It might be valuable to note if you have a particular pattern of using association and disassociation. There are many people who spend most of their time disassociated from most of their representations. They seldom seem to be emotionally moved by anything. Disassociation has its advantage; if you keep out of too deep emotions about some things, you have more resources in handling them. However, if this is your consistent pattern of representing most of your experiences in life, you are really missing the juice of life, a tremendous amount of joy. Conservative people were limited in expressing what they felt about their lives and set up new perceptual patterns for them. By greatly increasing their associated internal representations they have come alive and found life to be a whole new experience.
On the other hand, if all or the vast majority of your internal representations are fully associated, you may find yourself an emotional misfit. You may have great difficulty coping with life because you feel every little thing, and life isn’t always fun or easy or exciting. A person who is fully associated with everything in life is extremely vulnerable and will usually take things too personally.
The key to life is a balance in all things, including the perceptual filters of association and disassociation. We can associate with or disassociate from anything we want. The key is to associate consciously, so it helps us. We can control any representation we make in our brain. Remember when we learned about the power of our beliefs, we learned that we are not born with beliefs that they can change. When we were little we believed some things that we think are ridiculous now. How do we adopt the enabling beliefs and drop the negative ones? The first step was becoming aware of their powerful effects on our lives. For if you change the structure of how you represent something to your self, you will change how you feel about it and thus change what is true in your experience of life. You can represent things to yourself in a way that consistently empowers you now.
Remember, a belief is a strong emotional state of certainty that you hold about specific people, things, ideas, or experiences of life. How do you create that certainty? Through specific sub-modalities. Do you think you’d be as certain about something that is dim, unfocused, tiny and far away in your mind as you would be about be about something that is just the opposite?
Also, your brain has a filing system. Some people store the things they believe on the left, things they are not sure about on the right. This sounds ridiculous, yet you can change a person who has this coding system simply by having him, for example, take the things he’s not sure of from the right and put them on the left, where his brain files things he believes. As soon as he does, he begins to feel certain. He begins to believe in an idea or concept that only a moment ago he was uncertain about.
This changing of beliefs is done simply by contrasting how you represent something you absolutely know to be true with something you’re not sure of. Start with some belief you are totally sure of that your name is John Smith, you are thirty-five years old, and you were born in Atlanta, Georgia, or that you love your kids with all your heart or that Miles Davis is the greatest trumpeter in history. Think of something you believe without reservation, something you are totally convinced is true.