Our subconscious mind is the storehouse of unlimited knowledge, wisdom, and creativity. It is like a deep reservoir that contains all types of thoughts, memories, feelings, emotions, and other internal tendencies.
Most people do not realize that they can easily achieve their desires and goals by utilizing the vast potential of this fantastic dimension of the mind.
We live in a constant state of fears and insecurities that creates unconscious emotions which become our living reality. In other words, by reliving negative thoughts over and over again, we program our subconscious to become reactive to them.
You see, unlike the conscious mind, the subconscious mind does not differentiate between positive or negative thoughts. It feeds on what you give without discrimination, and that, in turn, becomes your reality.
For example, if you repeatedly ruminate about your feeling of unworthiness, you program your subconscious to believe that. You self-sabotage the nice things that come your way, be it success in your work, family, or relationships.
However, it is entirely possible to reprogram your subconscious mind by altering the thinking process. It requires you to be aware of your afflicting thought and the corresponding emotions it creates.
The only way to reprogram the subconscious mind is through the conscious mind. It can be done by replacing negative affirmations that we usually default to with positive ones like “I can” and “I am.”
The subconscious mind is reactive, and it reacts to the nature of our thoughts. Did you know that the subconscious mind makes up more than 90% of your mind instead of the conscious mind?
How many times did you fail while trying to quit addictions? How many times did you try losing weight but ended up gaining instead? Why do we start a project and leave it midway or when we’re nearing completion? Why do we fall back into the same unconscious habitual patterns?
All of this happens because the unconscious traits and tendencies within our subconscious mind are dominant at this moment, and they keep us from achieving the desired outcome.
Do you feel that there are two parts to your personality: one fully geared and motivated to achieve success and do whatever it takes to get there, and the other, the sneaky cowardly devil that pulls you down just when you’re about to reach your goal? Can you hear it saying, “Forget it! It won’t happen. You’re not good enough.”
Even when you achieve your goals, you feel like you were faking it all along and that you’re success happened by fluke. You undermine yourself, your achievements, and you feel like a fraud. It is known as imposter syndrome. The second part of your personality becomes so dominant that you stop listening to the first one that was all enthusiastic.
Well, my friend! You’re not alone. It happens to most people, not just in work but in relationships and other aspects of life. Even prominent personalities who achieved great success in their respective fields, like Albert Einstein and X, suffered from imposter syndrome.
Einstein, for example, gave us great scientific discoveries but suffered in his relationships. He gave away a significant part of his 1921 Nobel prize winnings to provide for his wife and children, with whom his bond was almost non-existent (1). Many people would call this sacrifice; I call it low emotional intelligence that leads to self-sabotage in some form or the other.
Despite being a qualified IT professional with more than 12 years of work experience, I could not find work after being fired from my corporate job. I decided to go on my own and started freelancing for clients. However, this did not pan out as I expected. The world of freelancing is whole another beast that requires different skills.
I learned these skills and started making some money, but somewhere inside, I felt like a failure. Out of fear of failure, I would reject high-paying clients and go for cheapskates who left no opportunity to exploit and make me work for hours without paying minimum wage.
After a point, I experienced burnout and could not sustain myself in that environment anymore. Things got so bad that I decided to quit freelancing for good. It’s not that I didn’t have the potential, but I could not see the self-destructive behavior I was exhibiting. I took abuse from random people because of my self-limiting beliefs.
I failed in freelancing and business because, since childhood, I learned from my parents that living with job security and fixed income should be my primary goal.
These values became so pervasive in my subconscious that I sabotaged anything that went against them. I didn’t realize it at that time, but looking back, I know that I did things to damage my freelancing career.
For example, I would take up projects and leave them when they were nearing completion. I would not keep my commitments with clients. I would dress shabbily for meetings and functions.
I remember attending many networking events and confined myself to a corner or an isolated spot and hoped that nobody would talk to me. I did the exact opposite of what was required but expected to succeed.
The programming for self-sabotage lies deep in our subconscious mind. We deliberately sabotage things to conform to our subconscious belief that we’re not good enough and that we don’t deserve success and goodness in life. It happens not only in work but also in relationships. We chase one relationship after another to find the perfect soulmate.
We spoil the relationship when things are going great. Oddly enough, we also justify our sabotaging actions by giving rationalizations like, “I knew it wouldn’t last,” “it was not meant to be,” “I knew he/she was not good enough.”
Subconscious Fear of Failure
I’m sure you’ve come across situations in life where you were so afraid to fail that you didn’t even try. Fear of failure keeps us from exploring and learning new things.
It could be anything like writing a book, undertaking a new project, learning a new skill, moving to a new location, changing unconscious habits, pursuing a hobby, getting in shape, and more.
The problem is that there’re fears that we’re consciously unaware of. These fears reside in our subconscious minds and dictate our behavior. Since you can’t figure out your fears’ root cause, you rationalize your way out of things. You fear change even when you know that it’s essential for your growth.
Fear stunts growth. You limit yourself to the familiar because it feels comfortable. When undertaking something new, your mind creates resistance fuelled by subconscious fears. Subconsciously you fear being mocked, judged, and ridiculed. Some of these afflictions come from childhood.
During my childhood, I was scared to ask questions in class because some of the teachers humiliated me. At times, they even slapped me for not paying attention.
Raising my hand to ask a question was an invitation for other children to make fun of me. After that, I concluded that I’m good enough to ask questions and that my brain is not sharp.
A couple of years later, when I was studying engineering, I was offered to be a part of a project from India’s most premium government organization. It just took two minutes for me to quit the whole project when the team leader said, “This is big, so don’t mess up.”
The subconscious fear, which I could not recognize at that time, kicked a storm in me. Many people in that organization, including the head of the HR department, tried to convince me to stay in the project, but I didn’t listen.
The fear of failure, rejection, and judgment triggered a sort of panic attack in me. When my teachers asked why I did that, I rationalized and gave excuses. I went along with my subconscious belief that I was not worth it.
The best way to overcome these fears is to take cues from the subconscious and dive into the unknown without worrying. I know it’s scary, and you’ll fail many times. But that’s okay. Don’t judge yourself for failing.
Take up something you’re passionate about and put your heart and soul into it. When you repeatedly overcome the initial resistance, the power of your subconscious fears to influence you reduces significantly.
You train your subconscious mind to respond positively to new and changing situations. In this context, one of the best slogans is from Nike, “JUST DO IT.”
Ask yourself, what is the worst that would happen if you fail. Our mind has this over-amplified reaction to unpredictable situations and kicks us into fight-or-flight mode even when it’s not required.
I had a lot of fear when I started writing for this blog. All the time, I had questions in my mind, “What will my readers think of me?”, “I’m a bad writer; no one is going to read my articles, so why bother.”, “There’s so much better stuff out there.”
But I kept writing. Initially, I wrote the most abysmal stuff, but I got better over time. Today, I may not be the best, but I do have a sizeable readership.
Uncertainty might feel scary, but getting out in front of people and taking the risk is the best way to hear yourself. There’s a great quote that says, “Courage is the love affair with the unknown.” You’re not here to live your life predictably. What’s the fun in that?
How Do Our Thoughts Create Reality?
Believe it or not, but our thoughts create our reality. It’s not only that the works of Freud and Jung discovered the subconscious mind. Long before, ancient Hindu scriptures talked about two psychological components of importance: Vrittis and Sanskar.
Vrittis are thoughts created by the conscious mind, while the Sankars are the internal tendencies (subconscious and unconscious) that dominate our behavior. Vrittis that repeatedly manifest in our minds become Sankars over time. It’s possible for us to create positive internal traits by practicing positive thinking.
While you may not control what thoughts you create, you definitely can choose your actions based on those thoughts. For example, if someone tells you that you’re not competent for a particular job, a common scenario that we face while giving job interviews, you shouldn’t internalize that rejection.
Remember that the people evaluating you have a limited list of criteria that they need to match with your profile. They don’t know you personally, neither can they assess your full capabilities in a time-limited interaction. How they assess your abilities in that limited time does not define you or what you’re capable of doing.
Even in the dating scenario, if you face rejection, it’s not because something is lacking in you, but that the other person is unwilling to explore more of you.
That could be because they may be preoccupied with personal problems like work issues, a recent breakup, a tragic loss, or something else. At this moment, they’re not thinking about getting into a relationship. It’s not about you.
The best thing to do in such cases is to let go of these self-limiting-negative thoughts and focus on things that enhance your creativity. Journaling is a great way to note down your thoughts and feelings.
Over time, you’ll notice a repeating pattern of thoughts. That means you create the same emotional response by repeating different thoughts in the same way.
For example, if you have anxiety, you’ll always be worried about missing deadlines, being treated poorly by others, or being perceived less by others, and more. In extreme cases, you’ll even daydream about people humiliating and judging you.
We don’t realize it, but our default thinking behavior is mostly unconscious. The thinking pattern we develop severely compromises our creative potential. Thinking is a critical tool for self-development, but it can be self-destructive when the mind is preoccupied with unconscious thoughts.
Reprogramming The Subconscious Mind With Positive Affirmations
Earlier, I spoke a little about how we can use the conscious mind to train the subconscious mind. If there were no consciousness or awareness, it would be impossible to train the subconscious mind and avail its infinite potential.
Repeating positive affirmations is one of the most powerful ways of reprogramming the subconscious mind. The idea is to keep repeating words repeatedly until you start creating positive thoughts and emotions. For example, if you want to lose weight, keep telling yourself, “I’m losing weight, and I look good.”
One thing to note here is that you should not take up a challenge that far exceeds your present capacity. Otherwise, this will not work, which is why people fail in their resolutions.
For example, don’t try to lose 20 pounds in 1 month if you are overweight. Be practical while making your affirmations, and choose small goals initially. Once you achieve those, increase the challenge.
Here is a list of some of the most common affirmations people use to train their mind:
- I’m a happy person.
- I think positively.
- I don’t judge others.
- I don’t criticize and gossip.
- I spread love and joy to others.
- I’m worthy of love, happiness, success, and all the pleasures of life.
- I am a spiritual being with infinite potential to give and receive love.
- I’m ready to learn something new today.
- I’m ready to make a change in my life.
By repeating such affirmations, you tremendously boost your self-esteem, develop empathy towards others, tone down your ego, and increase your confidence.
Try to make an effort to believe in your affirmations (with emotions). Initially, it may sound silly to repeat these words, but you’ll see the benefits over time. If you don’t believe in your words, your subconscious mind will not get the message. Just like meditation, affirmations also require daily practice.
There are many other techniques which I will be covering shortly in other articles.
One of the most important books that helped me learn about the subconscious mind is “The Power of Subconscious mind”. If you’re interested, you can check out this book here on amazon.
You can significantly increase your productivity by tapping the hidden powers of your subconscious mind. It just takes 30 to 40 minutes of your time daily, and the benefits are tremendous. Don’t take my word for it; just try it yourself and see.
Present times offer us unlimited opportunities, but the reason why we fail in our objectives is that we get distracted. Distractions are all around us in various forms.
Our conscious mind has to deal with a lot of information at the same time. Through meditation, we get clarity as to what is useful and what is not, and positive affirmations allow us to transfer positive messages to our subconscious. Through repeated practice, we form habits that stick for life.