You are welcome
It’s hard to explain some things, because we frankly don’t have good words to explain internal phenomenon.
Let me try to make a bit simpler.
I’m going to use an example from my own life. I love being in shape and working out; I’ve worked out most of my life, but there is always a plateau I hit, where it seems that no matter how much I want to continue, shit in my life seems to overwhelm me and I start missing them. In such times, I start to feel overwhelmed, and start to doubt my ability to stick with my workouts.
When I start to think about my feelings about me missing my workouts, this is added to my pain that I already feel guilty about not working out in general. I start to add feelings of frustration and disappointment to my already existing feelings of being overwhelmed.
The more I feel negative feelings about not working out, and about why I have not worked out, the more negative feelings just keep piling up on top of each other, until even thinking of working out is painful, so my mind begins to hide the idea from working out from me. My mind will literally keep me away from anything having to do with working out, just because of all the painful emotions attached to that idea for me.
Now, fast forward into the future; I am not as overwhelmed in my life anymore, and now I want to get fit, and I have the time to do it. I try going to the gym, but I feel completely de-motivated, I feel tired, I feel depressed about the way I look, etc.
What’s happening, is that my unconscious mind is under the programming of “keep him away from anything to do with working out, because it’s too painful for him to be aware of” While my conscious mind is now thinking “this would be a good time to start working out again”. There is a serious disconnect, but the unconscious mind is just trying to protect me from all those painful emotions.
When I do want to workout, I am kept from working out, because my unconscious has hidden the idea from my conscious mind, in order to keep me from having to deal with these painful emotions.
If I get mad at myself, and say “what the hell? why can’t I just get up and workout?!” I basically am just adding more negative feelings to what is already there, and the pain becomes greater.
The way out of this is to begin to use mindfulness meditation, so that I can begin to experience some of these feelings, and just let them be - not judge them critically, but just accept them. Benign attention basically means a quality of attention that has an overall positive judgement about something (“this is good” “that’s okay” “I wonder what this is?” etc.) Anytime you are curious, positive, accepting, etc you are using benign attention.
What really begins to open areas of our mind, which are currently closed to us, is using this benign attention and experiencing these painful emotions. Once I’m able to experience these painful emotions, my unconscious mind does not need to protect me from them any longer, so it will not try to keep me away from working out.
Does this make sense? I hope the example helps to clarify things a bit.
Relating the above to your situation, you said you were doubting how attractive you were, feeling attractive one day, but then feeling unattractive the next day, and wondering if it was just the make up. Your mind is trying to protect you from something (is my suspicion), and the more negative feelings you add to it, the harder it will try to protect you from it.
The way out is to feel feelings like “I don’t feel attractive today” and just be okay with it. There is a part of me that feels unattractive…okay, that’s okay. I wonder why I don’t feel attractive right now. ← that sort of thing is using benign attention upon those feelings.
As you begin to accept these feelings are there, more and more will open up to you, and finally, you will be given awareness of what is really causing these feelings, because your mind will not be trying to protect you from them.
My original comment was in regards to someone saying you have to be careful to not give credit to the subs you are running, when you get any kind of a good experience, and I whole-heartedly agree, because your mind will basically do whatever you tell it to. If you begin to add more feelings of pain to what’s already there, even when running the sub, it could begin to attach feelings of pain to the sub, and then affect its effectiveness in your life.
Practicing mindfulness meditation is an excellent way to increase your ability to handle strong, painful feelings) because of a process called metacognition (basically, thinking about your experiences - breathing, feelings, walking, smelling, sitting, etc.). I can give you more info about this if you’d like.
As for Jung’s Active Imagination, that is a very deep subject, but in a nutshell, it’s using your imagination to communicate with your unconscious mind via the symbols it chooses. It’s a very rewarding exercise, and I can give you more info about it if you are interested.
Hope this finds you well.