The other day, I was reading over old journal entries and I came upon one where I talked about discovering that I’d lived a lot of my life feeling comfort in unhappiness.
I remember around the time this was. I’d just read an article about how we subconsciously prefer to live in our programmed states (i.e. unhappiness) because it feels comfortable, cosy if you will, to the nervous system. I’d found this rather profound. So much so that it was a catalyst to choosing the relationship I am currently in.
See, previously, I’d grown super comfortable in unfulfilling relationships. You know, the classic, girl is into the guy who isn’t treating her so right scenario. And yet, of course, I didn’t know this at the time. I just felt like those I wanted to be in partnership with were always too good for me, and that if only I could be a bit better—whatever that meant—then I’d one day be in the relationship of my dreams.
And all those I came across along the way who were available and wonderful? I nitpicked to the point where I didn’t give them half a chance. Subconsciously, I was thinking something along the lines of, “If they’re into me, there must be something wrong with them.”
It’s sad, really. And more sad is the fact that this is extremely common.
On one level, many of us want to be in a relationship, and then, on a much deeper level, we, when it comes right down to it, don’t.
So how do we make the change so that we quit self-sabotaging and get our subconscious on board?
I’m a big fan of meditation, and deep visualization at that. It can be profound when it comes to working with the subconscious. But for the sake of accessibility, it’s important to me I share that this didn’t require that.
Rather, it took action on this material plane that made the biggest difference for me. In the holistic world these days, the messaging is that if you don’t do the deep subconscious work, you will fall into old patterns. And while that is often true, what we can forget is that the subconscious work doesn’t always have to look the way it’s currently being portrayed. Nor does it have to come first.
If we have a level of awareness of our programming, and the desired result we are looking for (i.e. I am avoidant, but I would like to have a partner) and we can commit to making ourselves a little uncomfortable, we can create big change—in our lives, and in our patterns of thinking and being.
To be even more clear, let me share this example relating to my story started above. I noticed that when I would begin to receive more attention than I was used to, I was put off. I felt like I no longer wanted to communicate all that much, and I was losing interest. There was no “scarcity” factor, and my warped programming wanted scarcity because that—that feeling like I may lose the person any moment—was what I was used to, where I felt oddly safe.
In noticing this, I had serious cognitive dissonance because, at the very same time, I recognized that this person was special. I wanted to be excited about him, to enjoy his company. And so I was irritated with myself and a bit scared of how my programming may “make” me act, how it may “make” me push away someone I didn’t truly want to.
And so I challenged myself not to run away. But rather to think of how I’d feel if he did. It was a bit of a trick I had to play with my mind for a little while. It was like I was working with its warped nature, telling it what it needed to hear to continue to have desire. To my surprise, this game worked. And better yet, within a few weeks, I didn’t have to play any odd tricks with myself anymore—the feeling of being put off dissolved entirely and I was left with pure desire for, perhaps the first time ever, a healthy someone who wanted me, too.
What I posit happened there is my actions paved the way for eventual reprogramming. When the cognitive dissonance “dissolved,” the reprogramming had been done.
I share this as I know a lot of people who find all this talk these days about meditation, hypnosis, and neural reprogramming at large to be intimidating. A lot of people find they can’t even meditate for five minutes, and so all of that is completely inaccessible to them. But the truth is that it doesn’t have to be. If you’re more comfortable working with your actions on this plane, then lead with that.
Taking action is so powerful, and, in fact, no matter how much meditation and hypnosis we do, if we do not take action in conjunction with the metaphysical work, we will not see change in our lives.
Whether you are looking to call in a relationship, or anything else, here are some grounded steps you can take to begin to make change.
1. Write out exactly what you want in clear detail.
2. Write out where you’re currently at with respect to this desire—i.e. single or in a job that’s misaligned.
3. Go back to number one and imagine what it would be like if you achieved that. Does any fear or discomfort come up? Journal out what does.
4. Write down 1-3 steps you could take toward bringing this desire into your life—i.e. looking for another job, creating a website for your entrepreneurial venture, creating a dating app profile.
5. Commit to taking action on one of these steps in the next 48 hours.
6. When the fear comes up, journal it out, but do not back down.
7. Commit to living in discomfort, knowing that where there’s fear lies a secret message from your soul.
(And knowing, too, that you can up your self-care to make it through this time without overloading your nervous system. Slow but steady.)
8. Check in with yourself often. Make it a Sunday ritual, for example, to see how it feels to live in deeper alignment, in spite of the fear that is cropping up.
And as you do this, know that you are making subconscious change, too, toward a healthier, more deeply fulfilled you.