What is the subconscious?

The subconscious is the part of our mind that guides and directs 95 percent of our behavior. It keeps our heart pumping, regulates body temperature, heals wounds, and digests our food. It also prioritizes and makes sense of the billions of pieces of information we take in each day through our five senses.

Why are subconscious beliefs important?

Our subconscious beliefs, (also called mental models), are the software programs used by our brain to interpret our perceptions, direct our behavior, and make sense of our world. Our “default mode of functioning” is based upon our subconscious programming. We always operate in accordance with these software programs, even when they are outdated, limit our potentials and possibilities, and create suffering. We also have the power to change them, if we choose to do so.

They are encoded in a non-verbal part of our brain that is mostly (but not entirely) out of our conscious awareness. This means we are not completely aware of these beliefs, yet they play a key role in determining how we perceive ourselves, others, and the world around us, our expectations, and the choices we make.

How might subconscious limiting beliefs negatively impact my life? 

Since we always make ourselves right, we don’t even realize we are blocking information that is not consistent with our beliefs. We also don’t see opportunities and options that are right in front of us. We believe things are impossible for us, and so they are.

For example, if my limiting belief is “I am a loser,” then I am likely to screen out all evidence to the contrary. I am also likely to make choices that reinforce the notion that I am a loser. Even when I succeed, I am likely to avoid taking credit for my accomplishments.

Where do subconscious beliefs come from?

You were just an infant when you began to formulate these based upon life experiences, how people treated you, and what you learned from your parents and caregivers, teachers, siblings, friends, and the culture at large. You made unconscious decisions about yourself, other people, and the world around you, based upon the limited amount of data you had at the time.

Of course, many of your subconscious beliefs are positive and life-affirming. But, over time, it is normal to discover that there are some core beliefs that are outdated and holding you back. And the more difficult your childhood, the more likely you hold limiting core beliefs in certain areas.

For example, maybe you subconsciously decided that you are unlovable because the people around you were unable to give you the love and nurturing you deserved. As you got older and can see things from a broader perspective, perhaps you begin to recognize that it would make sense to question this.

How can I remove the subconscious limiting beliefs which are holding me back?

Recent research in neuroscience has revealed that our subconscious limiting beliefs are encoded in a part of the brain that is predominantly nonverbal. This means that just talking about them does not usually change them. The key to reprogramming your subconscious limiting beliefs is to use imagery. This is why guided meditations work so well for this purpose.