT YOU WOULD PROBABLY WRITE SOMETHING I COULD SEE THIS MORNING FOR MY RUN IN WITH THE NARC.AT THE TOWN SQUARE….COULD NOT AVOID..WAS A SITTING DUCK. SAVANNAH, WHN I SEE THIS PERSON THE FEELING IS NOTHING..IT IS STRIKINGLY NOTHING..BUT THEN THE UNCONSCIOUS DOES PUSHUPS AND THEN OBSESSIVE THOUGHTS, SCENARIOS… IS THIS FAMILIAR TO ANYONE? AND YES I HAVE BEEN PRAYING ABOUT IT AND A LOVELY CALM NOT DEPENDENT ON CIRCUMSTANCE.. THERE ARE THINGS WE CAN CONTROL AND THINGS THAT WE COULD BE CONTROLLED BY, AND THEN THERE IS ASKING THE Creator TO HELP..BECAUSE IT IS HELL IN THE HALLWAY SOMETIMES…BUT NOT ALL TIMES …
Sami Codependency wants to keep you where you are. It fights against growth and change and some of the ways it does that is through obsessive thoughts, doubt, shame, fear, guilt, criticising, it creates justifications for you to do things you know aren’t good for you. What you’re experiencing is very normal. You have to continue no contact and battle. Turn your thoughts inward and start focusing on what you want, what your goals are. This I know is very hard to do because Code’s are very other person focused but practice, practice, practice thinking of you, thinking of your next chapter, of what you want to accomplish, things that make you happy. Keep thinking these thoughts – this is what I’m talking about. They will feel uncomfortable, not as exciting as thinking of someone else (at first) but you keep thinking “you” thoughts.
Happy Birthday! I like the concept of positive thoughts gaining “traction.” It takes awhile for new habits to get traction in our lives. I was also raised by a narcissistic mother so positive self image was elusive for a long time. Practice, practice until the good things gain traction and become the “new normal.”
“You can un-do your early programming; it just takes practice, practice, practice.” Thank you for those words. I already see progress and it gives me hope as I move on to complete the journey.
From when I was 25-years old, whenever I have had a disappointment, large or small, I look for the positive side of that disappointment, and focus on that. The first time I did this, I was looking forward to a brunch with my friends. It got cancelled at the last minute. So, I decided I would clean out a closet because I had all this time now. I’ve looked for the positive in disappointments for so long now that I do it automatically, and it’s had a huge positive impact on my life. Savannah, I love your work but, do you really think, when you drive very fast, that you can will yourself not to get a speeding ticket? You say you haven’t gotten a speeding ticket in 6 years. I’ve never gotten a speeding ticket because I don’t ever drive really fast; because statistics show for every 10 miles you go over the speed limit, it increases your changes of accident, injury and death on the road. I want to keep you safe. Maybe it’s time to slow down, and then you’ll really know you won’t get a ticket.
I didn’t say I drive very fast. I said I drive faster than my brothers. Some people like to drive slow. Some like to drive the exact speed limit, some like to drive a little faster and some people drive like maniacs. I’m good with being me and driving a little faster as long as I’m not hurting anyone. I know you meant this comment in the nicest possible way, but my message here has nothing to do with speeding and everything to do with the power of belief.
Very good article, but I’m sickened by your bragging about speeding – I was almost killed in an auto accident by a woman who was speeding.
Katy saying I drive faster than my brothers is not bragging about speeding. It’s an instance that just happened in my life so I used it as an example to support a statement (which had nothing to do with speeding) Stop using my experience as a reason for you to be offended. I talk a lot on here about walking around with the victim mentality. Just stop – it doesn’t serve you or anyone else.
I agree — take control. You don’t like reading about “speeding” then don’t read it. Exit, unsubscribe, regain control of your life. What Savannah is doing here is very valuable. If it isn’t valuable for you, then don’t do it. Be the change you need.
I especially liked this one … “Hey dumb-dumb, we’re not thinking this way anymore.”
And just last evening I caught myself thinking something absolutely ridiculous and when I caught myself … i said something very similar to just this!
I can absolutely affirm that it works–as I have been walking a very similar path in my own healing process, I am now a completed, adult, self-caring and loving person, and that is pretty impressive transformation for someone who’s come through a tremendous abuse and who honestly had no clue whether he’ll still be around in 2016. We chatted once in Skype, and I am very thankful to you, Savannah, maybe you recall me and my dream…well, it recently came true and I’ve landed a dream job in that small Alpine country 😉
And whoever is still suffering–dear All, please do believe in yourself, you are absolutely worth living and thriving in this life. What Savannah writes in her articles does work, it’s the process of course, but after the transformation begins, you *will* enjoy it! 🙂