(This article contains spoilers, if you haven’t watched the finale yet wait before reading any further)

Yesterday my heart was pounding deep in my chest as I watched the finale of the Netflix show ‘Love is blind’. A show where people decide to marry without seeing each other. How? They meet in so called pods and based on their conversations they find out if there is an emotional connecting that could lead to marriage.  After agreeing to marry they can meet in person and they embark upon a vacation in Mexico. After their holiday they get back to their daily lives. Now they have four weeks to merge their lives together before making it to the altar where they have make their final decision.

Five couples actually decide to marry each other based on the conversations in the pods. And in the final episode we find out: is love really blind? It was a truly heart wrenching watch for me as I saw three of the five couple not making it. There was a pit in my stomach as I saw Kenny being rejected by what he thought was the love of his life. On the other hand, I cried rivers when I saw Cameron tear up as he saw Lauren, his (at that point possibly future wife) walk up towards him down the aisle.

I really needed some time to recuperate from this intense watch, but I also could not let it go. So many questions still running through my mind: “How is it now with the couples who didn’t make it. Are they still together? Are they still on speaking terms? How is it for all of them to watch this show now? Therefore, after watching I searched the internet and read a ton of articles about this show.  One question that keeps coming back, in articles as well as in the show itself, posed by immediate friends and family of the contestants: “Is this real?”.

I am assuming that by this question they mean is it really possible to fall in love through mere conversation. Is it really possible to belief that you are ready to marry someone after such a short amount of time, without actually seeing each other? Being a hypnotherapist, I think the answer to that question is: yes! Maybe at this point I need to explain a little bit about how the mind works from the perspective of hypnosis.

How the mind works                                                                                                                                         
To understand how the mind works it is also helpful to understand how our mind developed over time. Think about the way babies perceive the world.  Babies are fragile, they need other humans to help them survives. Therefore, it is important for babies to learn a lot of stuff in a short amount of time; to build resilience. Learning doesn’t go very fast when you analyse the things you learn. If you would have analysed language when you were growing up, you wouldn’t have learned it as fast, simply because language just doesn’t make sense! There are so many exceptions to rules it would be crazy to learn it by being analytical. So, you end up copying the language without question, you just accept it the way it is.

But somewhere, while growing up, the absorption of information without any filter changes. We don’t laugh as hard as we used to at someone hiding their face and shouting out “boooh” to us. We also don’t cry quite as loud as mummy doesn’t give us her breast anymore. (Probably if she does at this point it would be a reason to start crying.) So, what has changed?

Habits                                                                                                                                                                 
How would you go through breakfast every morning having to figure out how to move your hand to your mouth, how to hold a fork, or having to think of all the different breakfast possibilities before you make a decision? That is why we create internal habits. It is much more convenient to have habits, that take a minimal amount of conscious effort. A simple example of a habit: when the phone rings we pick it up without consciously thinking about the action.

For a breakfast routine this helpful as it saves us a lot of time. In other instances it can become problematic because we also create habits in our thoughts. For instance, one habitual thought can be: I need to smoke a cigarette to feel calm. This thought can be so habitual, that after a while you are not even aware of thinking it and instead you find yourself with a cigarette in your hand.

Habitual thoughts                                                                                                                                             
One habitual thought that I know I have is: “In order to be happy I need to find prince charming”. And I bet a lot of boys and girls have this thought in the back of their mind. Why? My theory is: every book I read, every movie I saw, every Netflix show I watch (well maybe not every show, but let’s say the big majority) has the arch of a girl falling in love with a guy, they marry and then the movie ends. I have seen this story arch play out so often that it has become a habitual thought.

When we have these thoughts running automatically in a way that we are not consciously aware of them, they are part of our subconscious mind. And the subconscious mind is a great part of us. It is the part of us that allows us to experience deep connections with other people. The part of us that makes us feel good when we do something we like. But it is also the part of us that wants to keep us safe. You can understand it as your personal juridical library. Everything you have ever experienced is stored there and from all these experiences certain laws where formed that govern your life from the background. Laws in the form of deep-seated beliefs.

Let’s play this out with my belief: “In order to be happy I need to find prince charming”. When I think of my future, instead of thinking about possible careers I think of a potential relationship. It influences the way I deal with a break-up of a relationship. Instead of thinking “yeah, that’s true, we want different things in life, we are not compatible”, I think “Oooh no, this is soo painful, I will never be happy”. It also comes back in never feeling sure about any relationship: “Is this my prince charming? Well I am not happy yet, so maybe not.”

Now let’s put this belief against reality:” Is it true that I can only find happiness when I meet my prince charming?” Common sense dictates me to say: no, of course not! I myself am responsible for my happiness. The problem with this is that even though rationally I do understand this, I cannot consciously steer my actions and feelings. My actions and feelings follow this deep subconscious belief!

How then can I change this?                                                                                                                             
Thinking back of the juridical library Have you seen how long it takes to change a law? So many statues have to be re-written and that is exactly how our subconscious feels about drastic changes: “Ain’t gonna happen, too much work’.  But it can happen under special circumstances.

One thing, and you might have guessed this is: LOVE! And the title “love is blind” is very apt indeed! Because when you are in love, you can change dramatically! For instance, brushing your teeth in the morning might not be a normal habit, but once you fall in love watch how easy it will be for you to brush your teeth every morning. And not only in the morning, multiple times a day! On the other hand of that spectrum, no matter how bad the breath is of your lover, you will not smell it! Because when you are in love you are governed by the belief: this person is perfect. Bad breath doesn’t go with the perfect person; hence your mind creates a filter, and doesn’t put your focus on the bad breath, instead you for instance get lost in their eyes!

You might have guessed that Love is a hypnotizing factor that can cause dramatic shifts in your subconscious beliefs.  But did you know there are also other factors that can cause hypnosis to happen naturally? For instance, authority figures such as parents, teachers, doctors, preachers, politician. In short: people in who we put our faith! And of course, this is useful, because authority figures have experiences and knowledge that we not have!

But it might be good to be aware of the mechanisms behind this. When we belief wat people say, the information goes into our subconscious unfiltered. Think of a parent warning a child who is carrying some plates: “be careful, you will drop it”! The child has no filter to block the suggestion. Unfiltered this is like a command. Can you see what happens if the child follows this suggestion literally? BOOM!, the plates go down.

When it comes to a suggestion like the one mentioned above it is harmless (except for those plates obviously). But think about suggestions (hopefully given with the best of intentions) like: “you are a bad boy/or girl”, “what wrong with you?!”, “you are so lazy, why can’t you ever do your homework”, “I am disappointed in you”. Now think of following these suggestions unfiltered (as if they are commands) and. just imagine in the background of your mind these little beliefs running your life?

These statements, when repeated frequently during childhood can grow into beliefs like: “I am not good enough” or “I am lazy”. And these beliefs can steer our actions. When another relationship breaks you think “Well that’s right, I am not good enough, I don’t deserve love.” Or when you can’t seem to find the job you want. “Well, it’s only fitting since I am lazy”.

Taking control over your life                                                                                                                             
How then can we govern our lives from a place of choice, instead of this automatic programming? It doesn’t seem that convenient to fall in love to do this or take advise from politicians. This is where hypnosis comes in! With hypnosis you can actually enter the subconscious part of your brain, through relaxation, and you can review the beliefs that have been put there.

This is why I no longer belief I need to find my prince charming to find happiness. I know that what I need to do to be happy is fall in love with myself first. Falling in love with yourself means believing at a deep level that you are worthy and that you deserve happiness.  When you have this deep-seated self-love and self-esteem you no longer need a relationship to for fill you. Rather you can start a balanced relationship with someone else to enrich your life even more.

Coming back to Love is blind and to sum up: I absolutely believe it was real, for the people in it. I think they genuinely fell in love and love made them believe that they could marry in such a short amount of time. It was also very real for me watching it, as I was feeling the nerves and the tears in my own body. I wish all the contestants, the best of luck for the future. And may they love themselves deeply, from this day forward, the rest of their lives, through sickness and health.