The other day I was sitting in my livingroom writing in my journal. It was late at night and I couldn’t sleep. Something was really bothering me and I couldn’t quite put my finger in it. Have you ever had those kind of moments? Lately for me they have been often. In this case it was about how I was feeling around a certain group of people. It was one of those things where when around them I always felt like I could not be me and I often left judging myself and feeling inadequate. That is when the lightbulb sort of speak came on. As i continued to journal about the kind of people I want to be surrounded by and how I want to see myself that I realized I had struck a nerve. The nerve of a suppressed issue in my subconscious. I knew I needed to get to the root of it if I wanted to overcome it. How did I find the root issue?
Mind mapping is nothing new. It’s been around for a long time. It’s often used when writing books, scripts and designing marketing campaigns. It’s a way to braindump ideas without thinking too much about them and then later organizing them and seeing what is the common or main idea/ pattern is. I’ve used this for years in my career but for some reason never used it for my personal life until now.
Here is an example of what mind mapping looks like:
Why is mind mapping so powerful?
Rather than going on a book reading binge or trying to find someone who could figure you out, when we engage in mind mapping, we’re getting to know ourselves. We get to know up close and personal, how we think, what we believe and where the belief came from. We also get to identify what is hindering us, what doesn’t align with where we want to go or become, and what dominant toxic thinking patterns we need to change.
You can do this digitally or on some paper. It’s all up to you. I do it using an app for my Mac called Simple Mind. I use it for mapping out books, courses, projects, ideas and now my thoughts. IT cost $29 in the app store and well worth it. They also have a free version. It doesn’t have as many features, but if you’re just using it to figure out your thoughts and work on the mind blocks then the free version is plenty.
Now let’s break down each section of the mind map.
Subject • thought • problem: This is where you write down what you want to work on. Make sure it’s just one thing. trying to work on more than one thing will overwhelm you and get you to quit before you even start. Focus is key. Mind blocks need to be removed one at a time.
Idea • Thoughts • Feelings: This is where the work begins. Create a bubble for each thought, feeling or idea that comes to mind about that subject. You may have just a few or you may have a whole bunch. It’s perfectly ok either way. The point of this is to identify what your subconscious is saying about that subject. In most cases it will be a combination of positive and negative. That is ok too. Just focus on writing them down.
Why you feel, think or want this: Now we’re thinking and digging deep. To whatever you wrote in the Idea bubbles, you’re going to ask WHY? This is critical. This is where you begin to discover your mindset and where it came from. In my case I found out that the reason I was feeling that way around those individuals was rooted in a fear or rejection and a desire for approval! Talk about vulnerability right there. This discovery lead to me realizing that those particular relationships I was trying to hang on to where toxic. It helped me see that those individuals were not the right people to have in my life. I also realized that there was some wounds that needed some healing. Those wounds were subconsciously leading me into befriending and entering relationships with the wrong people. Powerful!
Once you’ve figured out the root issue, it is time to focus on working on that. This will be a journey, not a one time thing. You work on it for as long as you need to. The point of this is to work on it until your behavior patterns change and you begin to see the results you want. You can work on the issue by getting together with a therapist or counselor, books, etc. The most important thing is that you work on the issue in a healthy and productive way. So don’t be afraid to reach out for help. It can take anywhere from a month to several months to change the patterns of behavior. That’s ok, this is helping you grow and become who you have always been and created to be since birth. It’s worth the work. The end results will be something you can be proud of.