I’m doing some coaching work at the moment with www.sixminutestosuccess.com which is a website with a series of informational videos by Bob Proctor one of the world’s leading personal development coaches.
Yesterday I watched a particular video that really stuck with me. It was called the stick figure. Basically it’s the idea that our processes can be broken up into two circles, a large one on top of a smaller one connected by stick outlines. Much like a large head a top a small body. The “head” represents the mind and the “body”, the um, body.
Our mind is our thoughts and emotions and our body is our physical actions, the things we do and say and so forth.
The mind can further be broken in half horizontally into the conscious mind and the unconscious mind.
The conscious mind is in charge of thoughts. We can think anything we want. Alternatively we can not think anything we want. We are in complete control of the conscious mind. It is our awareness of the world going by and our reaction to it.
The unconscious mind is our emotional mind. Our unconscious mind is our internal response to the thoughts we are thinking. If your emotion is negative then the thought is something that we do not want to happen. If the emotion is positive then the thought is something we do want to have happen.
Emotions drive our actions. And our actions dictate our results.
The concept being taught is that our thoughts are the drivers of our results. Take control of your conscious mind and direct your thoughts to the results that you want.
It’s a nice simple idea for something that is so enormously complex.
For me the biggest paradigm shift was in accepting responsibility for my own feelings. I have always been an emotional person, and coming from a family where showing any emotion other than anger is a bad thing, I have always struggled to communicate. I feel things very intensely and often I’d have to remove myself, withdraw completely, from an interaction because I felt response was emotional. I could never get my head around how people went about their day to day lives without feeling … um, feelings. I resented anything and anyone who generated an emotional response from me because I felt vulnerable and helpless. My upbringing taught me not to trust anyone, and especially not to express emotion. I felt like a freak for having them and being unable to make them go away.
Of course I’m not more emotional or otherwise than other people. And the struggles I have are repeated throughout people everywhere. The only difference was that I felt I couldn’t express myself.
The way I overcame my reluctance to feel and interact was two fold. Firstly I learnt about my emotions. The fear of having them was so intimately entwined with their expression that I needed to learn what those emotions really were. Once I could name what I was feeling I felt far more strength. The second, and infinitely more difficult step was to learn to communicate. If I could communicate my feelings I could find resolution and release them. The amazing thing is without the power of baggage behind them it’s remarkable easy to deal with emotions in the moment.
I still struggle with trust and assertiveness in relationships. It’s a learning process and I can only keep practicing. The key for me is that I understand and accept that thoughts control my feelings. If I’m struggling with an emotion I can change my thoughts and that can change the emotion.
It’s a powerful feeling. I recommend it to everyone.