It’s absolutely true that your unconscious mind controls many, if not most, of our behaviors/actions.
We do certain things or feel in a certain way without even knowing why.
And if you want to have more control over your actions and behaviors, you need to be conscious about some of these hidden driving forces.
See these examples:
Someone who procrastinates, for him it could be because he’s, deep inside, afraid of failure.
For another person who procrastinates as well it could be because he, deep inside also, doesn’t believe that he deserves success.
Also a person could be doing a certain behavior to fulfill an unconscious need. The need of belonging can be fulfilled through joining a group of people, like “iPhone owners” or “Barcelona fans”.
Another example is if someone is unable to ask people for a favor, it could be because this person has a deep fear of being humiliated/rejected.
Or it could mean that he believes it’s a weakness to ask, and all of this happens on the unconscious level.
Sure those are simple examples; things in reality can be much more complicated.
However, it’s very important to understand why you do what you do.
Sometimes we get stuck and we sit there wondering why we’re this way: why we procrastinate, why we can’t step up and do something that we want or why we screw up our progress.
And trust me, it feels so good to be able to analyze your own behavior and discover those unconscious blocks that are stopping you.
You become able see things clearly and you get a sense of clarity.
So, in this article we’re going to look at some of those “unconscious motivators”.
We’re going to look at 2 areas where we get unconscious stuffs going on, that will help you to start examining your own life and figure out where to look.
Before we start I just want to say that by this article we’re just scratching the surface of this unconscious world.
Understanding the unconscious mind and its motivators is a very board subject, not a one article in the world can give you that.
It takes a lot of reading, observing and practicing to be able to understand your own unconscious driving forces.
I believe that this is one of the best ways to improve yourself and become better: to understand yourself.
And understanding yourself requires going the extra mile and seeing what’s going on behind the scene, what’s your unconscious mind is doing and how it’s thinking.
Now enough talking, let’s get into work.
The Unconscious Emotions
In my last article about negative emotions I said that you need to respond the right way to your negative emotions in order for them to go away.
However, before you do that you first need to identify the negative emotion that you’re feeling.
“Feeling bad” is not enough to describe how you feel.
Is it depression? Frustration? A mix of both? Worrying? Or maybe guilt?
Identifying the negative emotion is the first step.
But sometimes we feel bad without knowing what, exactly, we’re feeling. Let alone knowing why we’re feeling like that.
Sometimes our behavior changes because of a certain negative emotion that we don’t even notice that it’s there in the first place.
Let me give you some examples to make things clear:
Example #1: Shame and The Nice Guy
In the book No More Mr. Nice Guy the author talks about shame and explains how it can affect the whole character of the child.
He says that ignoring the child, punishing him, or making fun of him, in other words abandoning him, will make the child think that there’s something wrong with him.
Feelings of shame.
The author said this happens because the child at that early age thinks that he is the center of the universe and everything happens because of him.
And from there, according to the author, the sick personality of the nice guy, that includes approval seeking behaviors and generally not being assured of one’s self, shapes and forms.
This is a genius conclusion.
Think about it, a whole personality is shaped based on the feelings of shame (and also some beliefs as we’re going to see).
And at that age, certainly those feelings (or beliefs) were unconscious, and they remained unconscious throughout childhood and adulthood.
Example #2: Shame, Helplessness and Watching Porn
Recently I’ve came across an interesting article talking about porn addiction and social anxiety.
For sure there’s a link between the two, most people report increased confidence and better social interactions when they stop watching porn.
But anyway, the guy who wrote the article had an interesting theory; he analyzed the situation from a totally different angle.
He said that if you believe that watching porn is bad, each time you do it you’ll feel guilty and ashamed of yourself.
In other words you’ll start to think down of yourself because you’re doing something that you consider wrong (for whatever reasons and even if it’s a little voice inside of you), and also because you can’t break free from it (helplessness, guilt and shame are all present here).
Those feelings most of the time will remain unconscious (we’ll see why in the end of the article), but even though they’ll affect the way you interact with people.
Someone can struggle from this problem and doesn’t even know that those beliefs are there in the first place.
Sure he also mentions something about people who don’t think that porn is bad and how their case could be different (Hint: it can still affect them but for totally different reasons).
The point is that those unconscious emotions can affect you.
And unless you take the time and the initiative to examine them, they’ll remain unconscious.
Last but not least, I think that when we don’t respond to our negative emotions or we don’t understand them, they never be a part of our conscious.
The Unconscious Beliefs
You might have a certain belief about yourself, the life or the people around you, without you even know it!
Something that your subconscious mind believes in regardless of what you rationally think about that belief.
And this “hidden” belief can control your entire behavior.
If you’ve been reading about self-development for a while, then I’m sure you’ve read about the limiting beliefs, which are false beliefs about yourself or about your abilities that are stopping you.
If you believe that you can’t do something, if you believe that you don’t deserve success or if you believe that change is impossible, it’ll never work for you.
That’s absolutely true.
And that’s why we’re told to destroy those beliefs.
However, they’re not always that obvious.
Sometimes those beliefs are unconscious, meaning that if you were asked about them you would totally deny their existence.
And this is where inner conflict and self-sabotage happen.
The the most popular beliefs that can stop you in life and make you helpless are: I can’t do it and I don’t deserve it.
Here are some examples to make things clear:
1. Sabotaging yourself
The typical example is when you want to get something, but you keep procrastinating and not working really hard.
Maybe you failed many times until your unconscious mind lost hope (unconsciously believed that it’s impossible).
Maybe someone told that you’re a loser and you ended up believing that, on the unconscious level.
Maybe you have unconscious feelings of shame like what we’ve just talked about above, and those feelings resulted in the belief “I don’t deserve something good”.
Each case is different.
However the concept is the same: an unconscious belief that is holding you back.
- Values are the backbone of your self-development journey
2. Feeling Inferior
Another example is if someone feels inferior, most probably he feels so because of a certain belief.
Like he believes that he’s boring, or that he’ll always be rejected, or that he’s ugly, or even that he lacks social skills.
And those beliefs, most of the time, are unconscious.
Meaning that someone can be shy around other people because he believes that he “doesn’t deserve something good” and also because he believes that he’s boring.
Or generally believes that there’s something wrong with him.
And he has no clue why he’s always acting weak and insecure around people.
If you were rejected by your peers when you were a child then you may grow up believing that you’ll always be rejected.
Or you might grow up trying to get approval from your peers or anyone your unconscious mind considers similar to your peers.
As you can see, the possibilities are limitless.
But the concept is the same.
There’s a sick belief inside your mind hiding in a dark corner of your mind and it’s controlling the way you act.
And because it’s scare to explore those dark corners inside your mind, those beliefs remain unconscious.
Anything from childhood experiences to general bad experiences, they can install false beliefs inside of your mind and keep them unconscious.
Why Do We Keep Those Emotions And Beliefs Unconscious?
There are some possible reasons for that:
- Lack of awareness/knowledge.
Lack of awareness or knowledge is when you don’t educate yourself about these facts.
Some people don’t even know that there are such things as “unconscious driving forces”, or they don’t believe that it’s as strong as this.
Or they simply don’t make a conscious effort to spot those unconscious stuffs, they don’t try to be aware of their actions and behaviors.
Ego, on the other hand, is when admitting the existence of these beliefs is too painful that it’s going to hurt our ego.
Don’t let these things stop you from exploring your unconscious world because there you’ll find many answers to many questions.
Your unconscious mind controls many of your behaviors and emotions, meaning that you don’t know why you’re doing them.
The problem is that we need to carefully (and consciously) examine whether those behaviors are serving us or not.
We want to do more of what we want, and stop what is damaging us.
In this article we talked about 2 areas: the emotions and the beliefs.
Realizing the fact that sometimes we can get unconscious stuffs going on there is the first step.
Then we’ve given examples as much as possible to illustrate the point.
Again, this article is just scratching the surface of this huge and very important topic, why we do what we do? And how to do more of what we want and need?
But it does add some value and it can help you to understand these things more.
And yes we’re going to go deeper than this on the next articles talking about this topic.