TL;DR: middle school trauma can stick with you for a loooooong time, and you might not even know it.
Unless you’re part of that absurdly small percent of the population who has perfect memory recall, odds are that a lot of your past has been forgotten – but not really.
Our subconscious minds are like the giant underbelly of an iceberg, with our conscious thoughts just the tip poking above the water. This is an analogy as old as Sigmund Freud, and it stands very true.
Subconscious beliefs act as a sort of computer programming running in the background of our minds, causing our personalities to be certain ways and influencing our emotional reactions to certain events or triggers. It’s crazy because we tend to live unaware and unbothered by our subconscious, but that often limits us severely.
Human beings have an amazing capability to actually be aware of their thoughts. We call this metacognition: literally thinking about your thoughts. Being aware of your awareness. Etc. It’s pretty trippy when you think about it, no pun intended.
Regardless, I want to talk about just how powerful our minds are at suppressing memories and wiring subconscious programming in an effort to protect us from repeating previous actions or beliefs that might’ve hurt our feelings in the past.
I’ve adopted a practice where if I notice I tend to have a negative gut reaction or limiting belief about something, I make a mental note of it and then meditate on it when I have the chance. I sit and quiet my mind and try to think where a certain belief or emotional response came from. What events in my life might have caused it? When’s the last time I can remember not having such a reaction/belief?
When I went about rebranding my Instagram and blog to a more spirituality-based focus, I was BEYOND hesitant. For a long time I’ve been in what many call ‘in the spiritual closet’. I actually got a nauseating pit in my stomach when I posted on my Instagram about my beliefs in manifestation and ‘witchy’ things as well as when I rewrote my website tagline and home/about pages. The concept of having my name so boldly and openly associated with a term such as ‘spiritual awakening’ set off a RED ALERT in my mind. But now I know why, so I know to observe those thoughts and let them pass through rather than letting them dictate my decisions.
Cutting to the chase of why it was so difficult for me: in middle school I had a difficult time with my self-esteem. That’s not atypical of a middle-schooler at all. However, I feel like I was a bit different in the fact that I had been very expressive about my beliefs in energy and my obsession with crystals since the fourth grade. I actually had a quartz crystal necklace that I wore every single day and called it my ‘energy guide’. Keep in mind I had absolutely no knowledge about the law of attraction or the concept of the Universe/spirituality. In fact, I didn’t know it at the time, but I used to do something that turns out was just me making chi balls for fun. How was I so drawn to the concept of energy without even knowing all of these terms that existed for what I was doing? I’ll talk about that in the future, I’m sure. 🙂
Regardless, when I went through the process of trying to ‘fit in’ with everyone else, I had to cut away the things I did that didn’t align with the majority of others. Sadly, this meant losing the big quartz necklace and the banter about energy and spirit guides. I read the Secret in sixth grade and it was like hitting the absolute jackpot in affirming what my soul knew was true, but unfortunately the appeal of increased popularity won me over, and I added manifestation to the list of things to shove into the dark corner of my mind.
Fast forward a bit, and my subconscious programming essentially wrote the code that talking about spirituality stuff = not having friends. Which is stupid and untrue. Middle school just sucks regardless of what you believe in at the time.
The most interesting thing about subconscious programming though is that once it becomes a part of who we are, we tend to forget about the events that caused it in the first place. We hide away those slightly traumatic memories because the survival instinct built into our brain wants to keep us happy. So I went through the rest of middle school and high school never really saying anything about spirituality again.
I won’t get into the story of how I gradually began getting back into manifestation, crystals, etc., but my passion grew so much that I just couldn’t understand why I never chose to speak up about it more on my blog.
Let me just say, meditation is a phenomenal way to take a look at your thoughts and figure out how you’re holding yourself back. If it weren’t for taking the time to question my beliefs, I’d never be writing this. And it feels so good to write this. I finally feel like the floodgates have opened and my creativity block has lifted because I can finally talk about the subjects I’m endlessly passionate about.
Needless to say, it’s still scary for me to speak up about some of the stuff I believe in. But ultimately I feel as if I’m on this Earth to talk about it and inspire others to deepen their beliefs as well.
So thanks for supporting me, even silently. It means the world.