Have you ever told yourself over and over not to do something, only to end up doing it? Have you ever told somebody to stop smoking, only to have them smoke more? The reason for this is because the subconscious mind is fooled by the negative words, and ignores them.
Quitting smoking is surely a difficult thing, and yet the suggestions of well-meaning people who say “Don’t Smoke.” actually contribute to keeping that person puffing away on the cigarettes. Sometimes the person will say that these comments make them want to smoke more. Why is this? Why do we always do the thing we are told not to do?
Don’t Fall in Love with Me
How many times have you heard the story of somebody being told not to fall in love with somebody else? Have you ever heard somebody say to another person “Don’t fall in love with me.” and you just know what will happen.. and not just in movies, but in real life too.
It happens all the time. It seems the more you tell somebody not to do something, the more likely it is that it will happen. Sometimes we think it is just disobedience, a child testing their parent when the parent says “Don’t you do that.”. There is an actual scientific reason for this, as we shall soon see.
Here is the Problem
Our Subconscious brain cannot process negatives. We only hear things like “Fall in love with me.” or “Smoke.” the word “don’t” leaves our subconscious and deep down we only think about the other part. This is one of the reasons children often do the opposite of what we told them not to do. True, sometimes they are testing us, but often it is just that the subconscious and the conscious have not connected the dots. We have to train them correctly to fill in that blank.
Have you ever put your foot in your mouth and said something you KNEW would be stupid to say. Something you told yourself over, and over again, not to say it, only for those words to flow from your mouth later? This is again is another example of your subconscious not understanding the negative.
When you know you are entering an awkward situation so you tell yourself over and over not to do a certain thing, and sure enough, you end up doing that thing. It is because deep down in your mind you were telling yourself to do it, and because of the awkwardness, you ended up doing it.
Your conscious can understand negatives, if somebody says “No” you know what they mean, however, our subconscious mind is one based more on instinct and survival. Negatives do not exist on that level.
Why Most Self-Help Programs are Not Effective
There are loads of self-help books, self-help Videos, DVDs, CDs, and so forth, and oftentimes people buy them with good intention, but many times they do not see results.
Most selves help subliminal programs are designed to get you to stop unwanted behavior, but unfortunately, the programmers either don’t know or don’t care, that the subconscious brain cannot process the negative words in these programs, as such if they tell you not to chew your nails, for example, all your subconscious mind is aware of, is the thought of chewing your nails.
Most self-help guides and subliminal programs designed to get you to stop a behavior have this problem. They tell you not to do something, and upfront that is what you hear… but deep down the only message you get is “Smoke”, “Eat”, “Drink”, or whatever. Any efforts to stop your negative behavior are defeated by the messages as absorbed into your deeper unconscious thoughts.
Avoiding this Problem
If you want to get around this problem you must think of new ways to phrase things. Remove any negatives, change things into positive affirmations. Rather than saying “Don’t Smoke” you can say “Be smoke-free”. Instead of saying to your child “Don’t throw that rock” you should say “Put the rock down”.
Instead of telling yourself what not to do in social situations, try focusing on what do to. It is very hard for most people to say things without saying a negative, for some reason we are taught to speak negatively unaware of how our subconscious perceives this information, but with some effort, you can turn things around so you can accomplish your goals.