by Rena Greenberg
Einstein’s famous definition of insanity is, “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Why do so many of us keep repeating the same fruitless behaviors only to experience outcomes completely opposite of the ones we desire?
While insanity is one plausible theory, what’s most likely is that we keep repeating negative thoughts and behaviors because we are comfortable with them.
It’s that simple. Even when the results are painful and uncomfortable, our human instinct is to repeat everything we say, think and do.
Think about the things you did, the words you spoke and your dominant thoughts today. Chances are your actions, statements and thoughts are very familiar to you. This can be beneficial when your behaviors are life-affirming such as offering affection to loved ones, preparing healthy food choices and being polite, but the results can be devastating when the intention behind your thoughts, spoken words and actions is unconsciously coming from a place of hurt or fear.
Your subconscious mind records everything that it has witnessed—both positive and negative. If you are like most people you have had painful experiences in your lifetime that have etched their signature on your psyche. When you go through the motions of your present-day life without awareness of how these traumatic memories from the past have impacted you, they can set in motion a stream of negative impressions that influence your reactions to current day events.
Make a Radical Shift
The great news is that with conscious awareness and intention you can set a new, more positive course for your life that can not only create a beautiful future for yourself but, at the same time, heal your past.
That’s where the tools of hypnosis and daily self-hypnosis (a form of meditation) come in. It’s because, as we’ve established, we are comfortable with repeating the same behaviors and thoughts day after day just because they are familiar, no matter how old, outdated and unproductive they are. For change to happen in our lives, we need to make a radical shift in our perspective.
Albert Einstein also informed us that, “You can’t solve a problem at the same level it was created.” Hypnosis takes us to a deeper level within ourselves, where we discover new, hidden resources within that help us to heal and make new choices.
You can’t force yourself not be angry, gluttonous, hurt, sad, lazy or self-centered, but when you tap into a greater understanding of what is motivating and driving you, your behaviors can begin to shift naturally.
For example, let’s say that you are feeling perpetually irritated because someone in your household is not doing his or her fair share of the work. You may try to rationalize your anger and tell yourself it’s justified because you are pulling more than your weight, or you may try to talk yourself out of being angry by making excuses for the other person. Either way, it’s likely that your feelings of resentment have a solid, consistent hold over you and are influencing your behaviors. You may find yourself being critical or condescending to your housemate, spouse or child.
As a result of your consistent negative thoughts and spontaneous actions, the subject of your negative feelings is likely to react to you in an equally negative way. You may assume that since your resentments are justified, if you act out your feelings of annoyance it will prompt the other to change, but that is unlikely to be the case. Unfortunately, the energy of judgment and negativity will just come back to you because there’s no other outcome possible, since like attracts like.
Even if the negativity doesn’t come back to you from the person upsetting you, it will come in some other way. If you are emotionally eating as a way to cope with your life challenges, you will experience the pain that comes from the health and weight repercussions of eating when you’re not hungry.
But what is the solution? You can’t change your feelings of anger and resentment anymore than you can not feel the pain of a boulder falling on your foot! This is the challenge of the human condition.
It is only by shifting your awareness at the deepest level that any change can happen for you.
By practicing self-hypnosis, you can access a much greater strength, understanding, wisdom, forgiveness and compassion than is available to you in your daily waking state.
You can begin to make connections between what you are feeling now and what you have felt previously in your life, and have understanding about how you draw certain situations, thoughts and feelings to yourself. It’s only once you start to make inner connections that the outer changes can begin to occur on a permanent basis.
For example, you may see that you have a belief that you have to work hard to earn love, or that you are comfortable being a victim, since that is a role you saw one or both of your parents play perfectly. It may become clear to you that you need to dominate, manipulate or be in control in order to feel safe, even if it’s costing you your health and happiness. These kinds of observations can be life-saving!
Once you realize that you are playing out a scenario because of past programming or deep seated beliefs about yourself, it becomes evident that the other people in your life are simply the players in your drama. When you can honestly realize that if this situation was not so troubling that it was dominating your life right now, it would be another problem, then you can begin to make the shift necessary to free yourself from the self-inflicted bondage.
Access Inner Strength
Rather than ruminate day after day about how you are going to get someone else to do something differently than they are doing it, you can access your greatest strength within yourself.
Remember The Wizard of Oz? After her perilous journey to get to the famous Land of Oz, where she traveled in the hopes of being rescued, in vain, Dorothy discovered that to get home all she had to do was click her heels three times and recite the phrase, “There’s no place like home.”
What if the only thing you had to do to claim your freedom was to surrender all the troubles you are holding on to that have become your identity, and just set them down?
This may sound incredulous to you! But I have seen the results of releasing the past and embracing the new, over and over. Recently a man named Frank came to me with his wife for gastric bypass hypnosis. Aside from both of them being obese, they had many troubles including financial setbacks and family conflicts.
I always tell the people that the weight loss will just become a side benefit because the real issue is taking your life back. All areas of our lives are interconnected, and the weight is just a symptom of a life out of balance. Eight weeks after our initial session, I had the pleasure to work with Frank again. He was like a new man!
Not only had he dropped 41 lbs. and three pant sizes, but he felt so much more peaceful! The conflicts in his family began to resolve themselves and those that hadn’t were no longer bothersome to him (before they had been keeping him up at night!). His friends and coworkers all commented on his new positive attitude. His confidence level was soaring!
How could so much have changed for Frank in such a short time? When you get out of the space between your ears and stop recycling the same, habitual, unproductive thoughts, there is an opportunity for your deeper mind and heart, your Spiritual Self, to step in and guide you to a new way of thinking.
It’s nothing that you can force. You can only open to it and allow it.
After our initial sessions, Frank began practicing self-hypnosis every single day. The subconscious mind has a power to change our thinking and our lives beyond our wildest dreams.
Frank made a decision to lay his problems down at the foot of his subconscious and open to a new possibility. That is all we are required to do to create an opening for a deep healing of our lives.
The past does not equal the future. Change is inevitable. You are not the person today that you were yesterday. However, your old thoughts are dominating you and running you like a runaway truck speeding downhill, desperately looking for a runaway truck ramp.
They won’t let up on their own. They will only gain speed each time they recycle themselves with added justification and evidence for their point of view.
Put your hand on your heart, bow your head, and ask your heart to take those painful, small thoughts, and bathe them in love and compassion. Imagine the sun dropping rays of healing light into your heart, bathing those old impressions with a healing, soothing light. Ask for patience and wisdom to see things in a new way.
You deserve to be happy. You deserve to be free. Open to the unknown . . . Release the known that has held you back. Affirm to yourself, “I am courageous. A wonderful new beginning is opening up to me.” Say “yes” to you!
Editor’s Note: For more information on the process of hypnosis and how it works, see the article “Overcome Hurdles with Hypnosis” in this issue.
Rena Greenberg is the author of The Right Weigh: Six Steps to Permanent Weight Loss, which is used by over 100,000 People (Hay House Publishing) and The Craving Cure: Break the Hold Carbs and Sweets Have on Your Life (McGraw-Hill). She conducts weight loss seminars using hypnosis at hospitals throughout the country and has a private hypnosis practice specializing in gastric bypass hypnosis. She can be reached online at www.EasyWillpower.com or at 800-848-2822.