I CAN BRING TO LIGHT
what has been hidden all these years!
PREVIOUS: CS & the Unconscious (#2)
REMINDER: See ACRONYM page for abbrev.
1. THINKING (cont)
• Consider the entryway into the subconscious like a lens aperture. It’s only natural that the wider the opening, the easier it is to let light in! We know that old info will try to keep out any new info that’s going to cancel it out! So we need to utilize ways to become more receptive in this ‘adversarial’ situation, since tension tends to close us off to anything contradictory
✓ The way to open the subconscious is to be physically & mentally relaxed. Also – liking something makes it more accessible. To some ACoAs it may seem like a deception or arrogance if we tell ourselves before an exam or interview: “…no matter what the outcome, I will be OK”. So we may be able to take it in more easily IF we say: “I LIKE the idea of being ok, no matter what the outcome is…”, which will dilate the aperture of the unconscious enough to slip in the rest: “… and I know that tomorrow I’ll remember what I read!”
• We don’t have to replace old beliefs – just add positive, healthy ones, creating different chemical pathways, which then take precedence (be the new habits). The old routes will be less used, therefore weaker, therefore not as easily fallen into (regression). They will become a little like an abandoned building – still there but no longer lived in. This is good news for ACoAs who assume we have to be rid of all bad ideas before we are ‘better’.
✓ The best time to substitute a subconscious thought pattern is when it’s currently playing in the mind, as when a CD is causing us anxiety. Even tho’ that is when we “feel” least like doing it – replacing the thought right then will be most effective. Picture being in a dive with a jukebox – if we push D4 (an event), a specific record will play (a CD) but this one is scratchy & annoying (painful emotions). The best time to put a new record on in the machine at location D4 is while it’s playing, to get rid of the grating noise! But it doesn’t FEEL right (we resist, as if it were illegal, and Mac the Knife is glowering at us — so it seems impossible.
• Change the record anyway! Each time we do, the huge loudspeaker at our back blaring verbal ugliness will shrink a little & the tiny one in front squeaking out Recovery will get a little taller & clearer
✓ Some other methods of opening the aperture are hypnosis, meditation, biofeedback, EFT…. which allow for easier introduction of contrary concepts into the subconscious (done professionally or self-administered)
ACTIONS (A-3): Since thoughts are stored in one of 2 ways, so too can corrective habits be developed:
i. BY simple repetition: We can replace a CD with a new thought 4-5 times a day, which only takes 30 seconds at a time, so it’s not the amount of time but the regular effort that pays off
ii. OR by associating a thought, decision, conclusion, action or other experience with a strong emotion. Pair a thought, like : “I am comfortable in groups of any size” with a pleasurable emotion, like – enthusiasm, excitement, positive anticipation… which can turbocharge the replacement process. Sometimes it can take only one or two trials or parings of a strongly felt emotion with a corrective thought about something for it to register, making it less of a hassle
• Moving outside the mind’s comfort zone is challenging. Instead of suffering so much because of Cognitive Distortions, we can gradually:
— own the talents & skills we already possess & have already been using
— improve any weakness in knowledge, social skills, style of learning or work habits…. which will make us feel better about ourselves & more confident in the world
• We can determine to make the effort in challenging the Bad Parent voice, even though it doesn’t “feel” right & our conscious mind ridicules us for suggesting it. ACoAs will often say: “I feel so awkward talking the Inner Child”, so we stop! instead of persisting until the dissonance melts away, which it will. (Loosely based on an article by Dr. W. D. Fabian)
NEXT: CDs & the Unconscious (Part 4)