Is Your Five Year Old Self Running Your Life?
“You go about your day thinking you have it all figured out and then out of nowhere you completely lose your sh*t.”
The mind is a funny old thing. You go about your day, minding your business, thinking you have it all figured out and then out of nowhere you completely lose your sh*t. You have no idea what provoked you, you don’t know why you reacted so strongly to something so seemingly insignificant but something deep inside screamed BLAAA. Enter, the unconscious. See this complex little haven we call home is just that - just when we master one thing it unearths another - always probing, always willing and always guiding. Now I realise this all sounds a bit cryptic and honestly it is but I’ve taken a stab at an explanation below.
The mind is made up of three parts. The conscious, the subconscious and the unconscious, all of which play their own part in keeping us sane and functioning and existing on the right side of the tracks (well that’s the hope).
So, the conscious mind. This is the part of the mind that we are aware of - we have a certain level of understanding about what’s going on around us, how we feel and what we want. It takes information from the outside and makes sense of it consciously giving us a nod of reassurance that everything is working as it should be.
The subconscious is a bit like a diary. You know the information is there but it takes a moment to recall it. You can pull from it but not taking up headspace all the time. Think all those memories you hold, like the time you threw up outside a bar on a first date. It doesn’t linger always but my god can you recall those details - the feeling, the dread, the glory.
And the unconscious, now that’s the trickiest of the lot. It’s like a black hole really. A black hole of all the crap you’d prefer to forget. Except the unconscious can’t. It collates those pesky memories, those thoughts and emotions of old and stores them like your mother stores leftovers. Like that time your Mam forgot your at school, or when your teacher mortified you for chattering. When that b*tch in school took your lunch or when you were hushed for crying because big girls don’t cry. All of those experiences that 5 year old you had and couldn’t quite comprehend go into the vault leaving a marked effect on adult us. The fear, the shame, the helplessness, the hope - they all go into the vault and overtime we start to develop patterns.
These patterns of thinking and behaviour pretty established in early life pretty much dictate how we live our adult lives. They dictate our worth, our sense of self, our fears, our expectations and so much more. And the funny thing about patterns is that they are mostly irrational. An assumption made by 5 year old you about the people who made you sad, made you mad, who dismissed you, who shamed you and everything in between. Those familiar relationships you find yourself in, those awful bosses that you tolerate for longer than you should, the one sided friendships and a whole host of other day to day stuff is largely dictated by the patterns you developed over time. In essence you have a 5 year old running your life and you don’t know about it.
Ultimately we should strive to live a conscious life, that is living with a decent level of control over what we do, how we react and really how we live. The first step to change is making conscious those unconscious thoughts and patterns and acting with intention rather than haste.
About The Author
Siobhan is a Trainee Psychotherapist, Mental Health Advocate and Editor of crakd. She’s also embroiled in an intense love affair with eclectic interiors and colourful food.
Follow Siobhan on Instagram @siobhan_scan