Subconscious Mind and its Impact on Our Behaviour
“Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become a reality.”
“Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become a reality.” – Earl Nightingale
I’m certain you would say that you have self-control and can control your behaviour? Surprisingly, our actions remain under limited control given the driving force behind every action.
Implausible as it might be, I believe it to be true. Prior to taking action or deciding on something, you do so using your conscious mind. Yet our lives are replete with different actions at every moment. Those actions are not always a result of your conscious decisions, yet your subconscious mind plays a major role. Actions controlled by your subconscious mind are beyond your control.
The study of the subconscious mind and understanding it can help improve our personal relationships and help us understand people better.
What Is The Subconscious Mind?
Let us consider the example of driving a car. When you first learn to drive, your focus is directed to your car’s gear and clutch. You concentrate on the entire process. You notice every bump, every pothole and every obstacle. As you become skilled, your subconscious mind registers your actions and you drive without making a conscious effort. You automatically avoid obstacles, change gears automatically while performing other actions at the same time such as listening to music or talking on the phone. As your proficiency increases, the driving process becomes natural and your decisions are automatic.
Here is a practical experiment to experience the power of subconscious actions. Place your hand horizontally, with your palm facing upwards in front of you and imagine holding a lemon. Your mouth will salivate as a response to the thought. Your conscious mind knows no lemon is present – it is your imagination. The subconscious mind, however, is illogical and believes what the conscious mind thinks.
What Happens Inside Your Subconscious Mind?
Like driving a car on a winding road while evading potholes, your life’s journey represents many subconscious actions. There may have been potholes and obstacles presented to you and you crossed them with ease every time.
Whether your actions have negative or positive impacts, important judgements are made regarding dos and don’ts, i.e. things you should and should not do. You assume your own judgements on life’s potholes and decide what should be done to avoid them.
You gather knowledge along the way and form vital knowledge. You judge the people around you and distinguish good from the bad. Based on the way people look, you form certain conclusions. Since you met an unpleasant person who had grey eyes and a long nose, your child's brain concludes people with grey eyes and long noses are bad.
If such experiences are repeated, your beliefs support your subconscious thoughts: “I told you so. Didn’t I?” you tell yourself. Your judgements are reinforced. In many ways, a great deal of learning from your child's brain has been accepted by your subconscious mind.
The rules you assume may be illogical, but they are now firmly placed in your subconscious mind. When you look at a person with the traits you defined in your subconscious mind’s rule book, you automatically respond in a specific way and you wouldn’t even know you reacted that way.
Behaviour Is Driven by The Subconscious Mind
Tasks are performed via the conscious mind, but most actions depend on the subconscious mind. They are the same as reflex actions in certain ways but vary. As far as physical reflex actions are concerned, actions or disturbances in and around you arise, and before you realize, your body responds to the disturbance. Right after your reflex action, you realize how your body responded. Yet when the subconscious mind takes control, your conscious mind is unaware you responded to the subconscious stimuli.
The conscious mind is analytical and logical whereas the subconscious mind is said to be irrational. Since your behaviour is governed by the subconscious mind, you envisage the likely outcome.
The Effect The Subconscious Mind Has on Your Behaviour
There is a list of items your subconscious mind deems you are “not ok” with. These items fall under two categories:
Things with which you are comfortable and can say “It is not ok for me” or “I cannot do this” or “That is not meant for me”. You have no conscience about related to these things.
The second category relates to things you find complex, perhaps people that hurt you. These include hurt feelings concerning your shortcomings, thinking about your weaknesses while feeling ashamed to accept them.
This second category handles your abnormal and unnatural behaviour.
These relate to formed opinions of yourself (“I’m not ok”) in your childhood. These thoughts are reinforced in your subconscious mind. These relate to experiences when you were embarrassed, thus creating a “Not OK” opinion of yourself.
You naturally want to forget these things since they invoke unpleasant memories. Your conscious mind removes them but your subconscious mind has them stored. Such memories from your subconscious pain points.
You go through many experiences and incidents in life, but few incidents touch the pain points in your subconscious and you respond sorely. When you experience these pain points, you are overpowered and your response is without your control. These could be the same sensations you experienced when you went through an unpleasant incident as a child. Perhaps you tried to push it beneath the carpet and made efforts to expel it from your mind. In such situations, you become helpless in your actions. You then perform uncontrolled actions since your subconscious mind has allowed you to feel helpless.
We all have our “pain points” – we all have our idiosyncrasies. Whenever pain points are touched, we respond. Since the pain points vary from person to person, different people respond to the same stimuli in a different manner. Someone may not care regarding a comment in which the other person feels hurt.
This illustrates the drivenness of your behaviour – you are driven to take action and are powerless in these circumstances. You might not prefer to be under control, yet you function which your subconscious mind drives you to.