When clients come to me, one of their initial statements is, “I want to feel happy and at peace in all areas of my life.” Even when life is going great financially, romantically, physically, and professionally, people feel that there’s something stopping them from achieving true happiness and feelings of inner contentment.
Why do so many people feel like there’s a wall between them and radiant happiness? Do you feel that way sometimes, even when things are going well? If you can relate, you are not alone – not by a long shot.
The Number 1 Reason People Don’t Feel Happy
It comes down to this: We have a conscious mind and an unconscious mind. This means that we have conscious thoughts and unconscious thoughts.
Conscious Vs. Unconscious Thoughts
Your conscious thoughts are the ones you’re aware of. You know you love today’s weather. You realize you have to lose that weight to feel better. You believe that your morals are “right.”
Your unconscious thoughts are the beliefs that lurk inside your mind, hidden away. These are the thoughts and beliefs you don’t even know exist. If we each have a minimum of 70,000 thoughts in a day, most of those are ones we aren’t even aware of.
They include the split-second doubt-filled thoughts you feel right before you try an activity; the self-hating thought that you stepped in dog poo because you always screw up; the momentary insecure thought before you walk through a door; and the highly damaging thoughts that linger in the recesses of your mind, the ones that tell you you aren’t good enough, aren’t attractive enough, aren’t going to earn enough, don’t do xyz well enough. These thoughts flash through your mind so quickly that you don’t even notice them.
Where Unconscious Thoughts Come From
These often-negative unconscious thoughts are the result of the messages we received as children.
Parents, teachers, siblings, advertisements, the media, religion, society, and peers gave you messages as you grew up. Whether those messages were conveyed through words, tone, actions, text, or behavior, we heard them on a deep, unconscious level. Many of those messages were disapproving.
Real Life Examples
Let’s look at an example of how this often plays out in life: Every time an image of a model, actor, or musician who was considered attractive and appealing flashed on the TV screen, if they repeatedly looked nothing like you, you heard the message that you weren’t handsome or beautiful enough. Maybe no one told you that directly, but subconsciously, you picked up on that message.
Here’s another example: If you got low grades in math, which meant repeatedly seeing returned tests and assignments with big red “F”s on them, bad grades on the report card, or teachers who got frustrated with you, you might have interpreted the message as “You are no good at math” or “You’re dumb.” No one told you these statements directly, but other people planted the seeds of these beliefs inside your subconscious mind.
How Subconscious Beliefs Play Out
Using the last two examples, we now have two individuals who have subconscious negative beliefs growing inside their minds. As they continue progressing through life, their mind will look for ways to “prove” those messages were true. The individuals might start to sabotage their success in attracting mates or doing well at school. Once a pattern develops, they start consciously saying either silently or out loud, “I’m ugly” or “I’m stupid.”
Are you starting to see how subconscious beliefs are planted and how they begin manifesting in our lives?
The Number One Reason You Are Not Living The Life Of Your Dreams: Irrational Thoughts
Somewhere along the line, you picked up messages that started to cause blocks in your life. The most common subconscious thought patterns include the following:
- Catastrophizing. This is when you seeing only the worst possible outcome. “I know I’m going to fail this test.”
- Minimization. This is when you don’t acknowledge the good qualities in yourself. “I suck at school.”
- Personalization. This is when you think you are the cause of bad events, situations, or outcomes. “He failed because of me.”
- Grandiosity. This is when you have an exaggerated sense of importance. “Everyone at work but me is so stupid.”
- Magical Thoughts. This is when you think a ritual will change an outcome. “If I don’t pray 8 times a day, I will be cursed.”
- All-Or-Nothing Thinking. This is when you see a situation or person as all-good or all-bad. “She is perfect!” “He is the devil!”
- “Should” Thinking. This is when you say or think that you should do something, or that things should be different from how they are. “I know I should be happy.” “I know I should go to that party if they’re going to like me.” (1)
Which of those types of thinking sound familiar to you? What are some of your irrational thoughts?
How To Overcome Irrational Subconscious Beliefs
Step 1: Bring them to the surface. Start to become aware that you are thinking in an irrational way, like those listed above. Awareness alone starts to take their power away!
Step 2: Write your irrational thoughts down. Look at them. See them. When we view them on paper, sometimes we immediately see how silly or untrue they are.
Step 3. Dispute each of them. After you’ve listed them out, jot down any and all evidence there is to prove they are true. If there is evidence that it’s true, keep breaking it down further until you can see that it’s a thought, not a fact.
Step 4. Come up with a new rational thought. Cross out the old, irrational thought and write down the new thought
Step 5. Use imagery and visualization. Meditate on the image of your new rational thought. See it in your mind’s eye. (2)
Open Up To Happiness, Joy, And Success
This will take time, and it may require repeated practice until your new, rational thoughts start to kick out the irrational subconscious thoughts. But once you start to replace your old ways of harmful thinking with new, helpful ways of thinking, your life will open up to amazing opportunities for happiness, joy, and success.
If you tried this practice, I’d love to hear from you! Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.