Most of our brain functioning takes place on a subconscious level, outside awareness. This means that we are mostly oblivious of the source our thoughts, feelings and actions originate from. We however take these as reality while it is mostly not the case. We need to constantly be aware that what we regard as reality is only partial and may be flawed and limited. This leaves the opportunity to continuously be open to seeking a closer understanding of what is real.
Our reality is based on a subconscious belief system. A belief is everything we know to be true and a belief system all the ideas and thoughts about how reality is and how it should be. This reality is built up from birth through the input we receive from others and the experiences we are exposed to. From these experiences we make assumptions and draw conclusions on which our beliefs are based.
Children born as “blank books” in which others and the environment start writing from birth onward. The world is interpreted for them and they learn to see the world through our eyes as parents, teachers and other adults; themselves included. Many of these “entries” are incorrect and flawed. Specific beliefs around self – esteem that children internalize would be some of the following:
I am only loveable when I achieve
I am not good enough
I am not allowed to question authority figures
Expressing my emotions is wrong
As adults we have to come to the realization that we carry many, many painful and destructive beliefs around in the subconscious “mental suitcase” in our brain. The beauty of the latest developments in neuroscience is that the process of attending and reflecting on possible irrational beliefs about ourselves and others as well as putting consistent effort into changing these for the better, is well within our reach. Do the following exercise:
Answer the following questions in your journal
Who am I?
Do I know myself sufficiently to answer the previous question in a comprehensive way?
Who do others want me to be?
Do you agree with the expectations of others?
Use your imagination to describe who you want to be.