Monday, September 25th 2017

Were you born to win? A non-Olympic definition

Drawing on techniques from modern medical hypnosis, psychotherapist Nancy Irwin shares tips on how to reprogram your unconconsious mind

olympicmedal1GUEST COLUMN: DR. NANCY B. IRWIN — As a doctor of psychology and a therapeutic hypnotist, I know for a fact that we are all born to win.

By “win” I don’t mean necessarily winning an Olympic medal or having major achievements.  You win by being the best you possible, however you define that.  Whether you subscribe to a spiritual or intellectual theory, we are all here to learn, and thus we are all here to win.  In psychology we call it the tabula rasa theory the blank slate.

We learn to lose, and what we learn, we can un-learn.

A precious baby enters the world as a completely open conduit of love, acceptance, trust, and joy. Barring any predisposed physiological conditions or addictions, the infant does not have any desire for self-defeating thoughts or habits.  It never enters the infant’s mind that its every desire cannot be met.

Alas, we learn to lose.

We learn to lower our expectations and to sabotage ourselves, and then come to believe that we deserve less or none at all.  A baby has no desire for a cigarette, self-deprecation, or numbing out.  The good news is that whatever negative habits or beliefs we learned, we can un-learn, and return to that natural infantile state of bliss.

I treat many adolescents who are victims of sexual abuse.  They are “trained” to believe that their only worth is in their sexuality.  Our work centers around unplugging from that cognitive distortion and plugging them into the belief that they have many admirable, worthy traits outside of the physical, and that they can reclaim the sexuality they were born to enjoy.

There is a plethora of modalities for un-learning and healing, one of which is therapeutic hypnosis.

What is hypnosis and how does it help?

funny-hypnosis2Hypnosis is a naturally occurring state and has been studied for centuries. A far cry from the “squawk like a chicken or sing like Elvis” stereotype of stage hypnosis, all of us unconsciously experience the hypnotic trance on a daily basis.

Therapeutic hypnosis is unlike stage hypnosis in that it is conducted in a private clinical setting, one-on-one, like traditional psychotherapy, and basically does for the mind what massage therapy does for the body.  The hypnotherapist treats one issue at a time, honing in on the learned obstacle(s) that is blocking one’s path to freedom and through the deep state of relaxation, the client can gain rapid relief.

We are all self-healing vessels, and our bodies naturally take us to a trance state so that we can decompress and recharge. We bookend our day in trance:  we wake up in a highly suggestible state, and return to that state upon retiring for the night.

Have you ever felt like you were “zoning out?” Like you were “out of it” even though you were really still awake?  That’s trance. And it’s an extremely valuable state for accessing your personal power.   There is absolute gold in the mine of your mind.

While it is important to monitor our self-talk at all times, it is crucial to do so in trance, as the subconscious is fertile soil for manifesting what you affirm during these powerful, vulnerable times. If one affirms healthy, supportive, positive beliefs and goals, rapid change can be effected with repetition and vigilance, whether or not one consciously believes it can or not.

Working with the subconscious mind

The conscious mind, which houses our logic, reason, decisiveness and willpower, is only about 12% of our mind power.  So the subconscious, which drives ALL our behavior, comprises 88% of our mind power. The really good news is that we can align both these storehouses so that we have 100% of our power supporting us in attaining our goals.

Think of it like this:  the subconscious is a machine like your car or your computer.   While both are powerful machines, they are really just big heaps of metal that are only as effective as their driver or operator.  The conscious mind is the “brain” and the subconscious is the “brawn,” and the very good news is that the subconscious is extremely obedient.  It indiscriminately follows any order it is given.

hypnosis2Can your car discern whether you drive to Vegas or New York City?   Does your computer judge whether you work on Excel or Power Point?  Do they care?  So, you can drive or be driven.

You can allow your subconscious to keep driving you with beliefs like “I’m a fat pig” or “I could never make $100,000 a year” or “It’s impossible to quit smoking,” and your subconscious will manifest those statements as reality for you.

Similarly, it is immaterial to your subconscious mind (and your car and computer!) if you are a smoker, freak out around the opposite sex, bite your nails, have a sexual dysfunction, achieve your goals, suffer from insomnia, have writer’s block, fear flying or public speaking, etc.

In my own case, I smoked cigarettes for 20-25 years.  I was taught how to smoke by a hot tenor, backstage in the costume department when I was training to be an opera singer.  I plugged into the belief that smoking made me sexy and attractive to men.  When I distinguished this ridiculous belief (cognitive distortion), I plugged into a more empowering belief: “I am much more attractive to men as a non-smoker.”

We can change our lives — for the better

Understanding this theory of the mind empowers us to access and utilize the enormous power we were born with so that we can live rich, full lives and attract the ideal mate, create a fulfilling career, earn a dream salary, and free the inner winner (insert your definition of winner here).

lightpowerThere is simply no need to live as a hopeless victim of our subconscious. We were born to win, and winning can be our default setting.  Hypnosis is a powerful modality in which we can harness the vast personal power that we ALL innately have.  It has nothing to do with intelligence.

Do you know a naturally brilliant person who can never seem to get out of his/her own way and constantly operates beneath his/her potential? Conversely, do you know someone of average intelligence who is wildly successful and always wins?

I know a rocket scientist (literally) whose self-image is so poor, he is virtually unemployable.  He “tanks” every job, sometimes even the job interviews.  I also know a very successful saleswoman who is of average intelligence and average looks, yet is persistent as she can be.  She believes in her success; the rocket scientist “believes” in his failure.

Perhaps man is not created equal when it comes to inherent intelligence and abilities, but personal power is certainly a level playing field.  Just like we all have the same 24 hours in a day and seven days a week, we all have the ability to plug into our own power source.

Michaelangelo once stated that to create a masterpiece, he looked at a raw chunk of marble, visualized his final sculpture in it, and simply carved away what was not part of his vision. Designing your life works the same way. There is a masterpiece in us all waiting to be free.  Grab yourself by the gold and shake off the dirt. By plumbing the depths of the subconscious, your inner winner emerges.

nancysmallDr. Irwin trained as an opera singer in Atlanta, GA, was a stand-up comedian, and after volunteering at a shelter for sexually abused children pirouetted a career 360 and pursued a doctorate in psychology, specializing in the prevention and healing of child sexual abuse.  Nancy is a psychotherapist, hypnotist, and author of You-Turn: Changing Direction in Midlife.

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2 Comments on “Were you born to win? A non-Olympic definition”

  1. Thank You Dr Irwin for hitting all the right notes with your piece on hypnotherapy.It always confounds and saddens me, that although we are bombarded by conscious and subliminal messages from the moment we hit pre-school, most people( probably 88 %) are still really sceptical about trying this form of therapy and getting in touch with their own subconscious.

    On a more pragmatic note ( B flat for the sceptics), if the subconcious wasn't such a powerful persuader, why would advertisers go to such extraordinary lengths to exploit this form of " message delivery? Whether we like it or not we all recieve messages about who we are and who others think we are, from the minute they start cooing round the crib.

    Believe me! As a ( Now recovering) Irish Catholic, I was wracking up fun and guilt in equal measure from the minute I discovered what a "sin " was. So recognising the voices of teacher, Priests, family members and mentors who albeit well meaningly( in some cases) but misguidedly ( in nearly all) diminished my self worth ,has been a huge part of my re- christening myself as a decent well meaning human being.

    On a personal note( D minor) I have been undergoing hypnotherapy for two years now and one thing that has been really helpful has been identifying and then learning to tune out where and who those negative messages came from, particularly through out childhood.It made me realise those so called thoughts and opinions are not mine, they were "planted" there a long time ago and grew with me.

    I really liked the massage analogy ,because they do make me feel good for a little while. But while I believe that beauty is only skin deep and fades with time, massaging and feeling that real inner beauty through hypnotherapy, is something that stays with me on a daily basis.So I'm going to count to ten now and when I wake up i want everyone else to love themselves, just for today:)
    Danny Boy

  2. Wonderful Article!! A great friend recently got certified as a hypnotist, and we have done about 6 is AWESOME!!! What an incredible shift! If you want to learn and shift those things about yourself....find a Hypnotist!!!!

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