Sometimes we overthink our problems to the extent that we blind ourselves to the solution. Often, when this happens, our subconscious already knows the solution, but our conscious mind isn’t listening. There are various reasons why our conscious mind doesn’t hear or chooses to ignore the messages from our subconscious. Sometimes we think the solution can’t really be that simple. Sometimes we don’t want to accept the solution because it’s too difficult, or too inconvenient, or it wasn’t what we were expecting. Sometimes acknowledging the solution our subconscious presents forces us to confront something about ourselves that makes us uncomfortable, so it’s easier to search for an alternative solution. But when we ignore or deny what our subconscious mind – our intuition, if you prefer – is telling us, we set up a conflict between our conscious mind and our subconscious mind. And that leads to stress, to not feeling good about ourselves, to not feeling authentic.
The first step in resolving this inner conflict is to clearly understand what our subconscious mind is telling us. If you have been ignoring your intuition for a long time, this may be easier said than done. What I find helpful in these situations is to ask yourself one question that sums up your problem – pick the first question that comes into your head, and listen to the first answer that comes into your head. Don’t think about your answer, don’t worry about finding the right answer, just ask the question and see what pops into your mind. When you do that, you’re giving your intuitive subconscious mind a chance to answer before your more analytical conscious mind overthinks the problem and gets in the way.
If possible, ask yourself questions that force you to look at the problem in a different way. Some questions you could try are:
- What am I afraid of?
- What am I gaining by not solving this problem?
- What does this problem give me an excuse not to do?
- How does my problem keep me safe?
There’s a theme here. You need to discover if you are actually hanging on to your problem because some part of you doesn’t really want to get rid of it. That might not be something you are aware of consciously, but your subconscious knows, and it won’t let the problem go if some part of you isn’t ready to be without it yet.
When I was on my journey out of depression, I once asked myself: “what would I have to do if I wasn’t depressed?” Immediately, my subconscious replied “I’d have to figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life.” That was illuminating. I’d never thought of my depression as giving me an excuse not to move forward in life, not to make difficult decisions. I knew I wanted to grow and learn and make a difference in the lives of the people I care about. But I hadn’t known how; I hadn’t known what specific things I wanted to do to challenge myself and to make a difference. And I had allowed that indecision to paralyse me. I hadn’t realized that part of me was scared of change, scared of committing to something that might push me outside my comfort zone. It wasn’t until I let my subconscious talk to me that I was able to acknowledge and address those fears. My depression had been my way of avoiding those fears, my excuse not to address them. Realising that didn’t magically make everything better, but it did help me to see the problem in a new way, give me new avenues to explore, and it was a significant step on my journey out of depression.
What question do you need to ask your subconscious?