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Is Your Inner Voice a Crook, Con Artist or Champion?

Loser. Idiot. Ugly. Fat. Shameful. Disgusting. Babyish. Weak. What’s the worst thing you say about yourself? Do fear, hesitation and doubt shout you down every time you have to do something important? If you’ve been met with internal resistance to your success, you probably have an inner voice that is a crook or a con artist.

How is it that our own inner voice is such a downer? If it’s our inner voice—our own mind/our own thoughts—shouldn’t it get on the same page and be helping us, not holding us back with all of its worry, negativity, blame, hate and doubt? If it’s our mind, how can it be so cranky and negative about our own potential?  

“The key is to remember that your subconscious mind has the mission of protecting you,” explains Beverly Craddock, a master hypnotist at Hawaii Hypnosis Center, in Honolulu. “Whatever you’re feeling—stress, fear, even anxiety—it is something that your mind is creating to protect you.”

When we set out to do something new, meet new people, speak to a group, or even enter a busy environment where people might judge us, the subconscious mind can create a physiological response, such as shortness of breath, sweaty palms and a racing heart, because it wants us to be alert to the danger it perceives. This is a great thing if we’re walking into a jungle filled with man-eating dinosaurs, but it isn’t a very effective response when trying to talk to someone or give a presentation. The mind believes we are facing a danger because we have previously been harmed or felt judged in one of these situations. It is only able to remind us of these previous hurts or harms by using our body’s system to protect us. If we ignore the initial warnings, or try to gut through it, we’re likely to just end up making the situation even worse because our subconscious mind will need to ramp up the warnings. Ignoring the mind’s warning system means that the warnings will need to be more severe in order to get our attention.

“Instead of fighting with your mind, it’s best to pay attention to it,” Craddock adds. “Something as simple as looking around and assessing the environment for any actual danger can be enough to quiet the reactions. The mind is using anxiety to alert you, so you can learn to thank it and send it away.”

Unfortunately, the subconscious mind is a notoriously bad interpreter of events. It often lies to us or blows things out of proportion based on the age we were during previous experiences. The anxiety experienced during a poor speaking performance in high school is stored in the subconscious. Even though the individual has grown since then and consciously knows that the old event is in the distant past, the subconscious is trying to protect him/her from a repeat of the pain, hurt or humiliation that the individual faced while young.

“People constantly try to shut off the protective voice, but your mind will never stop trying to protect you,” Craddock says. “If you want to change the subconscious response, you’ve got to alter the subconscious understanding of past events through a process such as hypnosis. You will never consciously out-argue your subconscious mind.”

The subconscious mind is the center of all of our feelings. Even when we say things like, “There’s nothing to be afraid of, I’ve done this many times,” our subconscious mind can still create anxiety, stress or fear. The reason that we can consciously know that something shouldn’t be frightening but are still able to feel afraid is that our subconscious feelings have learned that our conscious thoughts can be deceptive. Even though our conscious mind knows the facts of the situation, the subconscious doesn’t trust those facts because they conflict with what it has experienced in the past. Because our thoughts have “lied” to our feelings before, we’ve created two parts of our mind that don’t trust each other. In that predicament, we’ve got to find a way to get subconscious and conscious to agree.

“Hypnosis is effective for helping get the two parts of your own mind on the same page,” Craddock concludes. “You can’t consciously argue your way out of a feeling any more than you can feel your way out of a thought. The two come from separate parts of the human mind and they need an interpreter—and that’s what good hypnotists do.”

Randy Hampton is a writer, social scientist, hypnotist and blogger living in Honolulu.

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