I’m sure you’ve all had situations, positive or traumatic that have shaped your lives. Either propelled you forward or stopped you in your tracks. But what many of you don’t know is many decisions made in childhood, during those early years when we are most vulnerable, are made subconsciously and we aren’t even aware that we made them. But worse, these programs continue to run without our knowledge, into our adulthood, much like a virus on a computer running in the background, sabotaging our success and happiness.

The decision I made as a shy, sensitive 6-year-old is an excellent example. I was attending parochial school and our teacher, a strict Benedictine nun, the kind that rapped knuckles with rulers and pulled little boys’ hair, was conducting an exercise to determine how well we listened to instructions. Of course I was oblivious to all of this, I was too busy talking to my neighbor. It was a simple exercise, all we had to do was color an angel a certain color, but that color was determined by the row you sat in.  And I hadn’t paid any attention as she had explained she wanted this row down to that child to color it red violet and this row down that child to color it yellow green.

Well I realized something was going on because all the children around me were coloring their angels. I looked at the little girl next to me who was busy coloring her angel red violet, so wanting to fit in and  thinking I was doing the right thing, I picked up my red violet crayon. Hardly five minutes had gone by when I heard a very loud stern voice exclaim “Catherine, you didn’t follow directions!” There was the nun, contorted face and looking like a black witch from hell hovering over me.

Being the insecure kid I was at the time, I thought I had committed a mortal sin. In my child-like mind I decided it most have been the ultimate, unforgiveable sin and I was about to die and the hands of this black devil.

Well obviously I survived but what I did not know at the time was that I had made a very strong subconscious decision. A decision that remained hidden for many, many years afterwards. And that was, I would not trust my own decisions. It was the minds way of protecting itself, a coping survival mechanism. All I knew was I didn’t ever want to experience that kind of upset or fear ever again. But I had made the decision and the program was now in place protecting me, yes, but  sabotaging my dreams every step of the way.

When the time came to make important life decisions, I could not make them. I relied on friends and relatives to make them for me. I was too afraid of making the wrong decision. That subconscious program was fulfilling its mission.

Where it really stopped me cold was my career, I chose journalism as my field and worked at small town newspapers as a reporter for a few years out of college. But it was long hours and low pay and I had dreams, but my dreams never panned out. I was too afraid of failing, not having the courage to push on when I hit a road block.  I felt like a victim and one of my familiar mantras in my head was “why me?”

So where did I end up for most of my life? In a call center where your every move is controlled. You can’t even decide when to go lunch or go to the bathroom. You are nothing more than a robot cranking out numbers.

But luckily the universe or God was looking out for me and I attended a spiritual retreat ten years ago where I did discover and let go of this hidden sabotaging program. You talk about an “aha” moment when the facilitator pointed it out to me. It was freedom to me.

Since that time I have let go of and released many limiting subconscious beliefs, stepped into my power and embraced my authentic self. And my journey continues.

What about you?  Did you have some childhood trauma that is holding you back from living your dreams in your adulthood? Perhaps it is a subconscious program like mine. I can help you uncover them and help you step into your power.  I would love for you to share your stories. Please respond to this e-mail and let’s talk.