As I become clearer with EFT and meditation, I see myself and feel myself growing and flowing in life with increasing purpose. However, with growth comes new challenges and new challenges means the unknown and the unknown is potentially unsafe. We all act in different funny ways at times and it just got me thinking...
Why am I always late for certain meetings? Why is it that I leave it until the last minute to do my homework or panic pack for my holiday?
Have you ever found yourself struggling with money or getting sick all around the same time each year?
Above are a few examples that come to mind of how we unconsciously get in our own way. But how much importance or awareness do we put on this?
For most of us these habits and patterns are such an intrinsic part of our everyday lives, but what they really signify seems to fly right under our radars. We pass this off as normal or we blame the outside world for the things going against us, when actually it is our mind keeping us safe. Have you ever thought of this before? What would happen if all of the above was done on time or was never an issue?
When we want to progress and grow with our real desires and dreams, we are inevitably going to find ourselves in new places with new experiences. Of course! Otherwise we would be just repeating the familiar and nothing can grow without it entering a place that it has never been before. And so if it didn't have a safety mechanism in place we would find ourselves like lemmings plodding along blindly into potential danger. The flip-side though is that this blind driving could also lead us to the locations, people and experiences that would greatly benefit us. But although we have that protective system in place for backup, we, as a whole, let that rule us. In order to get ahead we must learn or remember to become aware to know when we are acting out of caution, out of inspiration or just fear.
Our subconscious minds are awesome, but they are often programmed by other peoples beliefs and our environment. Before we know it we are on autopilot and then later wonder why life is so tough. It is that very autopilot that sabotages by ways of procrastination, overwhelm and making us late for the meeting.
For example, what would it mean if you showed up on time to that important meeting and made a good impression? Maybe you get promoted with a raise! Sounds good right?
The Mind on Autopilot
But your autopilot is saying...
If I get promoted then I will have to work harder,
I will have too much responsibility,
If I make more money then people will be asking me for handouts or
My colleagues will judge me if I get a promotion and they don't
So if this is the voice of the autopilot then the sensible way to keep safe would be to avoid the situation that will potentially bring these outcomes about.
It may not seem it and It's hard to admit sometimes but this is really a good thing, it seems a little outdated but the upside is we certainly don't have to be controlled by this. There's so much information out there. Just A little understanding and we can take back our power rather than blaming everything and not taking our own responsibility for obstacles that occur in our lives.
How many times have you heard your friends, family, colleagues or yourself say when something's gone wrong...
This always happens to me!
(I've said it countless times in the past... it all makes sense to me now)
A Case of Self-Sabotage
When I was younger I picked up classic behaviour of self sabotage. I didn't know it at the time, but an example for me is that I would leave my homework until the last minute – all the time. If I had prepared and studied and done my homework with plenty of time to spare and reflect and improve – then I would have done far better in school than I did. But what I was doing was sabotaging myself as a way to live up to the label that I was given, and I was completely oblivious. It all sprouted from the programming and beliefs from my environment that caused these labels to be imprinted onto my subconscious.
It was back during primary school at parents evening when my teacher told my parent, while I was present,
Stephen has so much potential... but he's always got his head in the clouds
Unknowingly this played on my mind throughout my teenage to adult life (and I am not surprised of my behaviour considering my secondary school reports also echoed the same). I took on this belief as if it was the ultimate truth, and pretty often I would hear it as if a subtle voice in the back of my head. Therefore, I always held myself back from success in order to prove this true.
I would always demonstrate that I was capable and talented, but when it would come to scoring the winning goal or crossing the finish line I would back away and somehow not bring my best game. This became a habit that did not serve me at all, and it ultimately caused me to struggle to get ahead.
If for example I am saying to someone 'I will get this project done' but my underlying beliefs are actually something like, 'It doesn't feel safe to get my work out there because people might criticize and judge me,' then my actions will be splintered into this sabotage behaviour that we are almost always unaware of. This is why I believe it is so important that we gain more awareness of who we are as individuals, as a whole, and how we operate.
Pumpkin in a Jar
What happened to me reminds me of something I heard once about pumpkins. Have you ever grown a pumpkin in a jar? Well, this is what happens...
If you germinate a pumpkin seed in a jar, it will begin to grow as normal but always and only within the constraints of the shape and size of the jar itself (we could call this 'our environment'). When it finally grows to its maximum size, you can break the glass that surrounds it (a bit like adulthood). But the pumpkin remains the shape of the jar (like our programming). It has literally been trained to become a mould of its environment.
Now with humans its a little different. Although we are like the pumpkins in that we have been shaped by our jars, we are fortunate because we can actually make our own choices and continue to grow, we do not have to remain like that forever. But through awareness and understanding we can train ourselves with our will-power, or probably easier still things like affirmations, meditation, EFT, Hypnosis or a coach. Whatever works for you, it's really just the empowerment of knowing that it is you that can take hold the reigns and you don't have to be constrained to that mould when life begins to demand more from you.
When we are given labels, usually from childhood, we don't have the mental equipment to analyse them, and so we just accept what we are told we are by our environment, and after all the years of everyone just expecting that this is how we're always going to be we grow a little older and one day realise that this is not who I want to be! This is not me!
The problem is that it has become so familiar to us that every time we go to step into the version of ourselves that we want to be, the vision of ourselves as we are used to does not match up and then of course we are met with uncomfortable resistance. Research shows that our subconscious minds are running the show about 95% of the time or more during our awake state so you can see how this could cause a little difficulty when trying to change our patterns and behaviours. We are sat in the drivers seat but we are asleep at the wheel.
Awareness of the Autopilot
This information can come as a bit of a ball-ache to begin with but really though, for me at least it's actually very enlightening to see how this behaviour can occur.
The autopilot that wants to protect our identity is very persistent – it really thinks it is doing a favour. You will have had some kind of experience in your life where your mind decided that it does not want to let this happen again, so it cleverly holds an inventory of anything and everything that reminds it of what it is seeing in the present to be aware of. Often what it is saying is 'hmm. there is a threat over there, proceed with caution!' But what we tend to hear is more like 'Argg! Get out! Run for your life!'
The autopilot can be a bit of a drama queen.
If you ever find that you are not succeeding or being as good as you know you are capable of being – then is it possible that it is maybe time to start getting honest with yourself? If an instantaneous YES flashed in your mind. Listen to it.
Don't let your limiting beliefs walk you safely to death. Learn who you really are and be that!
When I began to notice these repeating patterns in my life and began to understand a little about why, I had to ask myself, "How is this serving me?"
For example: Being late for a meeting or for work – I was amazed to find so many simple but obvious reasons for why I would keep doing this behaviour.
Here's a quick exercise to try:
Find your self a pen and paper and a quiet place and for just a few minutes ask yourself these simple questions, then write down a list of anything that comes to mind – anything and everything. Be honest with yourself. There could be a lot of little things that come up... and maybe even a big "Aha!" Whatever you get, when you gain those bits of understanding, you can so easily begin to notice patterns and shift these blocks to gain more power and understanding of yourself.
Write down your answers to the questions below:
I have this belief that _________________...
1. How is this belief serving me?
2. What is the upside to having this belief?
3. What is the downside to having this belief?
4. Who would I be without this behaviour?
5. what am I blocking myself from achieving by having these habits?
I am just sharing my thoughts as I am sure many people can relate in some form or another. I have found this exercise to be very powerful and insightful, I hope you do too. Thank you for reading blog No.1
Please feel free to comment if you've had a similar experience. If you have any advice on writing as this is new to me and I love to learn.
Steve Allen is an EFT International Accredited Certified EFT Practitioner based in Sheffield, England. He offers individual sessions in-person or via Skype, as well as coaching programs and group work. Steve continues to learn and discover new techniques and styles from a wide array of people and modalities, and integrates them into his EFT work. Contact Steve here or visit his EFT International profile.
Anne Wilson says
Thank you for writing this and for the truly amazing exercise. It was very powerful for me. And thank you for being so vulnerable and human and down to earth at the end of your article! I never would have guessed that you were new to writing. I think this is an exceptionally well-written article to be honest.