Why You’re Not Always In Control Of Yourself
This isn’t going to be a scientific article.
I’m not going to give you any psychology studies as sources for the info.
But I would like to challenge you to read the whole thing and then tell me if it doesn’t make a lot of fucking sense to you.
The source for what I’m about to write?
I’m a life consultant, so it comes from my own personal life experience as well as the experiences of my clients that I’ve had the opportunity to help.
But anyway… Let’s get to it.
I’m sure you’ve heard people (or maybe even yourself) say some variation of “Why am I like this???” or “I KNEW it wasn’t the right decision, but I still did it! I couldn’t help myself!”.
This can happen with anything in life, from not being able to resist the sexiness of a chocolate ice cream to continuously hooking up with your toxic ex.
This begs the question, why ARE WE all like this??
Why is it that we logically understand what we should do, but then we behave against our own better judgment? It’s like we’re all just paradoxical by nature.
But that’s not exactly true. At least the way I see it.
You see, in my opinion, we all have two different sides to ourselves. And by two different sides, I literally mean two different people in one body. The thing is exactly that too… There’s only ONE body for those two personas.
So, who controls it? Is it just one of the personas? Or is it both equally?
First, before we answer that question, let’s identify (or rather, label) the two different personas. From now on, I will be referring to them as your subconscious self and your conscious self.
Your subconscious self is everything from your emotions, your traumas, etc. Basically, it is the animalistic side of you. The one who gets turned on upon the sight of someone you find attractive. The side that makes you cry even though you don’t even understand the deeper reason why you’re crying. It’s also the side that you let loose while you sleep and it dreams. Anything that is irrational belongs to this side, which is why the subconscious is all about instant gratification.
The conscious you? That’s the version who is just logical. It’s who you are when you’re in an extremely calm and balanced state. It’s who you are when you’re making conscious decisions because you understand that decisions have consequences. It’s the side that makes decisions that are good for you in the long term. To me, it’s the true you.
Now, I believe most of the world — I’d guesstimate at least about 97% — are mostly controlled by their subconscious. When I say mostly, I mean about 80% of your actions are controlled by your subconscious, while your conscious self handles the remaining 20%. This ends up making most of the world just run on auto-pilot mode (which, I won’t get into, otherwise this article would seem more like a book chapter).
When your subconscious is mostly in control, it’s not at all obvious to the conscious self. After all, these two sides are not enemies at all. They’re bonded BY life and FOR life. So, they both want what’s best for you/them. The only difference is what that entails.
Like I mentioned before, the subconscious is incapable of understanding the reason for endeavors made for long-term benefits, while the conscious self can identify habits that, although good in the short term, are detrimental in the long term.
So, this is pretty much WHY you feel like there’s a lot of cognitive dissonance in your life. And it’s why sometimes you’re baffled by your own behavior.
When someone goes back to hook up with their toxic ex, there’s nothing logical about it. It was just a whim of the subconscious. Know why that was a whim?
Because the subconscious LOVES safety. It loves routines and habits because it makes it feel safe. Even if those habits are terrible for you! If it were up to your subconscious, you’d probably just stay home all day in your pajamas binging Netflix. After all, what’s safer than that??
Now, here comes the golden nugget of this article:
How can you start making your “conscious self” control 80% of your behaviors, while only allowing 20% to your subconscious?
*(don’t even try to give it 0% control, it’s impossible. You two are a team and life is a team sport)*
The secret is in what I wrote a few lines above. The subconscious LOVES habits and routines. Whatever it is that you’re used to — good or bad — it wants it again and again, much like a junky wants drugs. Or rather, NEEDS drugs.
So, obviously, due to that, once you try to gain control it will be VERY hard. Your subconscious WILL put up a fight. And it’ll be a big one. Because, remember, it is VERY MUCH used to being in control for YEARS and YEARS. It is most definitely not going to like the fact that you’re trying to take control from it. Why else do you think most people who start dieting end up going back to their original weight after their “diet adventure” is over?
But like I’ve said before, your subconscious is not your enemy.
If you keep fighting and keep making sure you act according to your consciousness and its logical decisions, eventually the subconscious will get used to that and surrender. (It may try to surprise you once in a while, but if you remain firm it’ll quickly go back to its place).
All of this takes us to an expression:
This is everything. Self-discipline is, essentially, the conscious mind being in control of 80% of all actions and leaving only about 20% to the subconscious mind.
This is why the most successful people in the world all realize that it’s not motivation that gets you where you want to go, it’s self-discipline.
So, next time you wonder why you did something that didn’t make any sense, now you’ll realize that it was your subconscious mind that did it.
But never be mad at it. I like to picture it as a 4-year-old toddler that you have to be extremely patient with. It just acts without thinking. There’s no bad intention behind it.
So, always be patient with yourself. This is all a very long process to tackle!
I hope you were able to relate to all of this and that this article can help someone out there!
If you think you could use the help of a life consultant to keep you on your toes about this, you can always contact me on my official website: myupself.com
But this friendly battle is always going to be You vs. You. I can simply help you stay on track and get there faster.
So, I wish you the best of luck in your journey.
No matter what, never even consider quitting.