Man live consciously for himself, but is an unconscious instrument in the attainment of the historic, universal, aims of humanity.
Subconscious vs Unconscious
There are three parts to the human mind – The conscious, subconscious and the unconscious mind. We all know what the conscious mind is – Your awareness at the present moment. This could be anything from being aware you’re reading or being aware that you are now manually breathing.
But what is the difference between the subconscious and the unconscious mind? These two terms are often used interchangeably in order to mean anything that is not conscious. Although they have their similarities psychologists use these terms for different things.
What is the Subconscious Mind?
Let’s start with the subconscious mind. The subconscious mind is anything in the mind that can be easily accessed by the conscious mind. Just because you’re not driving to work right now doesn’t mean you don’t know how to. You are just not consciously doing it so you don’t need to know how to do it right now. Once you step into your car you can easily recall how to drive a call from your subconscious and make it conscious as you need it.
The main purpose of the subconscious mind is to store and retrieve data for your conscious mind. You can think of it as a computer and the conscious mind is the keyboard. Once a command is input into the subconscious mind it interprets that command and outputs a result based on your predefined habits, self-image and other parameters. Although one cannot consciously access things like a self-image the subconscious is kind of like an intermediary between the two. As a result two people can receive the same external input but have two completely different subconscious minds and therefore interpret the same event in two completely different ways.
A common example of this is when you have a person who is self-conscious of himself and another person who is completely confident in himself. Often times when you criticize a person who is already self-conscious and doesn’t believe in himself, he may take it as an attack on him instead of constructive criticism. Even though it may not be what you meant this person is already self-conscious and he feels as if you are perpetuating that. A person who is more confident and believes in himself and will take that same insult and will be able to either take it as constructive criticism or stand tall believing this is one person’s opinion. This one person’s opinion does not make it a fact. This person’s self-image is that he knows that other people like him, and he knows he likes himself. So just because one person criticizes him he is less affected because of his belief system and positive self-image.
What is the Unconscious Mind?
The unconscious mind consists of your primitive instincts. It’s essentially any part of the mind that you can’t easily access. This includes our belief system, our self-image, our reality, and our behavior patterns. Most of our unconscious is developed during childhood from past memories, parents, teachers and other influential people in our lives that make us who we are today. Although the unconscious greatly influences our conscious mind we cannot easily access it. If we could we could easily change our self-image and raise our self-esteem exactly the way we wanted it.
However, just because you can’t access the unconscious mind yourself doesn’t mean you can’t change it. Your unconscious thinking patterns were formed from being around a certain group of people and influences which slowly created your self-image. This was mostly through childhood but could’ve been influences in adulthood as well. In order to change your unconscious beliefs you do it the same way you’ve done it before. Constantly expose yourself to whatever it is you want to become and slowly your unconscious mind will mold into that person.
You might have the self-image that you are shy. This is an unconscious part of your mind. You didn’t consciously choose to be shy – Your self-image is that you are shy. In order to change your self-image you have to go against your self-image of shyness by being social – Basically, not shy.
Your unconscious mind, being conditioned by society, your past influential peers and environment will produce an emotion of fear. It does this because it chose this self-image and beliefs because it believed any other self-image would be dangerous. It believes this current self-image is the best self-image for you. When you go against it, it will retaliate.
Changing your unconscious mind is kind of like trying to feed me mushrooms. I hate mushrooms. But if you wanted me to eat mushrooms – If you really wanted me to eat mushrooms you can keep offering mushrooms to me until I say yes just from pure annoyance. But you need to have that persistence even if I say no the first few times. Even if I say no and I punch you in the face! You gotta keep trying to feed me mushrooms! Think of it as trying to feed a little ignorant child his green vegetables. Eventually he’ll come around (unless you’re trying to feed him mushrooms).
Have a great day!
For a bit more of an interesting-animated view on this subject check out the video below. I think it explains it very well, with imagery and clear examples.