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- Mental Health Self-Help
De-Hypnotize Yourself from Childhood Authorities
On a You tube video a man is put under a trance and given a post-hypnotic suggestion that upon awakening from it he will feel an urge to take his shoes off and then put them back - but on the opposite feet.
And so the man does; and now, fully(?) awaken he is asked to look at the shoes of the audience sitting in the front row and to tell is he can see anything unusual there. "Yes" - he says - "all of these people got their shoes on their wrong feet. Hey, guys, don't you feel uncomfortable like that?!"
How many of us happen to go through life having thoughts, emotional reactions, and doing things that are unnatural to us - but we still keep doing them, as if possessed by some volition that we can't resist?
Selling Ourselves Short - where Did It Start?
In another experiment aquarium is divided in the middle by a transparent sheet of glass - on one side a hungry and greedy pike is placed, and on the other side a few minnows, a typical pike food.
Immediately after, the big fish starts charging towards the minnows, repeatedly hitting its nose against the glass. It goes like that for a while, until at one point the pike obviously loses any interest for that unavailable food. Then the glass barrier gets removed from the middle, and now the pike is swimming peacefully side by side with the minnows.
How many of us, with a confidence crippled in our childhood by those constant prohibitive and criticizing remarks - later on in life, when "glass was removed" kept sabotaging ourselves, as if not daring to go against those limiting expectations from that authority within? You know which ones I mean : "No, you can't...!, you should never...!, how could you...?!, you should be ashamed of yourself...!", and alike.
How to Break that Imaginary Chain?
In this last to be mentioned example with similar effects, a young elephant is tied by chain to a strong pole, which later on in his adulthood gets replaced by a weak rope tied to an ordinary stick.
But, conditioned to being unable to move away from "something" that he is tied to, the huge and powerful animal doesn't register the difference between a chain and a rope, or a pole and a stick. He associates one with another and that's enough to make him stay put.
What associations with those memories of childhood are making us "stay put" while we would rather go and "conquer the world"? What's keeping us from breaking loose and using the best of our potential? Is there a way to de-hypnotize ourselves from that inner phantom of authority and reclaim our personal sovereignty?
So much Help Available out There
Sometimes years are spent on the couch of an analyst in vain, as that inner grip on our freedom may even get worse thorough all that repetitive irritating the old emotional wounds.
Yet others may be convinced that there is a "chemical imbalance in their brain", or they even learn the names of those "feel-good" neurotransmitters, like serotonin, dopamine, endorphin, and GABA - now "knowledgeable" about the reasons why they can't get ahead in life.
While there could actually be a lack of some of those fancy stuff in their brain - it's probably only the effect, not the cause of their limitations. Namely, our mindset with its beliefs and attitudes is the one telling the brain what dominant emotions to produce with those brain chemicals - not the other way around.
However, nothing on the culture market beats the available sources of self-help modalities and tools, like CD's, pep-seminars, promising books, and even a guru makes a buck by telling you how to chant yourself into an enlightenment - giving you a flower on your way out, just like the good doctor's receptionist used to give you a lollipop.
Remember The Beatles' Song "All You Need Is Love"?
The crux of the issue never gets really addressed - and it's all about an emotional starvation for love. Over all those young years we got conditioned to accept as true all that criticism, unconsciously cursing ourselves for our being "obviously so bad" that we don't deserve love of those on whom our very survival depended.
That inner beating on ourselves stayed on with us like a shadow that we could not shake off. Then, in an attempt to do something about it, if we ever got to that stage of wanting to - we relied on someone on the outside to give us something that we had been depriving ourselves of. Many may cash-in during that process, while we are bound to drift from one promising vitamin to another, from one therapeutic modality to the next.
The solution, however, is at the same place where the very issue started - in our unwillingness to replace all that inner self-tormenting with love. Not the one of a narcissistic, egocentric kind, but that gentle, appreciative, respectful, accepting, and tolerant self-love.
The kind of love that our very cells are thriving on while providing the spark of life in us. What others give you, it can always be taken away from you, so you need to give yourself that love, not depending on anyone else.
A Little Word of Caution
Beware of some other, not really wanted emotions that may well up as a side effect of that new love for yourself. Namely, now that you have embraced that child in yourself, you may go over-protective and start resenting everyone and anyone in your present life that associatively reminds you of your childhood primary caretakers, those authorities who made you create an inadequate self-image.
Could it be your boss with his remarks about your efficiency? Is it your spouse that's giving you a pitiful smile every time you do something in a clumsy way? Or maybe some of those friends that can't stop patronizing you and "teaching " you stuff?
Indeed, for a while, it may seem like the whole world has been conspiring against you, once that you start feeling good about yourself and see them as being non-supportive with your new self-image.
Don't take that emotional road. You see, once when that love starts being the name of the game, that's all the protection your inner child may need. You don't need any "closure" for injustices done to you, just your own love. Not your doctor's, your shrink's, your guru's. Not even your family's, as they will all start loving you so much more when you love yourself.
Beyond "Mirror, Mirror on the Wall"
So, how do you go about loving yourself more? There are two simple tricks that will increasingly feel very convincing to your heart. For the first one you will need your bathroom mirror. Why bathroom? Because you'll need to be alone while doing it. Besides, bathroom is that most private place in the house, as if reserved for something intimately secret.
Now, standing as close to that mirror as possible, slowly repeat to your image "I love you". Do it whispering, so to make sure that no one else can hear it. You need to know what to expect, and you can be sure that at first it's going to sound very untrue. It's natural, because that authority in you will reject the idea of your loving "that undeserving, no good creature" in the mirror. But that's the very reason why you have to persist. Do it preferably in the morning upon arising, and at bed time, coinciding with your bathroom routines. Do it every day, it doesn't take any effort. See how life gradually changes for better, just because of those short intimate moments of your expressing love to yourself.
Making Deliberate Mistakes
With the second trick, you will be making some small deliberate mistakes at home and delay fixing them - something like dropping a pen on the floor and not picking it up for a while, that sort of things.
Be creative, think of anything that you would "normally" correct immediately - and don't do it. Of course, it will be so much easier if there is a time during your day when you can be alone. It has to be something that others will not notice, only you, because if they bring it to your attention, you'll have to explain why you are doing it - or risk getting another of those pitiful smiles for your "clumsiness".
If at no other time, do it in the bathroom, drop your robe on the floor as soon as you step in and let it stay there while you are taking your bath. Well, think of something, it's even supposed to be a fun.
So, what gets to be accomplished by doing it? That voice of authority in you will scream its lungs out observing your deliberate mistakes - and you will be nonchalantly ignoring it. That little act may have an enormous therapeutic effect, as you are awakening new decision-maker in the hierarchy of your mental forces - your free conscious choice.
The one that makes your actions results of what you "want", not what you "have to". They might as well overlap, but the feeling behind it will be totally different. Your deliberate mistakes will make sure that the authority in you shuts up as "no one is listening", and a brand new sense of freedom will be born.
Freedom, my friends, is one of the most divine and enlightening feelings that we could possibly experience. Coupled with a sensible intent, that feeling can take us places where we never dared to go before, while we carried around our inner authority, our tormentor.