Our Mental Blueprints – DNA for the Soul
by Erika Slater
Well perhaps you don’t know what D.N.A. stands for – deoxyribonucleic acid.
You’re probably thinking; just because I now know what it is, I don’t even want to try and pronounce it. I don’t blame you! All you need to know about DNA is that it’s your hereditary material, your ‘blueprint‘ which was put into you by your parents when you were conceived.
All of the physical and even some non-physical traits such as temperament and mental health, were formed in you before you were even born. What’s really interesting about DNA is that no two people have the same DNA. That’s correct, you’re an original, wonderfully made like no other of the 7 billion people living on the face of this earth, and they’ll never be another person like you.
Individuals also possess mental/cognitive blueprints as well based on how they think, feel and act which eventually lead to their behaviors.
Cognitive is a fancy word used to encompass all that goes into how we individually think, understand, reason, learn and remember knowledge and information.
The fact is two people will process the same information differently and arrive at different conclusions influenced by their mental blueprints.
Some experts would like to assert that some cognitions, mannerisms and personality aspects are inherent, much like one’s DNA – passed down by your parents into you through your genes.
Although research in this area is still dawning and expanding, no one knows for sure to what extent cognitive blueprinting is passed down in the genes. What experts do know is that Social Learning Theory plays a large part into the formation of one’s cognitive blueprints.
Don’t worry I’ll explain Social Learning Theory later.
Okay, so can cognitive or personality blueprints really be passed down in the genes?
There are branches of psychology which believe some cognition blueprinting occurs through ‘Neurolinguistic Programming‘ (NLP). Basically this suggests memories, ideas and behaviors from generations past can actually be passed down through cells when one is conceived, and then later these “same” types of idiosyncrasies manifest and develop as one ages.
Are blueprints truly passed on this way? Truth is at this point we don’t really know.
WHAT IS NLP?
NLP is a branch of psychology and hypnotherapy that examines the links or connections between neurological processes, language patterns and behavioral patterns.
The main goal of NLP is to understand the mental aspect of behaviors by better understanding one’s thinking patterns.
Why do people think and do what they do?
Thinking and perceptions are one’s cognitions (thoughts) and the goal of NLP is to change irrational or destructive thinking, while modifying and enhancing positive and productive cognitions. So basically, blueprints for faulty thinking get changed or modified to produce positive, productive mindsets.
NLP is all about individual programming. It examines how people perceive the world they live in, and how they act on it and within it.
People engage in certain behaviors, habits and even addictions because they’ve “programmed” themselves to act and react the same way over a period of time through repetition. They do things on “automatic overdrive” – engaging in tasks without putting too much thought into it.
Over time, this automatic overdrive way for acting and reacting in their worlds becomes their mental/cognitive blue print.
When NLP is used properly, it teaches and encourages one to foster self-control whereby they can recreate their perceptions on how they see things, as well as the perception they have of them self.
NLP has the ability to improve concentration which will not only improve the ability to learn and stay focused, but also increase self-esteem. You can learn to become an “actor” in your world, rather than live on automatic overdrive or autopilot, and doing things repetitiously.
Furthermore, NLP helps people become goal-setters and helps them identify the changes they want to see in their lives.
Neuro-linguistic Programming has been around for over 40 years. It was developed in the 1970’s in California by John Grinder and Richard Bandler. NLP has been widely scrutinized and criticized in terms of its effectiveness in treating individuals. The greatest criticisms of NLP is it cannot be scientifically tested and validated.
If blueprinting isn’t in the genes and passed down, then where does it come from?
Is it something that develops in the individual’s outside environment… their social worlds? Are they by-products of society – Does this foster their thinking patterns?
WHAT IS SOCIAL LEARNING THEORY?
Albert Bandura was the noted psychologist who created the social learning theory and it explains why people think, feel and act as they do.
Basically, it asserts people model what they see and believe it to be true when it matches their perception of reality. They create their thoughts, or ways they think and act through repetition and this becomes their blueprint for their actions.
Everyone possesses constructs, ways in which they view the world. Many people think in terms of polarized thinking where everything is on a continuum. For example:
Good vs. bad
Right vs. wrong
Fun vs. boring
When individuals begin to think in polarized terms, they format blueprints for how they will perceive the world going forward, and whenever they experience anything they put it into their perceptual systems, and try to match it up to past experiences, or make it fit.
Keep in mind, their blueprints for perceiving and understanding the world could be faulty, and this could cause them to struggle with continual issues.
When you’re taught at a young age that certain things are true, you are unable to abstractly discern between what is right and wrong.
For example, if a son witnesses his father abuse his mother, he is going to develop the belief its okay for men to abuse women. He will later use these same beliefs and behaviors in his own relationships.
In Social Learning Theory, people often live their lives through others which are referred to as Looking Glass Self. This says you’re drawn to others who reflect your own personalities (beliefs, values, morals, standards, etc.). This summed up is, ‘Birds of a Feather Flock Together’.
People will seek each other out because they’re similar and reinforce one another.
Furthermore, your mental blue print will lead you to seek out similar experiences that match your existing thought processes.
When it comes to social learning theory and developing thought scripts based on your mental blue prints, often times faulty reasoning in your blueprints lead to faulty and even detrimental lifestyles – addictions, abuse, low self-esteem and even mental illness.
In social learning theory, habits (both good and bad) are often created through one’s experiences by desensitization and catharsis. Two big words that can be explained in simple terms.
WHAT IS DESENSITIZATION?
Desensitization is a term often linked with Social Learning.
It basically states that whatever stimulates you the most will only do so for a period of time before you have to move on to something stronger to produce similar excitation.
In essence, you build up a tolerance.
The more you experience something, say violence on television, the more likely you are to tolerate it and even get bored with it until something more violent comes along.
When you start to become desensitized too easily, you’re more likely to shift your focus onto something that will stimulate you based on your mental blue prints.
If you have good mental scripts (really good mental health) where your thinking is positive and you strive for personal growth which will lead to self-esteem building, then you’ll seek out positive experiences.
Conversely, if you have negative mental scripts, and low self-esteem, your blueprints are more likely going to be of a negative nature and you’ll seek out experiences and thought processes that produce the same or worse negative results. Or take something you do today and ramp it up to excess level!
Either way, one often times engages in behaviors that are cathartic – pleasurable, provide instant gratification, and relieve one from the stressors of their life. The problem comes when your cathartic experiences could be damaging, such as smoking, drinking, gambling or pornography.
WHAT IS CATHARSIS?
Catharsis is also a term often associated with Social Learning and De-Sensitization.
For anything to be cathartic, it has to have the ability to release stress and be very therapeutic for one’s mind and body.
Everyone has different thinking about what they deem as being good or bad, right or wrong, fun or boring, etc.
If you’ve an experience which makes you feel something is good, simulating and fun, then you would most likely choose activities as such because you find them to be stress releasing, and/or fun. These thoughts you’ve created for yourself are based on the mental blueprints you’ve formed for yourself, and your subconscious mind accepts them as gospel truths, even when they’re wrong or harmful.
If you start smoking or drinking because you believe these habits helps you take the edge off, while causing you to relax, then you’re more likely to engage in these activities because in your mind, you believe they work!
The problem is, they may ‘work‘ for a while, or help take the stress edge away, but your subconscious mind begins to believe you must have whatever it is you are using and/or abusing to function. When it gets to that point, you’ve created a necessity and when substances and vices are involved, it most likely evolves into a full blown addiction!
From this point forward, your blueprint is one that is weighted toward one that resembles an ‘addictive personality‘.
WHAT IS AN ADDICTIVE PERSONALITY?
Certain people as a result of their family background and/or childhood experiences are more prone to develop addictions to vices or substances than other people. This hinders their ability to find fulfillment, whether or not they actually develop specific addictions.
Their blueprint is based on low self-esteem, boredom and/or depression.
People with addictive personalities, usually possess the following traits:
- They’re in constant pursuit of pleasurable sensations.
- They constantly try to avoid pain, either physical or psychological.
- They constantly turn to whatever it is that makes them feel good (alcohol, smoking, pornography, eating, sex, gambling, TV, work, etc.) as a way to distract themselves from their problems.
- They believe that if they ignore the problems, they will just go away!
Individuals with addictive personalities, generally behave in negative ways that lead to a whole new set of problems, which lead to a whole new round of avoidance. What this means is the blueprints they possess for problem solving are negative and don’t change in order to create positive outcomes.
The addictive personality not only has low self-esteem but also loses the confidence in their ability to face their problems and change their patterns of negative behavior.
What happens is that most resort to avoidance behaviors and the problems recapitulate and grow deeper.
CREATING NEW BLUEPRINTS:
Are people destined to have ‘Groundhog Days‘, a line from the movie starring Bill Murray, destined to live their lives like negative broken records, or can they create change?
The answer is yes, change is possible if the individual is willing to consciously want to change things for them self, and sometimes this might require outside intervention and help.
First off, it’ll require you accepting the old ways of thinking and doing things are not working. When you accept this, then the second part will be required – CHANGE! You need to be willing to not only change your thinking, but how you go about processing information that leads to your thinking.
The best way to accomplish this feat is either through cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) -perhaps by seeing a therapist, cognitive monitoring (paying attention to what you are thinking or telling yourself), or through hypnosis under the guidance of a trained professional. If you want to consider working directly with me through my online or in-office sessions then check out my Hypnosis Services or if you’ve a specific need around this topic then contact me here.
There is an old saying, ‘Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water!’, and this applies here in that your old, negative thinking patterns may be bad, but it does not make you a bad person!
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOR MENTAL BLUEPRINTS:
This article is part of a three-part series covering hypnosis, mental blueprints, and pattern interrupts. Reading all three will give you a solid foundation in why we do things the way we do, how to change, and hypnosis’s role in change.
Suggested reading order and links to articles are:
- Guide to “What is Hypnosis?”
- Our Mental Blueprint – DNA for the Soul
- Pattern Interrupt – Breaking the Habit
Also, check out our Library of Self-Hypnosis Downloads Products >>>
Erika Slater CH
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