Updated: Oct 28, 2021
What's covered: How your subconscious mind can radically distort your perceptions of people, conversations & situations; Discover the "iceberg theory" & how to stop buried beliefs from ruining your life, relationships & peace of mind
My friend sat down opposite me, and then quietly said: "Something happened this morning and it's really rattled me..."
She looked wounded, hurt and hesitant to say more.
My instinctive response: "Tell me, what happened?"
My friend went on to share her early morning experience at the local market...
She'd been happily going about her fruit and vegetable shopping, engaging in some light-hearted banter with one of the stall holders, when a woman (an unknown fellow customer) stopped, looked at her, and loudly said:
"Do you watch the TV show Old People's Home For 4 Year Olds? I saw someone in the latest episode who looked just like you!"
My sprightly, silver-haired friend was gobsmacked. She waited for this woman to follow up what she'd said with some socially polite explanation, such as: "Not that you could possibly be in that age group."
But no, this woman ploughed on with no softening justification or thought for how what she'd said might be interpreted.
"So much so, it could be your sister!"
My friend's deafening quiet was misconstrued as interest.
"Well, they do say everyone has a doppelganger."
My friend explained to me: "I felt like I'd aged 20 years. I was meant to get bread, but I just couldn't do it, I didn't have the confidence. I've got some bread in the freezer, I thought."
Looking for some consolation, she dropped into a favourite café on her way home. But she struggled to get the attention of the usually attentive barista, and she thought to herself: What? Am I invisible?
Then, with a coffee in hand, she scuffed her foot on the pavement in a jagged movement, and she spilt some of her coffee over herself and into the gutter, which had her scrabbling around for a wet wipe.
WOW, huh! Remember what I said last time about being triggered? The feeling of being completely kicked off your axis? This experience is a perfect example of a life grenade going off when you least expect it, and in the name of trigger awareness my friend was happy for me to share her story.
My friend later reflected: "I know so much better than to react in that way. To take it to be truth, to take it so personally, someone who I wouldn't even normally interact with. My whole perception of myself changed for a short time, like some bubble had burst."
I knew she was in pain, but I also knew this experience was absolute *trigger gold* if she was willing to really dig deep and follow the thought trail.
Introducing: The Thought Iceberg (NOT a brainy lettuce!)
What's that? The Thought Iceberg is a simplified visual explanation for what's the conscious mind (the visible tip of the iceberg) and what's the subconscious mind (the unseen buried LARGE mass floating under the water).
Mind-blowing titbit: The subconscious mind holds approximately 97% of the brain's processing power, according metaphysician Dr Cathy Collaut. So, yeah, it's really worth investigating those old, crusty programs your subconscious mind is continually running without your present-day consent.
Let's look much more closely at my friend's experience... Starting with the initial surface thought (aka trigger!) and then exploring the deeper (buried!) subconscious thought progression:
Do I look that old? (Tip of iceberg)
-> I'd hate to end up in a nursing home and be penned-up like an animal!
-> I'm just fooling myself in thinking I look healthy and good.
-> Whatever I do, it's never good enough!
-> I've always had someone who was better than me, more beautiful and talented.
-> Mum always saw the beauty in other women, but never said anything to me.
-> I'm always getting put down, and I've never had confidence in that way.
I'm ugly, I'm unlovable, I'm useless. (Deepest hurt and darkest hidden fear)
Whoa! Where did that come from? Isn't it amazing how a stranger's flippant comment could trigger such a cascade of thoughts and an old subconscious belief that appears seemingly unconnected.
After The Thought Iceberg exercise, my friend - with tears freely flowing - confided: "I've carried that all this time. It's why I haven't let anyone get close to me, and compliments are like Teflon, they just slide off."
Not anymore though, because that buried belief, that bogeyman in your head (not under your bed!), has just been exposed to the light of your awareness. It can't feed on your fear anymore, it can't go around wreaking havoc - and it can't be triggered by a stranger at the market.
Empower yourself: Be the observer and investigator of your thoughts.
Keep listening to your body and trusting your wise self,
P.P.S. If you'd like me to write about more juicy examples of how our subconscious dialogue can play out in different life scenarios, such as relationship arguments or parenting stressors, then drop me a line email@example.com. :-)
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