Your Unconscious: A Reasonable, Albeit Fearful, Child

I promised to offer suggestions about dealing with your unconscious fears. Here’s a start:

When your unconscious sabotages your plans, it’s not intentional. Besides beating your heart and keeping you breathing, one of its primary jobs is to protect you from danger. The challenge is that your conscious and unconscious don’t always agree on what’s dangerous.

What helps is to have a conversation with your unconscious to see what it’s protecting you from and why, and negotiate a win/win instead of the current struggle.

Have a conversation with your unconscious right out loud. Go somewhere private (I do it in the car, where other folks just think I’m singing along with the radio, which, otherwise, I would be.) Explain to your unconscious that you understand its fear, that you recognize the potential pain and the difficult emotional work to be done. Explain the emotional value of your writing and why, emotionally, it’s worth the struggle. Assure your unconscious that you will proceed with caution where necessary, giving your emotions time to adapt. Acknowledge the unconscious fear you blurted out back when all this started. Give it credence, then negotiate a way to make progress.

When I have done this in the past, I have felt an almost physical click; seen what I can only call spectacular changes in my thinking and behavior. When your unconscious gets on board, when it feels safe to proceed, you will act. You can’t help yourself.

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