Anger, disbelief, mirth, shame, confusion, blame, fear, intellectual scorn, emotional paralysis, self-criticism, other criticism, a numb feeling, a stupor of thought and so on.
Some of us remember the book by Nathaniel Branden, If you Could Hear what I Cannot Say (out of print). Like much of Branden’s work, the book suggests we unconsciously seek goals – often negative goals – while pretending something entirely different is going on.
In other words, we fool ourselves. We convince ourselves that what is actually happening is NOT actually happening. For example, a man who says he wants financial stability may actually do things to create the opposite results (out of control spending, no planning, impulse vacations, etc…). A woman who says she wants a stable relationship may actually seek out unstable men.
Understanding how the unconscious mind works takes courage. Here’s why: people don’t always have the best intentions. Some behaviors are sad or even ugly. Facing up to them is difficult. It takes maturity.
To really see what is going on in your life and with your behavior, you need to be willing to look past the persona of your public self.
This should begin with the realization that you do not always seek what is best for yourself or other people. In fact, you may be attracted to negative things.
I don’t like chronic emotional suffering, but I like the excuses it gives me.
I exaggerate my troubles so that they seem impossible to solve. Then, I do not have to make the effort.
I cherish the mess I have made of my life. That’s the sweetest revenge against my awful parents.
I am bored and purposeless, so I create drama to amuse myself.
I use my husband for financial support, even though I can’t stand him.
I grew up with shame and now shame myself. I do a lot to give myself reason to be disappointed.
That empty, hollow feeling inside is what I call “home.” I seek fulfillment in things that do not fulfill (food, TV, alcohol, drugs, empty relationships, star chasing, etc…) to keep the emptiness alive. I don’t know who I’d be without it.
I refuse to take care of myself so that others will have to take care of me.
I act annoyingly and find strange satisfaction in the negative attention I get.
I don’t know who I would be without this feeling of worthlessness, so I keep doing things to make myself feel worthless.
I keep myself overwhelmed and busy to avoid my miserable marriage.
I use my wife for sex and meals even though I don’t really care about her.
No matter what I do, I find a way to criticize myself as a way to keep the family tradition alive.
I have always been lonely, and I push people away to keep what I have always had.
Oops, failed again! That will teach them not to expect anything of me.
Most of us think we have one set of problems (not enough money, not enough will power, bad luck, poor decision-making skills, etc…) when in reality we have a totally different problem.It’s like we are stabbing ourselves in the leg, but the only problem we can see is that our leg is bleeding. Once we see the knife in our hand, a whole new reality sets in – and a whole new array of choices becomes available.
So, stop. If you gave your unconscious mind a chance to speak the truth right now, what would it say? A true answer is the beginning of the hero’s journey toward enlightenment.
This post currently has
You can read the comments or leave your own thoughts.
Last reviewed: 28 Jan 2013