As a mind game of sorts, defensiveness is deceptively destructive. It throws off the energy of the body — and when your heart is off balance, so are you. In survival mode, fear rules the body, and the brain shifts from learning mode to protective mode, thus, no longer open to influence or change.
An angry outburst, denial, blaming, lying, excuses, withdrawal, and the like, can provide rushes of power in the moment — cheap thrills, if you will. Yet these are costly when you consider their effects on your personal health and relationships.
Take heart. Change is possible. It has everything to do with applying certain Laws of Change to manage the energies of your heart.
These laws speak to how to best influence the part of the mind that runs all the autonomic systems of the body, which is also responsible for change — the subconscious mind.
Why influence your subconscious mind?
Your subconscious takes its job of managing the energies of your heart seriously. It speaks a sensory language of physiological sensations and felt emotional feelings, transmitted throughout your body’s communication network.
When it thinks you cannot manage these energies, in other words, cannot handle disappointment, fear, etc., it takes over. Thus, the first reason you want to be able to influence your subconscious mind is to actively give it the assurance it needs that you can handle feelings of vulnerability, without being overwhelmed — an ability that is critical to the formation of emotional intimacy. If your perceptions tell it you cannot, which is often the case, it automatically takes charge to put you in protective mode.
You’re not designed to merely survive, even more compellingly, you’re driven by inner motivational forces to thrive.
You are exquisitely hardwired to fulfill a two-fold purpose of connecting in meaningful ways and being authentically you in the process of relating to others and life around you.
Beneath the surface of a heated discussion on the issue of money, communication, sex, etc., for example, are inner hardwired drives that compel you to love and connect, to find value and recognition in relation to those you most love, and life in general.
To thrive, you need to know how to calm and assure your own heart in moments when survival fears surface, such as rejection, inadequacy or abandonment. If you do not feel safe enough to love, your body automatically goes into protective mode.
It’s safe to say that the ongoing management of your heart is the most challenging task you face in life. To succeed, it’s essential to understand how your mind and body work. To start, here are three of the Laws of Change:
First Law: Thoughts create your reality — and destiny.
Your subconscious mind is always eavesdropping on your thoughts. In fact, it listens for verbal and nonverbal instructions.
It wouldn’t know if a tiger is a threat to you or not, for example, without checking your perceptions. A tiger may seem an obvious threat, however, if you were a lion tamer, you would likely love getting into the cage with your big cats.
Your thoughts, and the underlying beliefs that drive them, literally, are the instructions your subconscious uses to fire the chemical reactions, accordingly. When your perceptions of life – your thoughts – activate survival fears, they produce a predictable pattern. Limiting beliefs produce images in your mind that cause fear-based emotions that, in turn, activate your survival response.
They rob you of happiness by keeping your focus on what you fear most: failing at life.
A common limiting belief, for example, is the notion that others have to power to decide your self-worth on the basis of whether you perform in accordance to their standards.
If you hold a belief like that, the more you try to impress others, the less likely it is that you believe in yourself. And no matter how many books you read, classes you take or trainings you attend, you will continue to feel the pain of never feeling good enough.
You’ve heard it before. Your thoughts become habits that form your character, and shape the direction of your life. That’s the bottom line.
Second Law: Make conscious the subconscious.
Limiting or otherwise, all beliefs form perceptions that the subconscious depends on to filter incoming data.
You may have already spent most of your life trying to prove that you’re good enough to live it. That’s the power of these limiting beliefs. You need to know that:
They limit rather than free you to be all you are meant to be. By keeping your focus on survival fears, they merely increase the odds that, for example, you and your partner will use words and nonverbal gestures that further deepen the painful emotions you likely already feel. This could even start an argument that lasts for days!
The solution? Identify any limiting beliefs by observing your thoughts. Attending to your thoughts helps you build conscious awareness.
The challenge is a real one: Are you willing to examine your life by examining your thoughts?
Chances are, when you are not aware of the energies you bring to a discussion with a loved one, you will react defensively in certain contexts, and blame them instead. Each time you do, however, you merely intensify painful emotions you both already feel inside, as loneliness, rejection or shame.
The unexamined life is not worth living. ~ SOCRATES
The process of making conscious the subconscious is one of the most important ways of changing defensive patterns of relating to yourself and loved ones.
Third Law: Embrace Painful Emotions — Or Be Controlled By Them.
To develop emotional intelligence, become fully emotionally mature, it’s essential that you give your subconscious mind full permission to allow you to experience the complete range of emotions of … vulnerability.
There are no shortcuts here.
As a human being, you naturally aspire to feel positive emotions of the heart — love, enthusiasm, confidence, among others. That’s grand and fabulously the way it needs to be. It’s what the heart yearns for, relentlessly.
Rarely is instruction needed for “dealing” with your positive emotions, however!
Work is needed, however, in learning how to remain empathically connected to your compassion, and the highest strivings of the heart, in moments when you are challenged. It’s essential to know how to calm your mind and body — so that your survival response does not take over your ability to consciously think!
You may be wondering, how can feeling painful feelings, allowing them to touch your heart or disclosing them to others, and the like, possibly strengthen you?
Consider the following:
In other words, it’s not painful emotions per se that cause problems. It’s not knowing how to feel and process them. (Often this is because they are the same ones your parents unwittingly taught you to feel anxious about [they did too].) More specifically:
If you believe that your happiness depends on certain events, outcomes or others to give you that feeling, it’s a set up for emotional suffering.
Regardless how well intentioned, if you “think” you cannot remain fully present to love and accept yourself and the other in moments when one or both of you are seemingly unlovable, inadvertently, you are also sending the message that you don’t love the other when they don’t do what makes you happy. (And, you like know how it feels to receive this message from others. A very common practice!)
It makes no difference that you do not intend to convey this! It’s just the way the emotional states of the body work in auto-pilot. Whenever humans do not feel loved or valued in relation to those they care about, automatically, this triggers scary feelings inside.
You need to know how to protect your happiness, and manage the energies of your heart, in situations that trigger you. You also need to know what your triggers are.
When you embrace painful emotions as teachers or action signals, you release yourself to more fully experience emotions of exuberance — enthusiasm, gratitude and love, courage and compassion — and the fulfillment you long to feel in your relationships.
It’s a question of being present to your emotional experience of life by developing your capacity to remain calm, confident, centered regardless what is going on around you.
You have an essential responsibility to protect your happiness — it’s simply a question of whether you or your fears will control the direction of your life.
Change your life with great thoughts and feelings!
Yes, change is possible. You can directly influence your subconscious mind by keeping these three Laws of Change in mind.
Defensive reactivity is not healthy for your mind, body or relationships.
You can consciously create a sense of safety for yourself, at will, regardless of the circumstances around you, and that means doing so in moments that most trigger you.
You can master your inner world of emotions and consciously choose the emotions you want to create within your self and your partner.
You can learn to think and speak the language of success and possibilities.
Your thoughts are tremendously powerful. They have the power to either create or destroy. You either make them conscious — or they control you.
The responsibility to protect your happiness, the energies of your heart, is a beautiful one. Embrace it.
You do so by keeping most of your focus on what you love, while also allowing your fears to calmly inform your choices in a balanced way.
The choice is up to you.
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