Yesterday we talked about how most of thinking process is unconscious and happens below our awareness. So, if most of our thinking is unconscious, then how do we make our unconscious thinking work for us?
Let's dig in.
When I first came to understand what I'm about to share with you, I found it quite depressing. So, brace yourself.
For all of us, our critical filter develops before we enter our teen years. Around 13-14 years, we form our filtering mechanism in our minds. What is right/wrong? what is good/bad? What to believe? What not to believe?
Essentially, your environment, exposure, and close relationships in your early life significantly influence the development of your unconscious. After reaching the age of 14, every thought is passed through THE critical filter, leading to the formation of opinions, judgments, preferences, beliefs, values, and more.
This is disheartening because once the critical filters are cemented, it becomes extremely difficult to change them. They form so early that neither I nor my parents have any awareness of it. As a result, my identity develops unconsciously.
My next quest was to understand, how to change my critical filters at a later stage of life?
This is where inner work becomes important. To a large extent, your therapist also focuses on this. Those who have experienced therapy know how hard this shit is. It requires intentional and intense effort. There's no shortcut. Many of us spend a lifetime without acknowledging our critical filters, living with the proud declaration, "This is ME."
You can rewrite your critical filters without spending a lot on therapy. This process requires substantial self-awareness so you can serve as your own mechanic, fixing issues as they arise. This in itself is a skill. To develop it, you need flexibility and openness, as well as a willingness to let go of your old self. Change is challenging, but not impossible.
If you are parents and you are reading this, be extremely careful what you expose your children to in their early age. Craft an environment that positively develops their critical filters. This is why your therapist keeps digging into your early childhood and associated traumas.
If you are a designer and you are trying to understand your customer, the first step is to acknowledge that both you and your customer are human. Your critical filters may affect how you interpret data, possibly causing you to perceive things differently than they actually are.
Having discussed critical filters, we should explore cognitive distortions and biases in human beings in our next discussion.
🥂 to human development!