Sowing Seeds


We’re all familiar with how seeds work: you sow a seed and it starts to grow. You can’t see any evidence of growth to begin with because all the growing takes place beneath the surface, but after a while the plant starts to reveal itself, reaching up to the sky, growing ever stronger as its roots send tendrils ever-deeper into the ground, bedding itself down, clinging on, driving down its foundations and making it more and more difficult to shift.

It’s a bit like that with ideas and beliefs, too, with a seed of an idea in our childhood establishing itself in our subconscious mind, growing, making more connections, eventually showing itself in the way that we behave and think about ourselves, what we believe about ourselves, other people, and the world.

Because our mind works out what we should do in any new situation by looking to the past, scanning its memory banks for a similar situation that we have experienced, so we know what it’s about and how we should react. And if there is a past event that sends a big warning signal, we can become ‘hijacked’ by a strong emotion and go into ‘automatic’, behaving in a way that our unconscious mind believes is the best thing to do. And this is all done unconsciously, with us clicking into a particular behaviour pattern and trying to rationalise what happened to us.

Perhaps when we were little we were in a nativity play at school, and when it was our turn to walk on stage, someone had left a piece of wood in the wrong place and we tripped over it, sprawling across the stage, with many people laughing. We feel awful and embarrassed, humiliated, and because children tend to attach a personal meaning to things – seeing themselves as being the cause of what goes on around them – we could believe that being on stage is a very frightening thing, something that we need to avoid; our subconscious mind is there to protect us, after all, and it has learned something very useful about the world.

Now fast-forward by 20 years and we are working for a company, and we need to start to give business presentations. Our subconscious mind says to itself, “what’s this like?” and it finds that early memory; our subconscious says “Oh S**t! I’m not doing that!”. Your subconscious mind is facing a threat, and the basic human response to a threat is the “fight and flight” response, where our heart rate and blood pressure go up, blood drains away from our digestive system and into our muscles, adrenaline is pumped into our body and we start to shake. On the day of the presentation we will probably do one of two things:

(1) Go through with the presentation, but we are so overwhelmed by strong emotion – strong emotions make us stupid – that we really mess things up. Our subconscious evaluates what happened and says to itself, “I knew you shouldn’t have done that. I knew it was going to be bad. Next time I’ll make sure you’re even more frightened.”

(2) Sit in the loo before the presentation, feeling sick and nauseous. We may even vomit. We can’t go through with it and go home, saying that we have been taken sick. Our subconscious is looking for a “high five” from someone because it has prevented you from experiencing the humiliation that you had when you were 8 years old. It has done its job well by keeing you from danger.

The irony, of course, is that by trying to prevent you from experiencing the humiliation that you experienced when you were 8 years old, you have ended up humiliated at age 28, and since all this activity is going on underneath the surface (we can’t even remember the Nativity play episode probably) all we can do is to try and rationalise our behaviours as best we can.

We will probably conclude that we are stupid, or inadequate, or no good at public speaking, or not cut out for a career in business. And that belief will limit our choices and our potential.

Cognitive Hypnotherapy can deal with such situations by helping to uncover the original event that caused this behaviour, and by tweaking the meaning that we attached to this event, we can make sure that it no longer hijacks us like it did in the past, allowing us more freedom and choice in our life, allowing us to fulfil our potential unhindered by mistaken beliefs from the past.

Contact Taggart

If you have any questions about Quest Cognitive Hypnotherapy and how I can help you now, hop over to my Contact Form, send me a message, and we can arrange a 20-30 minute Zoom chat about what I am going to be helping you with.

Click to arrange that chat now