So, I have all this awareness; I am aware that my body feels sluggish when I eat foods that I know are not good for me; I am aware of my feelings of frustration and the futility when I am yelling; I am aware that exercise feels so much better after it is done, when I make excuses not to do it.
Yet, despite all my awareness, the choices I make reflect the opposite. It appears to my critical self, that I am a complete idiot who knows nothing about behaviour or “logic” when it comes to taking care of my self in a way that is beneficial to me and everyone else. Enter the unconscious. (dum da dum dum daaaaaaaa!)
I know, (once again), that crediting the unconscious with all of my poor choices can appear to be a cop out of responsibility for my actions (it wasn’t me, it was my unconscious mind), but the reality, as I understand it, is that my unconscious, literally is a mind of it’s own. What I mean by this is highlighted in the experiences I explained above. Let me break it down for you…
Many Minds, One Iceberg
We are of 4 minds, not one (unless you have completed the integration process through some fantastic therapy or other means).
- Conscious mind – the things you know, you know. Example: I am aware that I am typing this sentence right now.
- Egoic mind – Considered by some to be part of the Conscious mind. Defined by an identification of “I” or “me”, etc. In relation to the things you know, you know, which usually contains an evaluation of competency or value. Example: I am a great reader.
- Sub-conscious mind – the things I know I don’t know. Example: I am not aware of, nor can I feel the physical process of reading as it takes place, but I know I am doing it.
- Unconscious mind – the things I don’t know that I know or don’t know, or have completely and irretrievably forgotten that I know. Example: I don’t think about when or how I learned to read way back when, but that experience is in my unconscious and still affects me today, or I wouldn’t be able to read, and I would possibly dislike doing so.
The freakiest and coolest experience is when you can sit back (metaphorically) and be present in your conscious mind in an observant state and actually watch your sub-conscious mind or unconscious mind in action through the Egoic mind.
Here’s what that might be like…
Imagine you are working out (yes you’ve made it that far that you are doing it! Yay you!). Towards the end of your workout, you notice that you have begun to think the message, “I have to stop”, “I just need to take a break”, “I’ve done enough”.
Now, like I said, you are sitting back, in your Conscious mind, watching you’re egoic mind have these thoughts. It seems crazy! You’re watching yourself tell your self to give up! Well, that’s not what you want to do at all.
So you change you’re thoughts in your egoic mind to “Come on! Keep going!”, “You can do it, push through!”, “You’re almost there! Don’t stop now!”, but in the end, you do give up, or take a break, or cave to those initial negative thoughts. Umm, what just happened? You tried to think positively and it didn’t work? What the huh?
A Name “I” call My Self
The unconscious got you and you didn’t even know it. But here’s a little clue as to what went wrong. Or, how your unconscious beliefs operated through your egoic self talk. Look at the pronouns in the dialogue. For the negative self talk, it was all “I” statements, but for the positive self talk it was “you” statements. Sneaky isn’t it, but this is how we can spot when we have an unconscious belief sabotaging our conscious mind through the ego.
The belief we have and act on, is reflected in the ownership of the statement. When we use “I” we own the belief, action, feeling throughout our whole mind, including the unconscious.
But, when we use “you” even though we are talking to our self, there is a depersonalization that creates space and reflects a disbelief about that statement being applied to the self. It belongs to some other “you”, instead of “me”. Or, it is as though some far off person is telling you what to do.
The unconscious doesn’t agree or buy into this belief and falls back to its own belief, which leads to us giving up and staying with an old bad habit.
This is why therapists are so ga ga for people using “I” statements in therapy and conversations. We want you to “own your stuff”, take responsibility for your actions, and begin integrating your 4 minds.
If you are ready to take this step, but need some help to do it, let me know! I can help you take the next step in your evolutionary journey.