SIZE AND CONTENTS OF THE UNCONSCIOUS

The following excerpt is from the self help
psychology book, Be Your Own Therapist.


If I asked people to consider the size of their unconscious minds and demanded they select from (pea-sized / melon-sized / Montana-sized), most would pick pea-sized or melon-sized. Historically, the unconscious was considered just a small part of us with a few repressed memories and traumas, perhaps pea-sized. In recent years, with the increased study of dreams, images, consciousness and more acceptance of such things as ESP (about half our population now believes in ESP), the role of the unconscious is now often believed to at least rival that of the conscious mind. While there is no so-called scientific proof for my belief, it seems clear to me that my unconsious is so much more powerful and knowing than my conscious mind that I would pick Montana-sized. If your unconscious is as big as Montana, then think of its vast potential! This allows for the possibility that your entire self (including whatever one might consider as a Higher Power a la 12-Step Programs) is completely in charge of your life. Your Montana-sized unconscious would obviously intermingle with others' Montana-sized selves. Such mingling of unconscious fields has obvious similarities to the collective-unconscious idea that was postulated by one of psychology's pioneers, Carl Jung.


Nothing is miserable but what is thought so, and contrarywise, every estate is happy if he that bears it be content... Boethius 500 A.D.

More important than your thoughts about the size of your unconscious are your thoughts about its contents. Historically, it has been popular to believe in a dark, evil, dangerous unconscious that needed strict controls to avoid disaster. What a damaging belief to have about the unconscious mind! It is not a happy life being unable to trust the unknown parts of oneself and having to distrust impulses and dreams (the fountainheads of much that is grand and wonderful about us). Yes, there may be some traumatic memories contained in the unconscious, but to my thinking they are a small price to pay for creativity, play, joy, spontaneity, spirituality, self-trust and happiness.


I suggest that you trust and explore all impulses. I do not recommend acting upon all. But they are always important to examine and to trust as valid on some level. If the likely consequences of following an impulse are acceptable, then acting on the impulse is also recommended.


So how to respond to an unacceptable impulse, say to harm someone? I repeat: the impulse has valid information for you, the action is not appropriate. You probably do hate that person. Can you change that hatred without denying it? Do you need to pretend that person is in front of you and express your hatred to them in fantasy? Should the hatred be directed at someone else (see Chapter 9)? It is important to examine unacceptable impulses with the question, "What do I need to learn from this?". If the impulse still comes back, you haven't learned your lessons yet. Therefore, make a new Stage IV choice.


We have all received training in distrusting our impulses. Such training keeps us stuck in many areas of our lives.

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Success Tip: You will be more likely to succeed if you give yourself concrete praise every time you perform a behavior you are trying to acquire.

More Excerpts This Chapter
   LET ME HIT YOU WITH A SLEDGEHAMMER
   THE TYRANNY OF JUDGMENTS
   THAT IS THE WAY I AM
   YOU MAKE ME UNHAPPY
   YOU HURT MY FEELINGS- THEREFORE YOU SHOULD CHANGE
   STICKS AND STONES
   WE DIG THINKING RUTS
   SIZE AND CONTENTS OF THE UNCONSCIOUS
   NATURE VS. NURTURE VS. LIFEPLAN
   THE PERFECTION THAT YOU ARE NOW
   BE HAPPY GETTING WHAT YOU DON'T WANT
   YOU'LL SEE IT WHEN YOU BELIEVE IT
   YOU GET WHAT YOU BELIEVE IN
   HOW CLOSE CAN WE COME TO "HAPPILY EVER AFTER"?

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