It isn’t enough to tell people who are fearful to be courageous. It isn't enough to tell people who lack confidence that they should be more confident, relax, or just be themselves. It isn't enough to tell people who are sad, that if they change their thinking they will feel happy. It isn't enough to tell people who are pessimistic that they would get on better if they were more optimistic, or more positive. It isn't enough because actually, they know that already. The difficulty is in not feeling safe – not feeling safe to let go of their feelings, their situation and their circumstances enough to feel courageous, happy, confident or optimistic.
All unwanted feelings, behaviours and habits serve some positive purpose on the subconscious level, even if they don’t immediately seem logical to the conscious mind. They usually equate in some way to keeping us safe and comfortable. If we can develop a healthy respect for those unwanted feelings or behaviours, whether they are in ourselves or in others, then we have taken the first step in understanding their root cause.
The subconscious mind wants to protect us, to keep us safe, to shelter us from harm. If the person who contains that subconscious mind has learned, through real and consistent experience that they are in tangible and constant danger, such as from the abuse of another, ill health, financial hardship, deprivation, how can they just switch that protective response off? More importantly, why would they? Their subconscious mind will naturally resist. Not only does that feel unsafe, but it would actually put them more at risk, make them more vulnerable to danger, and less ready to respond to a threat.
In order to feel courageous, happy, confident and optimistic, and who doesn’t want to feel this way, this new way of thinking needs to be safer than the old way. Feeling courageous in the face of danger has to BE safer than feeling fearful. Feeling happy has to BE safer than feeling sad. That is what creates empowering change. To do this we need to clearly outline on a subconscious level why feeling courageous, happy, confident and optimistic is safer. To show the protective subconscious mind that feeling fearful is not keeping us safe, it is actually damaging to our health and wellbeing, draining our resources, restricting our opportunities for empowerment, change and choice. Feeling courageous is safer, because it gives us back the main thing we lose when we are fearful – control, control of how we feel.
Once we have shown the subconscious mind what it needs to do and why, then we need to provide the subconscious mind with examples of how to do this. We don’t need to spell out a solution, the subconscious mind has the skills, experience and resources to figure this out for itself, but it needs to left with a flavour of the changes that it needs to make, and what the solution will look like, what the potential outcome will be. Instead of the old way of focusing on what it wants to avoid, what it wants to move away from, the subconscious mind needs a new, clear and positive vision and goal of what it wants to move towards. That is enough to achieve the desired change.