When I was growing up, I didn’t really have many social skills, and a huge part of my life was dedicated to learning how to interact with people. I spent a ridiculous amount of time failing because I was trying to change myself according to who I was spending time with. I know now that you can’t be anything other than who you are, and trying to be anything else just leads to suffering and tension. The journey to discovering that was a long and hard one though, and now I teach people what I’ve learned so that others will be spared these difficulties.
People are predictable. From the day we are born we learn, solve problems, adapt, and react to the world around us. Everything we do in our lives can roughly fit into one of those categories or another. As an example you learn that asking nicely is much more effective in getting what you want then making demands, and by six years old you’ve adapted to and assimilated a countless amount of these behaviours. The thing is, we no longer do this for survival, we adapt to societal norms, meaning there are certain common beliefs and behaviours which everyone has adapted to in any society. Every six-year-old is already pre-programmed to believe and react in exactly the same way that everyone else believes and reacts around them.
Just a few years ago I stumbled into Hypnosis and NLP – known to many as the deep dark secrets of human psychology, the arts of manipulation, the magical mind control methods. I thought these tools would be the answer to all my problems. I would find out how people worked and become a master at “people”, very much like someone who would be a master at chess. I thought that I could just know exactly who a person was by meeting them, and then I could behave in the exact way that would make them feel most comfortable around me. I thought I would be able to design a new customized costume every time I met a new person. I wasn’t prepared for how shockingly wrong I was.
Oh yes, I learned about people, I learned about the brain, and I learned about consciousness, and it totally shattered everything about me and every belief I had about myself and others. Many of my relationships fell apart – including the relationship I had with my family and some of my closest friends. It was the first time that I really discovered who I was, and who others were, and I didn’t like it at all. I wished that I could turn back time and forget everything. It became terrifyingly clear to me in a rapid cacophony of emotional explosions that, outside of some miraculous exceptions, I didn’t really know anyone. I just saw a bunch of conditioned processes, unconscious habits and the basic expressions of human, mammalian, and reptilian neurological functions. To top it all off, I was no different. Humans became machines, robots to be tweaked and altered, equations to be solved, and we all run on the same operating system. My life, and all plans that I made became meaningless because it wasn’t really my life that I was living. Like the Bourne Identity, where uncovering the truth about yourself and the world you live in unearths a series of dangerously life-altering consequences, once you start, you have to find out everything. It seemed like everything I believed in was in question. Any alternative belief was up for grabs, because that’s what hypnosis does, it opens your mind to anything else that isn’t what you’re currently thinking, and any possibility that you haven’t thought of.
Over 90 percent of our thoughts and behaviours are habitual. That means that the majority of our lives are spent doing and thinking the same things over and over again. We evolved this way for good reason – it would suck if you had to learn how to cross the street the hard way every time. Out of the myriad of thoughts we have every day, out of all the beliefs you have, out of all the automatic reactions you have – how many help you, and how many hinder you? Most of your life is spent doing things and thinking things you are not even aware of, and you’ve been taught to think and react according to what is considered normal and acceptable. We’ve adapted social norms, and we’ve been taught to think only in specific ways which are completely unrelated to the type of person that we might be.
It turns out that we aren’t our thoughts, our beliefs, or our reactions. I thought those things made up who we are, and all my troubles have come from this belief. Hypnosis and other similar practices such as NLP are the discovery of psychological and social norms which have existed since the dawn of humanity. It’s the science of how we tick, and to knowingly use it is to harness the mental capacities of yourself or others – to alter consciousness. Every time you learn something new or fall in love or go to sleep, you or someone else has hypnotized you or triggered a program in you that causes a certain reaction. All of your beliefs – regardless of how much truth they hold – have been programmed in you either through experience or by another person. So you either learn, solve problems, adapt, and react according to the life you live, and that’s directly affected by the people that have surrounded you, are currently surrounding you, and who will surround you for the rest of your life. This realization was the most devastating experience of my life. I fell into a deep depression when I realized that I’ve been programmed from birth to think and believe certain things which were responsible for so many problems, and that everyone else had gone through the exact same thing. I thought that was all there is. But none of those things are really you. They’re just thoughts, beliefs and patterns, and we’re much more than that.
I’ve been in relationships where I’ve manipulated my way into it. I used my hypnotic charm and the programs of a woman to seduce and impress, and it’s always ended badly because if I let my guard down for a second she would unconsciously see through what I was doing. Or I would get so uncomfortable with the façade that I would start being awkward or nervous. Another huge problem is that you can get stuck in your own “program” and your behaviour becomes a belief about who you are, and your life becomes more and more difficult without knowing why, and it’s because there’s a huge gap between who you are and who you are trying to be. If you take advantage of people it always shows. People will get a bad feeling and don’t want to spend time with you because something’s not quite right about you. Unless you spend all your time with people with no self-worth, messing with people’s heads starts to impact you negatively in one way or another. If you get away with it, you will destroy yourself from the inside out. Paranoia will ensue, and you’ll start seeing ways that others must be trying to get at you, and they’d be right to try.
Modern psychological tools like Hypnosis and NLP are the sciences of how we are affected by others, and how we affect ourselves. It exposes us to the harsher realities of the way we think and the way we learn. It’s frightening and infuriating, and yet, after the storm has passed, it is illuminating. Ignorance means you have no choices and no responsibility for your own life, and when you’re freed from that ignorance you realize how powerless you have been. You realize how much of your life is not your own, but belongs to the collective intelligence of a faceless mob and you are free to change. It’s likely that everyone you know belongs to that mob, but that’s not so terrible. We need to be part of society, and now that I know how I am affected by others, how others affect me, and how I affect others, for the first time in my life I am given a real choice to live my life the way I want to. Ultimately what we all want is to be happy and to live a fulfilling life, no matter how twisted your version of that might be, and these tools give you access to that, and help you remove the blocks in your life which might prevent you from doing that, but once you know that there’s a problem in your life you can no longer claim ignorance, you now have the power to solve the problem, or you can continue to adapt. Learn about yourself, and learn about others and how we all work and fit together on a psychological level, but don’t make the mistake of believing that they are truths because you are much more than who you think you are and who you believe you are.