The Internal Tug of War

When we have learnt a bad habit, or have developed a fear of something or a certain situation, then our emotions override our rational minds and we end up acting in a way we often know is not logical or good for us.

So the smoker smokes even though he knows full well the health impact of cigarettes, and the Phobic sweats and panics at the sight of a mouse or prospect of getting on an aeroplane.

No amount of rationalisation in these situations will ever make it any better. On my part, I have had a life-long fear of dogs. No amount of owners saying, “He is very friendly!”, or the very helpful “Don’t show him your fear!”, has ever helped in over 40 years. This fear is not really debilitating for me, but I may get a colleague to deal with it soon, for my own satisfaction.

This internal conflict is like a tug of war. Your emotional side, your subconscious, is pulling on one end of the rope and your logical mind is pulling on the other. The problem is that your subconscious never sleeps or rests and is always working to “protect” you. It will make you feel anything it needs to, in order to ensure you continue to behave in the way you or circumstance taught it to recognize as “normal” or “desirable”. On the other hand, your conscious mind needs to rest and can only use discipline and willpower as its weapons in this fight weapons that make you feel tired and as though you are depriving yourself. Who wants that? No one! Especially not forever.

This is why so many smokers tell me, “I enjoy smoking”. Their subconscious delivers all the positive feelings to ensure they carry on. No one really believes, logically, that smoking is a pleasure, but to a smoker it really is, as their subconscious overrides any negative physical reaction and delivers the “feel-good” stuff needed to reward this behaviour. When they quit with willpower their subconscious makes them feel awful until they return to the “desirable” behaviour.

It is doing this because it was taught, through emotion, “smoking is good”, when you first picked up a cigarette. All the reasons behind that first smoke are emotional: to fit in, to get a girl, to feel grown up, etc.  The subconscious cannot understand any logical argument against this, and so has never changed its opinion.  The smoker will continue to smoke for exactly the same reason as what started them all that time ago.

With fears, on the other hand, your subconscious is making you feel awful. It does this so you don’t or can’t do the thing that made you feel bad or threatened sometime in the past. The more you face that fear, the more your subconscious will make you feel worse. After all, what it did before didn’t stop you getting on the plane, so it must try something worse… and worse, and worse, until you can’t fly anymore.

This is why willpower is a terrible way to give up a bad habit, why “facing” fears does not work and quitting  smoking is considered hard.

It is also why we justify buying things we don’t need or can’t afford, when the real reason we shell out £400-500 for the latest Apple iPad or pair of shoes is that we WANT IT. Deep down in our subconscious we have made an emotional connection and now we will justify this any way we can to make sure we get it.

The good news is that these vicious circles can be broken by re-educating your subconscious, with hypnosis and the emotional freedom technique. You can get your internal desires in harmony with your logical personal goals. Once your subconscious wants you not to smoke, then you will not only stop instantly but will suffer virtually no withdrawal at all. Once your subconscious realises mice and aeroplanes are safe, then you will get no fear reactions at all. Once your subconscious wants you to be secure in the future financially, then purchases become controlled.

The surprising thing about these treatments is that they can be fast and effective even for longterm problems. So it really can be worth speaking with a hypnotherapist about what you want to change. After all what do you have to lose?

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