The unconscious - a servant with a loyal and honourable mission
“What constitutes mental, emotional or psychological interference? In this article you will be learning how interference affects our lives, why it occurs and discovering techniques to overcome the causes of interference.”
The most common way people are affected by interference is when you have the desire, willingness and determination to change something – but instead the ego leads you to sabotage your efforts or you become lazy, simply falling back to old ways. This causes massive frustration and anger in some people. More about that topic in future articles.
Other similar ways individuals manifest interference include (but by no means limited to…) being distracted by matters not related to your core end result (example: spending hours on social media, instead of pursuing your goals); or sabotaging your own behaviour using food or alcohol (example: binge eating or drinking uncontrollably and unconsciously. Read my article about Comfort Eating for my personal story); similarly you may find you lapse into old ingrained thinking – being unconscious to when or how this lapse happens (example: you are determined to stick with a new thought process around your relationship, but you slip back into old habits or old thought processes that are misaligned with your end result).
So as humans are we capable of simply applying more rigour and more self control to avoid the interference? Many people do manage to change and transform their thinking – but it takes determination, sometimes a lot of courage and often an immense amount of discipline. Unfortunately our unconscious mind is not notorious for achieving that outcome – especially without much intervention. The unconscious is programmed for your survival, it seeks out evidence to prove your thoughts, emotions and beliefs. The original survival structure of our unconscious was totally relevant 100,000’s of years ago, when there may be serious threats to your physical safety. On a daily basis, probably multiple times each day, the unconscious would need to warn you of physical danger or alert you to potential threats from your environment or the sources of food around you (is that berry safe to eat? Do these leaves heal me or make me sick? Is that noise normal or does it mean danger is approaching?).
All of this unconscious instinct was designed to keep our ancestors alive. Now the fact that you are reading this article means your ancestors were successful in surviving and passing those genes on. So you inherited an operating system for your neck top computer that has survival at its base. The challenge now is that our thought process has become more sophisticated and our intelligence grown significantly. The human brain has grown three times in size since the beginning of our time so far on planet Earth. Humans have always been a superior species since our arrival on this planet, with our ability to communicate and think keeping us at the top of the species development tree.
Our master intelligence has always been present to enable us to evolve and develop, using our brains to their fullest extent. Our superior thinking enabled humans to discover fire, travel further than many other species, to breed with each other, to innovate, create and push the boundaries beyond where our ancestors first set foot on the planet. So in some respects the unconscious was present to protect the superior brain and keep humans ahead as a high ranking species. The master intelligence of the human brain was protected by the unconscious – a servant with a loyal and honourable mission. The unconscious would ensure we found good food to eat, have access to a good source of safe water and protect us from potentially dangerous predators.
However, what has happened is that the unconscious took over executive control. It has become so powerful and strong that we hardly notice when it is leading our mind and running the body to make choices based on emotions or old beliefs. Even though intellectually we may rationalise that something is not good for us, the unconscious still soldiers on trying to prove the underlying belief and bring evidence to sabotage our behaviour.
Allow me to share an example. When I was in the depths of a long term addiction to junk food – including chocolate, crisps/potato chips, biscuits and cake (to name a few of my previous favourites) I would literally lose control of my willpower. I would know – often with strong determination – that I would not want to purchase or consume any of the aforementioned products. Yet, when temptation appeared or I was struggling with tension and stress, I would devour and gorge on all my indulgences – sometimes all at once at the same time! I would literally eat until I felt sick (physically and psychologically). My willpower would desert me around desserts (which ironically is the word ‘stressed’ spelt in reverse)!
So, logically I would not want the junk food. However, emotionally my unconscious totally overpowered my will and sabotaged my efforts – satisfying its own greed for proving itself right and leaving me feeling sad about my poor standards of behaviour. Totally indulging in my belief around not being good enough and not capable of changing any of my own behaviour.
What did that thought process and unconscious sabotage lead to? Low self esteem, not believing I was capable to achieve my goals and feeling crap physically. It would feel disgusting to have eaten so much food – but I would attain a temporary high from all the sugar and the adrenaline of eating (often in secret) to satiate my emotional hunger (more about the different types of hunger later in future articles). The pattern of eating would fuel my dysfunctional behaviour and the cycle became self-justifying and potentially could have been eternally terminal….