Unconscious Mind: How Our Beliefs and Experiences Shape Our LivesJan 13, 2023
The mind is like an iceberg; it floats with one-seventh of its bulk above water.
The unconscious is not just evil by nature, it is also the source of the highest good: not only dark but also light, not only bestial, semihuman, and demonic but superhuman, spiritual, and, in the classical sense of the word, divine.
Are you curious to know what’s really going on inside your subconscious mind? Would you like to better understand how our beliefs and experiences shape who we are?
The unconscious mind is an incredibly powerful force, influencing our thoughts, behavior, and reactions in ways that often go unnoticed.
So join me as we unlock the secrets of the unconscious mind and uncover how it plays a crucial role in shaping your identity.
What Is the Unconscious Mind?
The unconscious mind is often considered a repository for all our thoughts, feelings, memories, and experiences that we have stored away from consciousness.
It contains information that has been rejected from our conscious awareness because it doesn’t fit into our current worldview or is too difficult for us to address openly.
But this mind is also like the kitchen cupboard that keeps the ingredients of your favorite recipes or the piled boxes in the garage. You will sometimes use these items stashed away even for so long.
With your unconscious, the information may remain hidden from us until a certain time or situation triggers it. And this is when it can significantly impact not only our behavior or habit but also (and perhaps the most important) who we are.
How Does the Unconscious Mind Shape Our Identities?
At a deeper level, the unconscious mind is where your identity resides—it holds all of your personal values, goals, motivations, and feelings about yourself.
It’s the source of your self-talk and your inner critic. It’s the place where our core beliefs are formed and developed, often through early childhood experiences or traumatic events.
There's no better way to discuss how all these points relate to one another than through several examples that you can relate to:
- Someone with negative thoughts about themselves as part of their unconscious programming will create a negative self-image, leading to self-sabotaging behaviors such as procrastination or avoidance.
- On the flip side, if you have positive beliefs embedded deep within your unconscious, then this will manifest in more confident behavior, opening up new opportunities for growth in life.
- A person who has lived through trauma may deal with several issues such as anxiety or depression later on. These may be rooted in unconscious beliefs they have developed due to their traumatic experience. For example, a person who has been in an abusive relationship or suffered from emotional neglect may have difficulty trusting others or forming close relationships.
- You may feel anxious when speaking in front of a large group and have no idea why. In reality, it is a by-product of a childhood memory where a classmate laughed at you when you said something wrong. Without you knowing it, this bad experience stored in the unconscious replays itself whenever you talk in public.
Unconscious biases are another form of the unconscious mind at work. These are the automatic mental associations we make about people or groups based on our existing beliefs, values, and experiences.
The danger with these biases is they often lead to people treating others differently based on their race, gender or other factors. And we can see that in many different ways in our society.
For example, studies have shown that job applicants with white-sounding names are more likely to get a call back from employers than those with African-American-sounding surnames. Or that female students often receive lower grades than male students even when they perform the same tasks.
Using Somatic Psychology to Unlock the Secrets of the Unconscious Mind and Gain Better Self-Awareness
The unconscious mind is not inherently good or bad. It is a powerful tool to help us reach our full potential or impede it.
The key is gaining a better understanding of what’s going on deep within our minds and how we can use this information to make conscious choices in life. This way, we can move past the unconscious beliefs holding us back and become more aware of our motivations and behavior.
One of the underrated strategies is somatic psychology.
It is a form of body-oriented psychotherapy that helps us access our unconscious and understand how the mind-body connection manifests in our physical sensations.
This can be particularly helpful when dealing with trauma, as it allows us to process and heal from these experiences without reliving them. Identifying our feelings or body sensations and how they relate to our inner thoughts can be invaluable in gaining self-awareness.
The best techniques depend on the person and their unique needs, but here are some modalities worth exploring:
- Alexander technique. It is a method for releasing tension and achieving lasting results for improving physical well-being. The technique works by applying gentle, hands-on pressure to key areas of the body in order to reset your natural balance and posture, triggering a deep sense of relaxation and improved movement throughout the body. This unique combination of trigger points, massage, breath work, and postural adjustment helps to facilitate essential mind-body awareness that can lead to more efficient use of the body with less restriction or pain.
- Feldenkrais method. This form of somatic education helps you understand how your movements are connected to the emotions and thought processes within. It teaches you how to use gentle, mindful movements to become more present in your body and learn how to move more efficiently with greater awareness and control.
- Mindfulness-based stress reduction. This practice, developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn, teaches you to become more aware of your thoughts and feelings without judgment. In the process, it helps reduce the stress and tension in your body, making it easier to access the unconscious mind without triggering trauma.
- Somatic experiencing. This approach is designed to help people process traumatic memories stored in the body without having to relive them. It uses a combination of therapeutic techniques such as breathing exercises, guided imagery, psycho-drama or role-playing, and other mindfulness practices to work with the body’s natural healing abilities.
Uncovering the secrets of the unconscious mind can be beneficial in many ways, especially in terms of achieving greater self-awareness that can redefine our habits and behaviors and reshape our biases.
Somatic psychology is one way to gain insight into our inner world. By exploring these modalities, we can learn to better understand and work with our unconscious beliefs and impulses, allowing us to make more conscious choices and create more fulfilling lives.
If you want to delve deeper into your mind, sign up for my trauma certification program. It’s an online course that will teach you all the tools and techniques to open yourself up to a powerful, profound journey of self-healing and discovery.
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