I asked a friend of mine over email today if there was a subconscious place in her that believes (one thing or another) and that holds her back from achieving or manifesting what it is she truly desires. It’s funny how particular people in our lives can shed light on things in very particular ways some times.
That question to her lingered in my mind when I pressed send, and I realized that I’ve arrived at a different place with such questions. I used to hear them with a should in them. Like I should be able to go, “Oh, it’s my subconscious, and this is why, and now I get it.” I used to hear it like someone saying, it’s easy to change the subconscious once you become conscious of it. That awareness (not time?) can heal all wounds.
When I ask this question to myself (what subconscious beliefs am I holding on to that are sabotaging my life?), I now simply remove the expectation that it is easy to change these subconscious beliefs.
There are those with mental illnesses who are unable to become aware of such subconscious beliefs, and there are those who are able. I think what defines a mental illness is that in either case, these core beliefs have such adverse affects on our lives that they are significantly and chronically compromised; and changing these core beliefs is a miraculous and sometimes impossible feat.
It’s not a case of choosing to focus on the negative, or a lack of self-discipline, or a resistance to change; it’s a chronic mental-emotional condition with grave effects on a person’s life.
I’m not saying it’s not possible to change on this level — every person’s journey is unique, and good psychotherapists are out there (even if there’s no funding for them here in BC). I’m just saying that it isn’t as easy as pop psychology / new age self-help philosophies seem to claim. We cannot simply ‘choose to be happy.’ We can respond to the intensity and the range of emotion with as much compassion and understanding as possible, continue to learn from it as much as possible, and live our lives accordingly to the time, space and energy this requires. We can stop trying to fit in with the status quo who do not understand this reality. We live on a deeper level of challenge and humility that is, as I have so often said on here, as much a blessing as a curse. If, in this society, I must be labeled as disabled in order to live the lifestyle that allows me to be at all functional, then a) that says something about this society, and b) so be it. Call it whatever you want to call it.
While it may be nearly impossible to change them, it is still worth trying, and continuing to strive for at least a greater degree of understanding that allows us to be compassionate towards ourselves and others, and make healthy decisions for all involved.
When I spoke the question to another, I realized that I spoke it with this new understanding. I did not mean to come across as if it were easy to change the self-saboteur, but to convey and encourage curiosity and compassion for this human condition that affects all of us to various degrees.
Thanks L 🙂
- the gift and the curse (heartjunky.wordpress.com)
- government-funded mental health care for BPD in bc, canada (heartjunky.wordpress.com)
- Physical Illness vs Mental Illness (liftingtheclouds.wordpress.com)
- Mental Illness is just that. Illness. (exhilarationdefined.wordpress.com)
- Ontario to review how police respond to the mentally ill (recoverynetworktoronto.wordpress.com)
- I Don’t Believe in Mental Illness, Do You? (madinamerica.com)
- Mocking mental illness is no joke (thegazette.com)