Pop Psychoanalysis ...
I often come across articles which present some very interesting psychoanalytic ideas in an easy to understand way.
So called 'pop psychology' is interesting and engaging but needs to be treated with the care and consideration - try not to get too overly involved in overthinking any 'results' from these 'personality tests'.
Just enjoy the experience and possibly reflect upon the results.
So look at the picture below and make a note of the first thing you notice in the picture...
Here we go ...
What's the first thing you see?
What is the hidden fear of your subconscious mind?
That's what the first image you see is supposed to represent.
This video offers some suggestions...
1. Caterpillar. Seeing the Caterpillar first means you may have the subconscious fear of spirits, ghosts, or you might be really afraid of falling asleep after you watch a scary movie. If you have experienced paralysis before, you may still be afraid of going through it again.
2. Butterfly. If you see the butterfly first, it means that subconsciously you are afraid of a betrayal. Maybe, this is due to your previous experiences of being cheated or back-stabbed by a friend or someone you loved, and no matter how much you try the fear still comes out.
3. Knife. If it is the knife that you see first, you may have a subconscious fear of getting a terminal illness. You may be afraid of suffering or may worry about dying any time.
4. Apple. Seeing the apple first is a striking one because it means you may have a subconscious fear of death, not your own death, but that of your loved ones. You may have experienced the same thing before and going through it all over again may be too much for you.
Truth - A Matter of Perspective?
"Truth, like knowledge, is surprisingly difficult to define. We seem to rely on it almost every moment of every day and it's very "close" to us. Yet it's difficult to define because as soon as you think you have it pinned down, some case or counterexample immediately shows deficiencies. Ironically, every definition of truth that philosophers have developed falls prey to the question, "Is it true?" - Philosophy News
Epsitemology – A great word isn’t it.
Epsitemology is the philosophical study which asks ‘how do we know what we know’?
It’s great question, isn’t it?
How do we know what we know?
How do we know what we know is truth?
I like to link this question to the provocative statement “most people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices’.
Challenging thought hey?
But one that, if you’re still reading this piece, is well worth reflecting upon.
There is something to be said for the idea that ‘knowledge is constructed’ and this of course begs the question on ‘how’ that happens.
Without seeking to turn this into an essay on cognitive psychology, it is generally thought by those working in the field, that our brains re-wire as we learn new things and what we learn, or at least pay attention to, is linked to emotions, pre-existing beliefs, attitudes and memories - all of which suggests that once we think we ‘know’ something, it’s not that easy to let go of.
Hence, we have a series of pre-conceived notions, beliefs and biases.
'Conformation bias’ is the tendency to look for evidence to support existing beliefs and knowledge which confirms what we already believe and know.
The point is that all human beings have the tendency to think they are thinking when they are seeking to confirm personal truths.
Scientists, Researchers, Philosophers, Mystics, Educators, Learners – no one is immune.
Which, brings me to the point.
To ‘know something’ is quite a personal thing.
Your knowing is the sum total of your experiences, memories, beliefs and attitudes. It is yours to do what you will with...
Your knowledge can become your dogma; your message to the world and will of course, inform your behaviours and attitudes towards others and other ideas.
Your knowledge can also form the basis for further questions and explanations.
All of which begs the question that when we read from “any source” that something is PROVEN or FACT how should we respond?
The words proven and fact seem to deny the possibility of challenge – the possibility for question.
Just whose fact or whose proof is being referred to?
There is a very real sense in which all proofs and facts are dependent on context and perspective.
If you’re still reading, then you might like to challenge something that in maths we all learned. The internal angles of a triangle add-up to 180 degrees.
Ah, memories of Pythagoras and the “sum of the squares”.
BUT that ‘truth’ and all of the geometric ‘proofs’ of that truth are only relevant to non-curved space.
Off the paper, and when applied to curved surfaces, a triangle’s internal angles can be greater (and possibly less than) 180 degrees.
So, all claims for ‘truth’ or ‘proof’ that are made to convince us of a particular body of knowledge can be considered tentative at best.
Tomorrow new ideas may require us to redefine what we think we know and, as we have suggested, the human brain (and condition) is sometimes reluctant to let go of old concepts upon which beliefs and values are based.
We see around us the results of unbalanced thinking, prejudice and an inability to shift perspective.
From the Facebook-Timeline statements of PROOF or KNOWLEDGE to the unsolicited emails we receive in our ‘demographically targeted’ inbox which start with statements like - proven fact, new research proves – are examples of the ‘believe me I’m right’ mentality, rather than the ‘this is interesting, what do you think’ questioning approach.
Here are some ‘headlines’ received in my mailboxes in recent weeks ...
“Scientists have now proven the existence of ESP”
“Quantum Physics proves the existence of God”
“A xxxxx diet has been proven to cure Cancer”
“It has been proven that you can reprogram your DNA through meditation”
“It has been proven that xxxxx treatment/ drug is causing xxxxx disorder”
Each of which may well reflect the current state of thinking, research, findings – or may simply represent the snippet of information someone has pre-selected (unconsciously and consciously) to support their lifestyle, belief, attitude, value – or prejudice.
When such ‘facts’ are presented without thought as a broad generalisation then we can never be sure about how the that information will be interpreted or understood by others.
True, we cannot take responsibility for what people do with what we share with them, but we can take responsibility for HOW we share information.
We can invite others to think, but often such headlines are presented with a ‘see I told you so’ attitude or ‘I was right all along’.
Both of which stifle questioning and close-down discussion.
Both of which can result in the feeling of emotional attack (bullying) or being controlled – especially of the recipient of the information is in a fragile emotional place.
Your truth is your truth, and nowhere more relevantly within the realm of your personal personal and transpersonal experiences.
Enjoy them, own them and be liberated by them – create meaning from them and with them.
Share them as stories, possibilities, provocations and inspirations
Pronounce them as absolute, ‘factual’ or ‘proven’ then perhaps you’re on the path towards dogmatism and fundamentalism.
No they don't !!!!!
Ostriches don't bury their heads in the sand—they wouldn't be able to breathe! But they do dig holes in the dirt to use as nests for their eggs. Several times a day, a bird puts her head in the hole and turns the eggs. So it really does look like the birds are burying their heads in the sand!
So that's clear - they don't bury their heads in the sand!
However, it seems that Humans Do - and it's not just about prevarication, it's about ... well you tell me?
Burying one's head in the sand, is the metaphor we use to describe a behaviour that is, in effect, refusing to consider change or refusing to consider a particular situation.
If I can't see, it doesn't exist!
Well that seems to be the reasoning.
A study published in the Social and Personality Psychology Compass Journal (2013) suggests that people are actively motivated to avoid information.
The studies author Dr Thomas Webb from Sheffield University said:
"The ostrich problem is the idea that there are times when people would rather not know how they're doing."
'Avoiding monitoring may allow people to escape from negative feelings associated with an accurate appraisal of progress.
'For example, people might not want to know how much money they have spent or what their partner thinks of their social skills."
He called this behaviour 'motivated inattention.'
In NLP there is a presupposition that EVERY behaviour has a positive intent for the individual, and it according to Dr Webb 'motivated inattention' is a way to avoid negative feelings, often of guilt, which accompany being presented with reality.
'The ostrich problem is the idea that there are times when people would rather not know how they're doing. Avoiding monitoring may allow people to escape from negative feelings associated with an accurate appraisal of progress.'
In a previous study (2012) it was noted that...
...only 10 per cent of people who worry about their finances daily check their bank balance at least once a month.
...there was a high incidence of people with diabetes avoiding monitoring their blood glucose.
The notion that 'ignorance is bliss' is perhaps, in our terms, a limiting belief system. After all, if you are not willing to look at the patterns of change around you or a situation which needs a difficult decision, then you are not really taking an active part in your own life.
Susan Davids book, Emotional Agility, Embrace Change and Thrive in Work and Life, makes a related point about positive thinking. She suggests that positive thinking could be just another way of 'burying your head in the sand'.
As I explore in my forthcoming book, The Secret to Your Future History, affirmations and positivity can be 'plasters' and not solutions to any personal situation.
Susan David talks about a 'positive thinking rut' which can actually stop us looking at the nature of change around us, and stop us from 'taking control' and 'making active choices' in our own lives.
So if you are in danger of being that 'Ostrich' here's some tips...
a) LOOK at your emotions and consider those that you resist looking at. Your emotions are important, how you manage them especially so. Learn to be present and notice what is happening around you.
b) STAND BACK, try to take a 3rd Person look at what is going on around you. Be an observer of your situation and reactions. Notice any repeating patterns, any less than useful behaviours.
c) REFLECT upon the bigger picture of your goals, dreams and ambitions. Having a broader perspective may actually help you frame more empowering choices.
d) ACT, make some clear choices, take some considered action in order to put yourself in the driving seat of your own life. In some ways there are choices you can make about whether you are always being tossed around on the stormy seas of life , or whether you are sailing towards a calmer harbour.
You've set your targets, outlined a course of actions and ....
You're no closer to your dreams and goals - you feel trapped.
Chances are that you have gotten in the way of your own success. You have been the shadow looming over your own path. You have locked yourself in your own bubble of ideas - but there has been no movement
So, how do you get out of your own way?
Well perhaps we can look at this from three key perspectives.
1) Your beliefs
Believing in your own capabilities to achieve the goal you have set yourself is sometimes not as easy as you think it is.
We all have a personal history which manifests as the stories we tell ourselves about who we are and what we deserve. These stories may create judgements, resentments, expectations, fears and beliefs about what should and shouldn't happen for us.
Some of these stories will be reflected in our own self-talk, that inner dialogue which can bring you down as much as it can build you up. The 'nagging-self-doubt' as so wonderfully displayed in a UK TV advert, (Swinton Insurance)
There is a need to challenge outmoded beliefs systems, to liberate yourself for limiting behaviours and habits. Often a new goal requires some kind of change and you may well resist at some deep level that change.
Take time to become fully aware of the inner-you that involves itself with these stories and limiting beliefs. Explore them and perhaps their origin, but more importantly their current relevance. Are those things you believed about yourself as a child still relevant to you as an adult?
2) Your motivations
Is your goal or dream something you really want, or a fluffy distraction which is not really a fully formed plan?
Is it yet another thing to beat yourself up about?
If your dream or goal is congruent with who you want to become and in line with your values, then you are more likely to commit to it.
Know what it is you are aiming for; identify the steps you need to take then dare to take them ... one at a time. As mentioned in an early post, give up any pretence of perfection. The idea that something will come out perfectly first time is a fantasy. Perfection, if it exists, is a journey of improvement, development and fine tuning.
Motivation not only requires the fuel of belief and the mindset of achievement but the willingness to move forward. Take the first step, tentatively if you must, but take some action. Thoughts about taking action simply aren't going to cut it.
3) Your Future Self
This is perhaps, a key idea.
As you start your path towards your dream or goal you are YOU NOW.
The you that YOU WILL BECOME, is waiting in the wings to make their entrance.
Any dream or goal will require YOU to change aspects of YOU, and whilst you may recognise that the only constant in the Universe is Change, the you that is now may be unsure of the you that is 'becoming'. After all you are attached to you aren't you?
If you have carefully considered the effects of achieving any goal or dream then, it may be far easier to welcome the YOU TO BE into your life.
The tension between the YOU NOW and the YOU TO BE can translate into prevarication, uncertainty and even fear of success,
In reality you are always changing. Every moment of your life your are exposed to new learning, new thoughts, new situations. Being 'stuck in the past' often means that you miss these "possible moments of evolution" and only recognise change when it 'bites you on the bum'
If you would like to register for a FREE NO OBLIGATION conversation to explore how Coaching would help you Get Out of Your Own Way then simply use the link below to request a date and time...
Words express our thoughts. Thoughts shape our feelings. Feelings influence our perceptions. Perception becomes our truth.
We all respond to the world in different ways, we have a particular mindset, attitude and response to what life presents.
The simplistic duality of whether you are a glass half-full or a glass half-empty person lacks a degree of subtlety and texture as well as implying something that is fixed.
If you are looking to make changes in your life, then there is the need to honour the fact that you can break away from past 'programming' and 'limiting beliefs'.
The following may help you engage in breaking away from your past stories.
1) LOOK carefully at the words you use.
Words like can't, must, should, ought are words of limitation. They hint at experiences in the past where your dreams and ambitions may not have been given the support they needed. Meanwhile the 'command' words (must, should, ought) suggest that some behaviour is being demanded rather than encouraged.
The magic word 'yet' will help you break away from 'can't' ...
"I can't do that ... YET' implies a possibility and may well encourage the empowering question 'HOW could I do it?'
In terms of the 'command words' question the source of the command.
Who is saying you 'must'. 'should', 'ought'?
Are these your words, or do they come from your past; the control of a parent or ex-partner?
Try using 'could', 'might' or 'may' words which imply a choice rather than an order.
2) REVIEW your self-talk
How do you talk to yourself?
Would you talk to others in the way you spoke to yourself?
Our self-talk is often the ever present commentator on our experiences.
It can be the voice of doubt as well as the voice of encouragement. The point is to give yourself a GOOD talking to.
For every doubting, limiting thought find two positive counter thoughts.
3) ACKNOWLEDGE your feelings
Which comes first the thought or the feeling?
This is an interesting question for self-reflection. Do you have an internal sensation (feeling) and recognise it before you 'name' it or do you 'name' it before you 'feel' it.
Finding an unequivocal answer is not the point, the question is the point.
Research as shown that writing your thoughts, feelings down is better than simply talking about them. Getting them 'out' of your head is better than burying them.
4) ATTENTION is driven by unconscious processes
Where we place our attention is not always within our conscious control, in fact it could be argued that it is 'rarely' within our conscious control unless we practice certain forms of meditation or mindfulness.
Changing our underlying 'filters' for attention can actually change the way we perceive the world. This is not as difficult as it sounds, but it does require the ability to challenge your thinking about situations and people.
Stoic philosophy suggests that an event is just an event - it is the individual that gives it meaning or value.
So reflect upon where your attention is directed and how events are given meaning by your mind (the thoughts and feelings).
5) TRUTH is personally defined
If you can accept the idea that 'truth' is a set of beliefs and perceptions, then you may come to realise that truth is not fixed. It is a moveable quality based upon opinion, belief and perceptions.
Think of 'truth' as an 'idea' - it can be easy to change an idea through learning, reflection and research.
Which of your 'truths' are actually beliefs?
The great thing about beliefs is that you can, if you choose, question where they came from and how they serve you.
Dr Alan B JOnes
Director Inspire NLP