Secretly love what? I hear you ask. Well, I’m so glad you asked.

This is the article I spoke about a week or so (I forget) ago – the one about secondary gains and hidden agendas. Basically, most of us, whether we like to admit it or not, at one time or another, choose to feel less confident because it protected us from something.

Are you now sat there thinking, ‘this girl’s gone nuts – who would choose to feel insecure?!’ Bear with me, it will all make sense.

In hypnotherapy, we know that the unconscious mind’s main job is to:

  1. Protect you from bad stuff
  2. Make you feel good

So, let’s take a fear of public speaking, maybe like having to give a presentation at work as an example.

At some stage, you really didn’t have a fear of being in public, as a baby I’m sure you were loving people cooing at you just because you made a slight gurgling sound, but somewhere along the line, something bad happened (and it doesn’t have to be a big baddy, just enough to make you feel a bit uncomfortable) and your unconscious kicked in to body guard mode.

‘Oh no – that didn’t feel good, don’t worry, I’ll protect you and make sure it doesn’t happen again!’

So what does the unconscious do? Whenever you get near to that situation again, it tries to convince you to steer clear, often by making you feel nervous or uncomfortable.

What then – double-edged sword. Either you go along with it and avoid giving the presentation (or whatever), in which case the unconscious is having his own little success party in your head (‘Yey! I protected her! Yey for me! I’ll have to do that again!’)


You push yourself to do it anyway, fight against your unconscious who, as a consequence, makes things even more uncomfortable for you, you feel ten times worse and you unconscious ends up going:

‘See! I told you so – wasn’t that awful? I tried to stop you! Obviously I’ll just have to work harder to make you feel uncomfortable next time so you’ll listen to me!’

And so the vicious cycle begins.

Does this ring any bells with you? Do you see how it’s so easy to fall into this trap and have your own subconscious sabotage your own confidence?

Don’t despair! There is something you can do!

Remember above when I said the unconscious’ main job is to protect you? It still thinks it’s doing that in the best way it can – feeling a little uncomfortable is better than the feeling you’d get if you gave the presentation etc.

All you have to do to change the cycle is teach it that there’s a better way to protect you (or that you don’t need protecting at all because the threat has gone).

Easy steps to feel more confident:

  1. Tell yourself that the secondary gain is no longer good for you, it doesn’t work anymore. Instead you’re going to do something else to protect yourself (a few deep breaths normally works well as an alternative)
  2. Tell yourself that public speaking is no longer a threat to you. You’re an adult and getting nervous is a built in fight or flight response developed when you had to deal with sabre tooth tigers, not a room full of suits, so it’s really not that helpful anymore.
  3. Train yourself over the fear – start really small, get lots of confidence and only push your comfort zone one baby step at a time so your unconscious protector doesn’t kick in.

It’s not the easiest thing in the world, but it is most certainly possible. I also use hypnotherapy with my clients which can really help but that’s for another time!

Let me know how you get on!

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