Over the last few months, I've discussed some of the challenges many leaders and parents face. Procrastination, overwhelm, and the filters--those virtual reality goggles we all have that distort our perceptions of reality.
If you would love to break through self-limiting behaviors or outsized negative reactions, have more energy for the people you care most about, and pursue your passions, here’s why reading another book isn’t going to help you.
If you struggle with people pleasing or enforcing boundaries, or miss those feelings of joy and ease in your teens and twenties, here’s how you can get it back.
The truth is, common approaches to personal development have it all backward.
We focus so much on the mighty rational part of our mind.
We have to learn how to work with our emotions.
We need to practice holding boundaries.
We need to learn about our attachment style to connect better in relationships.
To learn to manage our thoughts so we can manage our anxiety.
All to give us some relief from our pain and some ability to keep it under control so we can soldier on.
What if you didn't have to think about or practice holding boundaries?
What if it just came naturally?
What if there was nothing to understand about your past?
What if you could simply make its effects on your present disappear?
What if you didn't need to regulate your emotions because they only came in brief doses and they just moved on effortlessly?
What if self-compassion wasn't necessary because self-judgment wasn't something you experienced?
The truth is you already know too much.
The solution isn't to learn more techniques. The solution is to remove the source of the negative emotions, the reactivity, and the self-limitation from your deep mind. So the conscious mind has nothing to manage.
Now, like I said, you don't need to learn anything to hold boundaries, to connect with others, and to live an authentic life. Your body already knows how to do all of this.
So the secret of rapid personal transformation is working directly with that part of the mind and mapping out how that shell, how that layer has been constructed over a lifetime, and then simply disassembling it right at the root.
Why does this matter?
Less time invested. Much more powerful results. Energy and attention freed up to be creative, to connect, and to love. I have client after client who has permanently released more pain and self-judgment in one week than in years of therapy and coaching.
My partner, Jen, has talked many times on this blog about how children are deeply affected by their parents' emotional state. We have many clients whose children's anxiety and reactivity drastically reduced, or even went away entirely after the parents released powerful negative emotions from their bodies and minds. They felt better, and their children got better at the same time without doing any work directly with the children at all. And this happens in adult relationships as well–conflict just ends.
So, let's return to what I talked about in my last article. Deprogramming versus reprogramming the mind. Many techniques such as Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Dialictical Behavior Therapy are designed to manage or reprogram our responses through awareness. Deprogramming is about removing the source, so there is nothing to manage.
Key aspects of how the mind works
To understand why deprogramming is so powerful, we need to understand a few key aspects of how the mind works and how this impacts our lives.
1. The unconscious mind communicates in pictures, emotions, and feelings in the body.
It doesn't work in the language. Language is the tool of the rational mind. The rational mind is like a computer. It takes data in, it performs analysis and it creates conclusions. If the input data is poor or incomplete, the results of the analysis, which are your beliefs and your decisions, will be poor also.
2. The rational mind has no direct source of truth. The information that gets comes from your senses. Including the ability to sense the energy of others in the world around you. From your memories from your imagination. All of this comes from the unconscious.
3. The rational mind is easy to trick.
You feed it the wrong data. Ask it to focus on only a part of the information that's important. And it will repeatedly get the wrong answers.
4. All behavior is directly controlled by the unconscious mind.
It will often act from its own belief and value system without any conscious awareness or intervention. No matter what you think is right. Your unconscious beliefs almost always win out.
5. You create your world. This may not be a hundred percent true, but one of the most powerful things you can do is to adopt this belief. Acting from this belief leads you to look inward to how every problem in your life can be coming from something inside you. And that's something you can change and immediately see the results of. Focusing on blaming others leaves you disempowered. If you know that you create your world, then you are totally empowered to discover exactly how you were creating the things that you don't like. You have absolute power to change what is inside you, and that will immediately transform your life. But that's been hard to do. It's creating that deep internal change until now.
6. The deep mind, or the unconscious, is always trying to keep you safe. This starts the moment you are born. But the strategies that your mind began to adopt when you were 1-3 year old, were probably not the best ones for you. They certainly are not the best for you today as an adult, and they may not have even been the best for you when you were young. However, your mind is always trying to keep you safe, and it will do the best it can. The choices that you made when you were young. Become the patterns that you live with, possibly for the rest of your life, unless you start deprogramming. Your conscious mind doesn't know why you behave the way you do.
7. Your conscious mind does not know the answer to why you behave the way you do. It's just guessing why your unconscious mind is making you behave the way you do. It knows the real root cause of your anger, your self-judgment, your self-limitation. Your conscious mind is simply guessing. And it comes up with some plausible-sounding reasons. All those, "I wonder why I behave like this?", "Oh, that's because…". Most of that is just conscious suppositions–they're plausible, but it doesn't mean that they're right. It's that shell of negative emotions and all of the strategies that your mind has been building since you were a child-- trying to keep you safe from them-- it is that shell that's blocking the true you that's coming through. And that's the source of all of our behaviors that are limiting.
All of this is to say that while there are lots of techniques out there that aim to help you make sense of your behavior, the reality is that not only is ‘knowing why’ really hard to get to, it doesn’t actually help because your behavior is NOT rational and is coming from a place of self protection. Knowing ‘why’ isn’t going to change much.
Instead, you want to be able to recognize simply that there is a protective shell that your mind has developed that is driving much of your behavior. This shell is not only limiting you and sapping your vitality, it’s often hiding the true you.
Three ways to detect the shell that’s blocking the real you.
Now, how can you detect the shell, and how it's limiting you?
1. Notice resistance.
“I'm not like that.”
"I don't like when people do that."
"I don't want to have to do that right now.”
Notice the emotional resistance coming up from within you.
2. Notice automatic reactivity. Someone just gives you a certain look and instantly you're frustrated.
"Here we go again."
In more extreme cases, typically with anger or fear, this may be called an amygdala hijack. Know that when the deep mind is free from the shell of stored negative emotions, our responses are mild, and informational emotions are just messengers. No amygdala hijack.
3. Notice judgment of yourself and others. Putting labels on things versus observing patterns of behavior.
"That person is selfish" vs. 'I noticed that they took the last piece of cake."
This is limiting your perception of other people in the world around you.
As you begin to notice these patterns, be careful to notice the difference between the rational mind's response, which usually sounds like “I am thinking this because...", or "this situation is happening because...", vs the real underlying unconscious response, which is simply an emotional surge into the body, and then automatic action and thoughts.
For example, you might notice I felt anger and then instinctively I did, I said, or I thought something. By accessing the underlying emotion and noticing the behavior, we can begin to track back to the real cause usually early in life, when your mind chose to keep you safe from some perceived threat. Now something 20, 30, or 40 years later is reminding your deep mind of that same threat. And instantly your mind is replaying decades of stored emotion to make you take quick action to keep you safe.
Break the shell, free the real You
Now, you may ask, why does a certain tone of voice or a certain look from a colleague or even my child trigger my mind to need to keep me safe? And the answer is no one knows.
We can only guess specifically how, or even why, a mountain of emotions related to early life experiences gets reinvoked into the body with great force by a glance or a tone of voice. The linkages are different for everyone. We all have unique early life experiences that create our unique shell. What is clear, though, is that with certain techniques, we can easily map out the connections that are in your mind and systematically erase them. And in the end, for results, all we need to do is to erase them.
As a practical example, many of us, if not most of us, have experienced something like road rage. Notice when somebody cuts you off in the car: we get angry, and then what do you say? "That person is a something or other," "that person is trying to do something to me." "That person is..."
When the shell of the emotions that are there to protect you is no longer there, the person cuts you off, and you might be simply grateful that everything is fine. The amount of negative energy that is stored in your shell determines the intensity of this resistance, the automatic reactions, and the judgments. And this resistance, automatic reactions, and judgments are what indirectly create most of the patterns of problems in our lives.
Remember, we began storing energy in the shell when we were very young, and throughout life, as these automatic reactions, fire, the mind strengthens and adds new layers to that shell.
For many of us, by the time we reach midlife, we seem to have lost a great degree of our true, joyful, creative nature, our curiosity, and our desire, our dream for something bigger than ourselves. But we haven't lost anything. It's simply covered and distorted by the shell.
Now when any amount of negative emotions is released from our deep memory, the shell weakens, our senses report more faithfully what's really happening, the amygdala hijack never happens, and our true self can emerge into the world with ease. We connect with others more deeply, we're not so distracted by our phones. We effortlessly defend our boundaries, we get our needs met with little drama.
Because your body already knows how to be awesome.
It knows how to take care of your needs.
It knows how to express love and kindness, even in difficult situations.
It knows how to be curious and listen intently to others, to find many possible solutions to challenges before jumping to a conclusion.
Reading more books and learning more frameworks may help a little, but the shell of negative emotions in the deep unconscious is what is really stopping you from using everything you already know.
Next week. I want to talk more about the shell of negative emotions, how it's created, and how we can easily and effortlessly disassemble it, creating instant impact and how we feel, how we react, and how others experience us energetically.
In the meantime, remember to check out our related Mercury Coach blog content. If this article is useful and you'd like more great content, please subscribe to our mailing list. It means a lot to us and helps us spread the word about how mastering the deep mind can change how we lead and how we parent.
And that my friends will change the world.