Our mind’s number one job is to keep us alive on the planet and it does this be either moving us towards pleasure (safety, comfort, acceptance) and away from pain (danger, discomfort, rejection). Every single action we take is influenced by this connection to pleasure or pain. And the only way our mind knows what causes us pleasure or pain is based on what we tell it – the stories, beliefs and programs we have installed in our subconscious in order to make sense of the world.
Our subconscious mind is the vault for all of our memories and experiences. Everything we have ever seen, heard, done, thought or felt sits in our subconscious. It is also our navigation system and the blueprint on which all of our behaviours, habits, actions and decisions are based.
Whenever we experience pleasure, our mind stores the cause of that pleasure, and reminds us of it the next time we need to make ourselves feel better. Take for example, the fresh baked cookies that we used to make with grandma, or the enormous ice-cream sundaes we were only ever allowed to have on family holidays. This gets imprinted in the pleasure receptor of our brain and the next time we feel physically or emotionally hurt, we turn to cookies or ice-cream for comfort.
Similarly, when we experience pain (physical or emotional) this goes into the pain receptor, and the next time we are faced with a similar situation, the mind will do everything in its power to prevent us from repeating the experience. Take for example, having to do a class presentation at school and everybody laughs at how we couldn’t get the words out or kept making mistakes. Then years later we are asked to do a presentation at work and are completely overcome with the terror of public speaking. So we choose not to do the presentation and remain stuck in a lower level job where there is no risk of being negatively judged.
Unfortunately, our pain receptor is more powerful than our pleasure receptor. The mind is hardwired to steer us away from pain because for so many years this was how we survived. Avoidance of pain (danger) was, and remains our primary instinct. This explains why negative experiences can have such a profound impact on our behaviour.
The subconscious mind is constantly processing the information we take in and sensing for pleasure or pain. It then communicates back to the conscious mind to take action based on what it observes. However, it is this very feedback loop that can be our greatest roadblock to personal success. Our memories and experiences, and the beliefs that we attach to them aren’t always accurate, and are most often outdated. And unlike our technology – phones, laptops etc. we very rarely think about upgrading the internal operating system that is our mind. So we continue to make decisions and take action based on old, redundant information.
The reality is that we are likely to have many more positive experiences in life than negative. If we were to write our true and complete life story it would include thousands of joyful, happy memories. However, we are so focused on negative experiences (in an effort to avoid repeating them) that the story we tell and ’sell’ ourselves is a work of fiction and not fact. And while this may keep up us safe in the short term, it comes at an enormous cost to our potential for growth and freedom.
But…the great thing about the subconscious is that NONE of the files are ‘read-only’. We have the opportunity to change the meaning we attach to our memories and experiences, to create better thoughts and therefore better experiences. To do this we need to challenge our story, programs and beliefs, and consciously choose what we link pleasure and pain to.
If there is something in our lives that we really want and haven’t been able to achieve, it’s safe to assume that there is a part of us that links pain to the goal. So we have to tell our minds new and better stories to get what we want. We need to focus on how good it would feel to achieve our goals, instead of fearing the process of getting there. Once we remove the fear, we take ‘pain’ out of the drivers seat, and give ourselves the freedom and permission to create the life we want.
RTT hypnotherapy is an amazing technique to help us understand our personal pleasure/pain cycle and remove the roadblocks that are holding us back. It brings a deeper understanding of limiting beliefs and offers effective tools and techniques to clear them out. RTT is a truly transformative hypnotherapy experience.