How much of what we want is held back by our own fear and emotions?
I have pushed myself in life and have often found the edge of my comfort zone where fear and emotions have gotten in the way. A strong sense of justice (well, that is what I called it) demanded that I make others aware of their wrong behaviour. Not helpful!
Neither of these situations has served me.
We all know, logically, that there is no reason to be hurt or upset but our cognitive mind is unable to control our subconscious mind. It is in our subconscious mind where every emotion we have ever experienced is stored. I have read hundreds of books on self-improvement, and although I have enjoyed the very positive approach, none provided any kind of real solution to the emotions that seemed to ‘come out of nowhere’ and overtake me.
Self-control doesn’t work against fear!
The world is never what it seems and we are never angry, afraid or upset for the reason we think. Our emotions run deep into our subconscious and when we encounter any situation our subconscious looks to make sense and assign familiarity.
A fear of speaking in public at forty and our subconscious connects an awkward moment in the first grade. Many do find Toastmasters helpful!
Somebody bumps into us on the street or cuts us off whilst driving and our subconscious mind connects to the emotion of every time we have ever been wronged.
This is the reason tempers explode out of proportion. We are not reacting to what is real but to dozens or hundreds of wrongs over a lifetime.
Our emotions are powerful and the more we try to ‘fight them’ or ‘suck it up’ the stronger the connection reinforcing the unwanted response. Will power makes things worse not better! That is why diets rebound – they actually reinforce the problem.
There is the ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’ approach which gets us through the situations but doesn’t change the feelings that we experience. It takes years to overwrite old negative emotions with new patterns and typically we will find the old emotions lurking underneath for decades anyway. Our negative emotions become hardwired.
So what works?
When it comes to our subconscious emotions we are all children and the solution is as simple. When a two-year old falls over, is startled and begins to cry often a simple distraction is enough to make them forget the fear completely. Distract a crying child with a toy and almost instantly they begin to laugh. Our subconscious mind works the same way.
A similar technique worked wonders to eliminate every bit of fear, anger, hurt and anxiety in my life.
How does it work?
Our subconscious mind is powerful and huge! This is the big part of our brain. Every emotion we have ever had is held and filed there. Imagine a filing cabinet filled with all the emotions connected with embarrassment and another filled with hurts and another filled with rejections. As rational adults, when we find ourselves in any situation our subconscious searches to find a classification in order to determine how to react. We are asked to speak in public our subconscious may connected to every fear we have every known and so the thought of speaking becomes daunting. Someone cut us off in traffic and we are connected to every hurt we have ever felt and road rage results.
Of course it is not logical, it cannot be!
What we find is that in many areas of life we can be completely rational, but when certain ‘buttons’ are pressed we lose control.
Those ‘buttons’ are our emotional baggage!
It is as if we turned a tap for a drink of water but a waterfall pushed through the wall instead! When our subconscious gets involved rational responses disappear and so does rational judgment. We could try to understand and correct every past emotion but many of them are not even real – perhaps many were only perceived hurts and pains. Our subconscious does not necessarily keep an accurate record. We simply need some work on our programming to break the cycle.
A simple solution!
All that is needed to break the cycle are four easy steps.
1) Understand logically that it does not make sense to: be afraid of speaking in public, nervous about making a sales call, get angry at a careless driver, get upset at old lovers, be afraid of math or skiing or fitness.
2) Be committed to the idea that these emotions do not serve us and that our lives will be better, stronger and richer without them.
3) Create a connection breaker. A connection breaker is a mantra to prevent the connection from the new experience to an old negative emotion. Just like the two-year old!
4) Make the mantra a habit until it is no longer required!
My connection breaker is simple. When someone or something upsets or concerns me I repeat silently to myself, ‘peace be with you!’
If I am dealing with any difficult person or situation I repeat this to myself. If I am having angry feelings about someone in my past, I repeat this to myself. Any unwanted emotion gets the same mantra. This interrupts the process where the subconscious searches for a connection (the distraction with the two-year old) and creates an environment where I am able to deal with any emotion for what it really is – a feeling in the moment and not connected to a history of emotions.
The result has been that all anger, fear and anxiety have vanished from my life! No self-control is need because the negative emotions are gone. I am now able to see every situation for what it really is – unconnected to my past.
I now look at my past and at many of the angry, painful, hurtful moments and cannot even believe they happened. It seems like someone else’s life!
I don’t control my anger anymore – it simply doesn’t exist!
I don’t fight my fear and push through – the fear is gone!
I don’t dwell on past hurts – they are forgotten!
As I have removed the old connections my perspective has changed so has my world – live is full of possibilities – not challenges!
If the old feelings do pop up then the mantra deals with them quickly. I do believe this process could be used for any negative feelings that bring about unwanted results. If stress has us opening a bottle or the refrigerator then a discontent can also break that pattern. After all, we had to learn to make the connection between stress and food or stress and a drink.
The mantra can be anything positive but it must be a distraction so ‘don’t get angry’ would not make a good mantra, as it would reinforce the problem. I suppose it could be ‘I love strawberries’ as long as it breaks the connection in a positive way.
Give it a try!
The next time you are frustrated with someone while driving or shopping silently repeat ‘peace be with you!’
Try it for a day and see what happens!
With a bit of practice you will find it works on all emotional responses that do not serve you!