It’s usually a good thing to be open minded. When we think about a person as “being open-minded” we think of them as being able to listen to and understand the beliefs and values of their fellow humans. When we think of being an open-minded person, we think that is a good thing. Maybe it’s not as good as we think.
When I speak or work with my coaching clients about their goals and dreams and why they feel they cannot achieve them, it almost always gets down to limiting beliefs. Most, if not all, have a belief in their mind, their subconscious mind, that prevents them from achieving their goals. When I speak about limiting beliefs I am not talking about the FEARS, the fear of success, the fear of failure, the fear of poverty or the Impostor Syndrome. That’s a different subject I’ll cover in another post. When I talk about limiting beliefs and overcoming them I am referring to your inner belief systems in your subconscious mind that are programmed at an early age.
I didn’t call them negative beliefs because they aren’t really negative or positive beliefs. They are just beliefs. The only time they become negative or positive or even limiting, for that matter, is when you want to do something that is either in line with or counter to the belief. To understand this you have to understand a little about how the mind works. I learned a lot about this in my studies of hypnosis to become a hypnotherapist.
Children are open minded
Children are beautiful people. They learn at an amazing pace. Their mind is an open book. As a child our mind takes in all that we see, hear, feel and experience. We develop a bond with our primary caretakers, the nurturers in our lives. That most often is our parent(s), grandparents, older siblings, and authority figures in our lives at that time. These primary caretakers mold our thoughts and beliefs as we grow from birth to about 6 years old. The beliefs of those around us that we trust and love will be what goes into and are accepted as knowns. Those knowns are not positive or negative to the subconscious mind. They are just what is known to the mind as the truth. Not positive or negative.
As we grow the mind develops a filter. The “critical mind filter” starts to form and begins to question the suggestions that come into the mind. When those suggestions come into the mind, the bouncer at the door to the subconscious mind checks the ID of the suggestion and if it doesn’t recognize it as a known, they aren’t on the guest list and get turned away from going any further. If the suggestion keeps trying to get in, the bouncer will have to dissuade the suggestion from continuing.
You aren’t good enough to be here. You don’s want to be around these people with money, they’ll just take advantage of you. You don’t belong here. Your parents were happy with the money they had, you don’t need to be like these people. That sounds negative, but it could just be the bouncer trying to take care of you.
The beliefs are only limiting if they prevent you from being someone or doing something you want to be or do. It doesn’t have to be money related, it can be physical, like weight. If you want to lose weight and your entire life food was used as a comfort mechanism, or a reward for good behavior or to make you feel good, you may have a hard time eliminating foods that not advantageous for losing weight.
The critical mind filter is the bouncer at the subconscious mind. In hypnotherapy, when we encounter a limiting belief that prevents our client from doing something they want to do, we want to reprogram that belief to be in line with the new belief we want to have. We want to replace the existing code, the belief, with new code that will allow us to be who or what we want to be. To modify this belief to one our client feels is positive and non-limiting, we first have to get through the bouncer, the critical mind filter.
Hypnotists and hypnotherapists use techniques to overload the filter with stimuli until it opens the subconscious mind and we can then input suggestions to change the current known beliefs to new knowns. This is how hypnosis works. You over stimulate the filter to the subconscious mind. You don’t have to go to a hypnotist to have this overstimulation happen.
They weren’t abducted by aliens
Before smartphones and social media, I used to ask my clients and audiences if they ever experienced driving down the road and realizing they had just driven several miles and didn’t remember how they got to where they were? Barring being abducted by aliens, which there weren’t, what had happened was they have been driving hypnotized. They had entered a state of over stimulation. They were awake, alert and aware of their surroundings, but they were now in a hyper-suggestible state. By this, I mean they were hypnotized. Their critical mind filter had opened to the subconscious mind and they were on autopilot, the subconscious controlling their body.
The bad thing about being in a hyper-suggestible state is just that, you are open to suggestions, good or bad, from people or stimuli around you. We used to worry about what they were listening to on the radio at that time. Today we experience that on a greater scale with smartphones, mobile devices, social media and constant stimulation from multiple devices.
This overstimulation starts to work on the critical mind filter. The bouncer at the door to the club takes a break and all kinds of new knowns start coming in flooding the mind and sometimes pushing out old knowns. At times, these new knowns could be negative or limiting and push out the positive or success driven knowns and now the club becomes overactive with the wrong type of beliefs. When the bouncer, the critical mind filter, leaves and opens the subconscious mind your entire mindset can be affected.
Reprogramming Limiting Beliefs
In hypnotherapy, we work on changing these existing beliefs that are limiting your progress in achieving your goals to beliefs that will propel you forward toward your goals. We learn what beliefs you have and what we need to change them to so you can succeed. We overload the filter, change your programming and then close the door back and shut it. Our goal is to set the knowns to be those that let your subconscious know that you are a healthy person who is smart, driven and achieves what they set out to do. If the bouncer recognizes you as a popular, successful, powerful person, it will allow your access to the best the mind can offer.
You may need to be reprogrammed from your current life beliefs more than from those instilled at childhood. You may need to learn to turn off those devices and applications and shut the door to your subconscious mind so you can be successful.