The Collective Unconscious – Are you bought in?

Posted June 26, 2013 by Rebecca Niziol in On the Ladder

Remember when you were a kid? You wanted to be an astronaut, or a safari guide, or a Hollywood actress. You weren’t afraid to dream big and believe it was possible for you… flying to the moon, hanging out with lions, and starring on the big screen.

And then you grew up.

Those dreams probably died. It was likely between high school and your first job (or trying to land your first job). You were told and you learned that life doesn’t go the way you want it to. You started to believe life doesn’t always allow you to live out your dreams. At that point did you give up your dream career in order to settle taking that job that pays the bills? The rest of the world makes it really easy to give up on that vision of your life, because they did too. Misery loves company. If everyone else “has to” struggle through a job they hate, a marriage that isn’t a good fit, and an overall disdain for the way life is panning out… do you have to as well?

Now I’m not saying that everyone lives life this way. There are many people living happy, fulfilled lives. They are yet to be the majority though. If you’re one of those people, you probably know how much work it is to consciously choose to stay true to yourself, because it can often feel like you’re marching to the beat of your own weird drum.

As humans we are drawn to each other, to connection. We want to feel like we belong and that we are loved. Those needs run so deep that sometimes they mask over our needs to be authentic and purposeful. When we choose to do what the rest of the group does, we feel for a moment that we belong. When we ignore our own dreams to support someone else’s we feel supportive. When we give into the way society thinks we feel we have a point of connection with the people around us, even if its through frustration or disappointment.

Carl Jung coined the term collective unconscious: A collection of societal beliefs, ideas, and mindsets that influence an individual’s perspective.

The collective unconscious is extremely powerful as it largely shapes the way you view the world around you. It dictates many of your values and choices. As the words infer it operates at an unconscious level, creating autonomous reactions in your nervous system through your experiences.

If you step into a corporate office or sit on a city train you can get an idea of what our collective unconscious reflects – a dim and harsh world. The power of this societal unconscious mind grows every time someone buys into it and gives up their dreams about what’s possible for them. The reverse is true as well.

Together we have the ability to change the collective unconscious.

We can create a world where we believe things will work out… because they always do. It won’t happen overnight, or maybe even during our lifetime. But it is possible to re-empower the belief that our dreams can come alive. Each time you honor yourself and choose to live from a place of possibility you shift focus and energy towards what you want – happiness, success, abundance, love, and fulfillment.

It starts with awareness – personal consciousness. The majority of our stress and tension comes from a largely unconscious place. Think about the last time you got upset. Did you choose to feel upset? Or did you just become upset, and then a moment later notice that feeling? When we live our lives unconsciously we aren’t making choices, we are merely reacting to a automatic programming of sorts. We lose our power to create, experience pure joy, and live above our stress reaction.

Living the life you want isn’t a matter of your financial situation, education, or luck. It’s a choice, or a never-ending loop of choices, that you make to transform your desires into reality. In theory it’s really easy… you put constant energy and effort into focusing on what you want. That’s where the collective unconscious comes in and makes it more challenging.

Your friends, your family, your co-workers, the media… Not everyone will support the choices you are making, especially if your choices challenge the beliefs and ways of the collective unconscious. Because most people are bought into the collective viewpoint: life is hard, things don’t work out, we have to struggle through. One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself when looking at beliefs and ideas from our collective unconscious is: How true is this for me?

  • Do you believe life is hard?
  • Do you know with 100% confidence that things won’t work out?
  • Do you think you have to struggle through life?

Challenge your own beliefs and ideas. Notice if they come from your own mind or from the collective unconscious, and ask yourself: “Is this working for me?” If not, make a conscious choice towards something else. Your life will transform, and so will the world around you.

About the Author

Rebecca Niziol

Rebecca Niziol, ELI-MP, is many things: a life coach, yoga teacher, dancer, event planner, connection catalyst, and your new best friend. Her mission is to empower others to live the authentic life of their dreams. After years of traveling North America and Europe, she is happy to have found a home and community in Chicago.