Sunday, February 5, 2012

Is Your Sub-Conscious Mind Ruining Your Life?

English: Different forms of AwarenessImage via WikipediaBy Maxine Harley

We all have two distinct aspects of our mind - our conscious mind and our sub-conscious mind.

The former deals with our day to day rational / cognitive decision-making, and the reviewing and judging of the past, and planning for the future. The latter is the more powerful and influential mind that is running our life over 90% of the time - outside of our awareness!

We know that when we dream our brain is still working hard with creating the images, themes and stories that we experience; and we would all agree that this cannot be the product of our waking cognitive and rational mind.

The difficulties we experience in life can often be associated with our sub-conscious mindset and our core belief system, which we will have had for many years. We will not have been aware of this 'hidden' belief system, or of how we might change it and make it more benevolent and supportive.

Everything we do is for a reason - the conscious mind can be unaware of it - but the subconscious mind will know it!

The Subconscious Mind

  • Contains ingrained beliefs from your childhood.
  • Is 'running your life' more than 90% of the time.
  • Is a million times more powerful than your conscious rational mind.
  • It can sabotage your self-concept and self-esteem, your health, your relationships, your career, and your financial success.
  • It ensures that your external life is a reflection of your internal belief system!
  • It cannot be changed by the conscious mind and willpower.
  • It works in literal and present time only - what is seen, heard, touched (the conscious mind functions in past and future time frame only, e.g. goal-setting and judging results; and its processing capacity is limited to only 20 seconds of time).
  • It monitors all bodily functions such as heart-rate, breathing, digestion, motor functions, and chemical / hormone levels.
  • It can process thousands of events at once. Whereas the conscious mind can only process between 1 and 3 at a time.
  • It can process 40 million bits of information per second - the conscious mind can only process 40 bits per second.
The sub-conscious beliefs we now hold began in our childhood. The 'core' of these being laid down by the age of 6 years; when the brain was working predominantly in the Theta brainwave state.

We have encountered - or perhaps subconsciously 'set-up' - experiences that have since reinforced and expanded these beliefs until they are running our lives like an 'auto-pilot.' We also create a 'negative filter' that only allows in that which confirms the sub-conscious beliefs; and in this way they become even stronger and 'self-fulfilling'.

What we experience on the outside is then a reflection of what we believe on the inside! The beliefs and behaviours set up by our 'child-mind' seemed like the best way for us to keep ourself safe and to avoid rejection, abandonment and pain.....when we were small. However, these behaviours do not serve us well as adults and lead to dysfunctional ways of relating to ourselves and to other people.

Perhaps we became compliant and a 'people-pleaser' in order to be liked and to be allowed to stay around; and we may hide our 'real and authentic self' and only show the false-mask that we still think others want or need from us.

Maybe we have become very defensive or aggressive with others because we automatically suspect their motives. Or we may avoid getting close to others and ensure that we don't receive the intimacy that we fear, yet still need, as we try desperately to avoid the pain of rejection. Conversely we may have become needy, clingy and dependent upon the presence and attention of someone we believe we 'need' for our well-being.

Some people have difficulty in setting and maintaining healthy boundaries in their life - particularly if they have been traumatised or neglected as a child.

For many people this results in low confidence, poor self-esteem and body-image, and even self-loathing; and perhaps over-drinking/eating/working/spending etc. - to temporarily make themselves feel a little better; as they try to anaesthetise the anxiety, anger and depression they feel.

They may even become addicted to the substances and behaviours they have adopted. Sadly this often results in loss of relationships, as other people cannot cope with the 'neurotic' behaviours. By neurotic I mean "as-if" behaviours ... they behave and react 'as-if' the other person meant or intended a certain thing; without ever checking out with them what is really going on.

Random, unpredictable, and overly-emotional behaviours which are inappropriate to the situation also put a strain on any relationship. Manipulation and control of other people and events may be used as a misguided attempt to hide and soothe their underlying fears and sense of emptiness.

Of course, other people also have their own negative sub-conscious 'programming' and this can cause even more problems between us! We owe it to ourselves, our family, our partner, our colleagues and particularly our children; to take responsibility to clear away the harmful and painful old programming that gets in our own way in the present day.


By Maxine Harley Msc Integrative Psychotherapy - Psychotherapy in West Sussex and creator of 'The Ripple Effect' Process and Quantum Psyche Process see

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