Protecting our subconscious
My therapist and I are working on the messages I send to my subconscious. The impact of making excuses and what that can do to your body because your subconscious never turns off, is interesting, intriguing and eye-opening.
Two people wake up. One says, “I’m so tired and I don’t feel good, I’m going back to sleep.” The other says, “I want to sleep some more. I’ll get up in 15 minutes.”
The girl with no excuses wakes up in 15 minutes and is ready to start the day. The girl with the excuses wakes up feeling tired and unwell.
The moral of the story:
You’re a grown ass person, if you want to sleep for 15 more minutes, do it.
Why do you have to make excuses? What are you telling your subconscious when you make those excuses?
Here's an example of what I've been telling my subconscious I can't do.
My dad died when I was four years old. He had Cancer, and he died in his sleep. I was four years old when this happened, so I didn't really grasp it. My little girl brain was very confused, very scared, and very angry about daddy not waking up.
What do you think I developed a neurosis about? Yep. Sleep.
A friend of mine died when I was in high school. He had been in a car accident... a pretty bad one. A semi-truck dragged his car for a distance on the interstate.
The paramedics didn't know and/or didn't ask if he was on anything, had taken any substances.
He never woke up from the anesthesia he was given. Again, sleep.
I developed a coping mechanism of falling asleep with the TV on, so that I wouldn't be plagued with so much anxiety at night. I always put something on that I've seen every episode of a million times, like Everybody Loves Raymond or The Golden Girls. That way, I can picture in my head exactly what is happening in each seen by listening to the dialogue.
I started my last session with my therapist by telling her that I can't fall asleep without the TV on because I get too overwhelmed with fear and anxiety... that I'll die, that I won't wake up, that a million other things will go wrong or happen to people I love...
She also hates the word ‘can’t.’ She said if she can impart one change on all patients it would be to remove can’t from their vocabulary.
We tell ourselves we ‘can’t’ do a lot of things and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. She wants me to say ‘I’m not going to,’ or ‘I don’t want to,’ instead.
She said, 'Sure you can learn to fall asleep with the TV on, but just say you don't want to, or that you won't.'
The word should is entirely too hard on your subconscious.
My therapist calls 'should' a 'church word.'
She says we go around 'shoulding' ourselves all the time, and it has an unhealthy impact on our subconscious, because by saying we should be doing something that we don't want to do, or that isn't in our best interests, maybe because of some misplaced desire to be polite, we are telling our subconscious that our needs come last.
She said we sit around and torture ourselves, for instance, with, 'I should really clean the bathroom.'
Well, should I? I do like it when the bathroom is clean... That makes me feel good.
But I hate doing it and it grosses me out and it hurts my back.
So, what if I hire someone else to clean the bathroom so that I feel good without having to do something I hate? That should make my subconscious happy.
I shoulded all over my subconscious last weekend.
Last weekend was my friend Samantha's baby shower. I had RSVP'd that I would attend back in March or April. I even had a gift all ready to go.
The truth is, I was dreading it.
I didn't want to be around all the shade-throwing catty bitches I used to work with in the office. It was making my anxiety elevate.
I was also concerned about whether or not I'd be able to eat any of the food there, or if people would think I was rude or uncouth for bringing my own food. I have a lot of food allergies (wheat, corn, sesame, onion, and beef) plus I'm trying to follow an anti-inflammatory diet as much as my will power allows for the sake of chronic pain management. That means no dairy, limited animal based proteins, and lots of fresh fruits and veggies.
I live in the south, where they put meat in everything including the green beans so this is a challenge to say the least.
This concern over being 'the rude one' was making my anxiety escalate further.
The day before the party, I spent about 8 hours at my sister's house, sitting up for most of the day, on furniture that my spine is not a fan of. When I woke up on the day of the party I felt that my nerve pain was triggered and like I wanted to stay home and be on my own furniture and have access to my own Kelly safe foods.
I told my friend Debbie that I didn't want to go, that I wanted to stay home and practice self-care, but felt badly.
She said, 'Couldn't you just make an excuse?'
Yeah... My spine and pain are like, built-in excuses not to do a lot of things I don't want to do.
But if I make an excuse instead of just saying that I won't be able to make it, what am I telling my subconscious? If I make the excuse of having nerve pain, and say I can't go because of pain, will I not just be feeding my subconscious more negative messages and perpetuating the cycle?
I told Debbie that I thought it would be better for my subconscious if I just told Samantha that I wasn't going to make it and offer some alternative times to stop by, visit with her, and deliver her gifts.
Debbie agreed and thought this was a great idea, because then I would be sending the message to my subconscious that my needs are a priority and self-care comes first.
Huzzah! I was on to something!
So I texted Sam... and guess what I said?
'I can't make it because I overdid it yesterday and my pain is elevated...'
Blarg. I was so anxious about being 'rude' and feeling like I should live up to the social obligation, that I caved at the last-minute and made a fucking excuse.
What can I say, it's a process!
Vowing to do better by my subconscious.
I'm going to keep working on this because now that I'm aware of it and my therapist has called me out on it I'm catching myself running into this whole negative messages to the subconscious thing all the time.
My personal trainer, Jacob, will tell me we're going to do a certain exercise and I'll give him a look like, 'Have you lost your fucking mind?'
I'm so used to limiting myself and telling myself I can't do things because of my physical handicaps. That's fear talking... flare fear. I'm afraid to be in as much pain every day as I used to be, and it can sometimes get in the way of my rehabilitation and recovery.
It struck me the other day when he said, 'It doesn't matter if I know you can do it, because if you don't think you can then you won't do it.' TRUTH BOMB.
So I've learned to trust him a little bit more when he tells me to do something, because I know that he wouldn't be telling me to do something that he wasn't super confident I could do without hurting myself.
This applies to my business too. I need to recognize my badassery every single day -- not everyone would be handling themselves the way I have throughout this past year. That's some shit to be proud of.
I have to focus on what I can do to grow my business, meet new people, expand my network and clientele, and recruit new team members... instead of focusing on what I can't do.
What are the things you’re telling your subconscious you can’t do?
What are the things you're telling your subconscious you should do, that you don't want to do, thereby making yourself feel like a bad person or a failure?