It's Personal - Rewiring Subconscious Beliefs (part II)Published February 24, 2022 by Sheila Anne Murray
We are not original in our thoughts and behaviors. Instead we often think and act as a result of our subconscious beliefs and our adaptive behaviors.
Did you know that 95% of our thoughts are repetitive? Even when the thought feels different, it often distills down to the same central belief. For example:
- I must prove my intelligence
- I am not enough
- It’s all my fault
- I have to protect myself
- It’s my responsibility to nurture
- Everyone is unhappy with me
- I’ll never have enough
- I’m being lazy
- I am unworthy
This is why my favorite word at the moment is intervention. For me it’s the perfect word to explain reprogramming deeply-integrated conditioning to create a different result - a result that will pull us away from destructive thoughts and into the present moment. From there, we can begin to make different decisions and path new neural and somatic pathways.
If you read part one of this two-part series, you’ll remember that one of my subconscious beliefs that lead the way for years was, “I am incompetent.”
And though this thought popped up in a variety of ways (like when I would make a mistake, someone looked at me with even a hint of judgment, or I felt motivation to over-do and over-explain) it came back to that core belief that I formed in childhood.
The exciting thing about identifying our subconscious beliefs and the stories that created them is that we have the ability to rewrite these beliefs and to step further into our full, empowered selves. In this article I’ll be walking through a few simple steps to get started on identifying subconscious beliefs as well as how to intervene.
How to get started with identifying subconscious beliefs:
Watch your mind
You are not your thoughts. Let’s say that one more time - you are not your thoughts. It’s far harder to work with your thoughts when you feel like they are part of you, so by separating yourself from your thoughts, you take your power back. Next time your thoughts are spiraling and taking control of your emotions and actions, step back. Watch your mind like you are watching ocean waves, a movie screen, or clouds passing by.
Have you had this thought before? What’s its history? Perhaps you have a strong memory when you experience this thought or have had a similar feeling previously. Is there typically a trigger that draws this thought to the surface? Think expansively with this one - for me I notice particular negative thoughts pop up after a particular kind of work day, when I’m hungry, or after the sun goes down.
Tune into your body
When you are experiencing an overwhelming irritation, anger, frustration, or fear, tune in to the experience happening in your body. You may notice fidgeting, closing of the chest, tightness in the stomach, a desire to get up and move, run, or shut down. Our nervous system is wired to help us deal with stressful situations and there is so much we can learn about ourselves by observing our bodies and natural tendencies. When we increase awareness, we can be able to rewire beliefs, and make different choices.
Ask yourself these questions to investigate subconscious beliefs that may be dimming your light
- What am I most afraid of that people might think about myself?
- What area of my life am I constantly playing it safe or acting small?
- What am I afraid of people finding out about me?
- Pick out a tendency you know you have (ie. people-pleasing, talking over others, getting caught in stress, conflict-avoidance, over-nurturing) and ask: How has this way of being served me or kept me safe in the past?
- What do I often feel undeserving of? Ex. money, success, love, abundance, being seen, material possessions, rest…
Next, let’s dive into a simple four step process I created for you - A jumping off point for rewriting subconscious beliefs.
Four step intervention process for subconscious beliefs:
This is where the intervention process starts. You stop acting on autopilot and instead intentionally pause what you are doing. This may look like exiting a situation, putting down what you are working on, or telling someone in a conversation that you need a moment.
This is a key step because it will help you to anchor into the present moment. If your nervous system is primed to rescue you (think fight/flight/freeze), you can help yourself move into a parasympathetic state using breath. Often I’ll invite myself and others to place a hand on the heart or on the heart and belly. Focus on the feeling of inhales and exhales. Notice if you can bring your breath down into the low belly. See if you can make your exhale longer than your inhale.
Ask yourself a few of all of these questions:
- What am I thinking?
- What am I feeling, physically and emotionally?
- What is my urge right now?
- Am I acting out of fear or trust?
- Am I stuck in one of my deep-seeded beliefs?
- What is true about my situation right now?
- What do I truly need at this moment?
- What are my options?
There is more than one way to respond to your current situation. Though we cannot control our immediate thoughts, feelings, and sensations, we do have a choice when it comes to action. Now that you’ve gone through the “Notice” prompts, you may realize that there is a part of you that is leading the way and is doing so out of fear. What if you were to act instead out of self-worth, security, and groundedness?
Take the power of choice into your hands and let go of the things that you do not have control over. Each action you take, each decision you make, is an opportunity to reprogram your subconscious and step into a more aligned you.
If you resonate with this article and want a more personalized approach, I encourage you to work with a professional - be it a coach like me or a therapist.