Have you ever overreacted? I mean, like out-of-the-blue lost it without even realizing why you were so upset? Sure, whatever happened sucked, but the level of anger, anxiety, fear, sadness or frustration you felt wasn't really appropriate to how sort-of-bad that one situation or "thing" was, right? Sure, we've all been there.
Some of us live there.
This happens all the time because when we are responding to something in our lives in the present or even in the future, we are reacting to every other time we've ever felt that way in our entire lives - we just aren't consciously aware of it.
This concept is "resonance." A lot of us know the word in music - if a guitar and a piano are in a room together (and both tuned to the other), if I strike a "G" on the piano, the G-string on the guitar will start to play, responding just to the vibrations in the air. Sympathetic resonance. Most of us know the idea in metaphorical ways relating to our thoughts or emotions, too: "that idea resonates in me," or "that scene really resonated with me." The feeling that something that happens can remind us, or make us feel deeply, or connect us with a thought or emotion isn't new. But the psychology of it might be.
Our subconscious mind is a vast and limitless reservoir of all our experiences - memories, thoughts, sensations, reflections, lessons, information, feelings, and so on. Everything we've ever experienced is in there, filed away with other similar or associated experiences for easy and quick retrieval. But our conscious mind isn't nearly as vast or capable. Our conscious mind is like a laser: powerful and focused, but narrow in scope.
Our mind is designed to be efficient and streamline our reactions. We don't have to re-learn how to tie our shoelaces every morning, how to make breakfast or get to work. Our ancestors couldn't have survived if they had to re-learn every time whether a Saber-tooth tiger was dangerous, or a particular plant poisonous, or another human being a friend (or enemy). Our brain categorizes our experiences and lessons learned in a dizzying variety of ways, but all aimed at conserving energy, so we can focus on novel, interesting and productive new ways of being.
Resonance, in this context, is this feature of our mind in which a new experience that "feels like" or "seems like" something that is already on file in the subconscious mind is automatically associated with our previous experiences - and all those feelings come up again, telling us what to do, how we should feel, how to react (without our conscious awareness, since that would reduce the efficiency). We flinch at the incoming football. We slam on the brakes before we hit the kid chasing the ball. We warm to our lover's touch. (Or, as in one personal experience, I know just by the smell of amaretto that I don't want to repeat that one night in college.)
This is, generally, a really helpful adaptation. But one of the downsides of this extraordinary capability is that our subconscious mind - all those associations, files, scripts and programs - are difficult to change. Especially if we're hoping to change them with will-power alone. Will-power is, of course, a quality of the conscious mind - part of that powerful laser-like attention we can direct at things. Unfortunately, will-power, like the conscious mind, is limited in scope and duration. It is a finite resource. In short, we get tired and it runs out.
Have you ever tried to change a habit or belief by will-power alone? Even if you were successful, I doubt you'd describe it as an easy process. And if it worked for you, then you're the lucky one.
Basically there's only three ways to change those deep, long-running scripts in the subconscious: significant traumatic experience (like the aforementioned night in college chasing that bottle of amaretto), a protracted, repeated experience, and hypnosis.
The last is because hypnosis is able to work directly with the subconscious and intentionally re-wire some of that programming.
Resonance dominates our lives - it enters virtually every emotion, every habitual act, every deeply held belief, every assumption about our world, good or bad. Most powerfully, because it operates in the background, we are very rarely consciously aware of it. Whenever we react - especially when we overreact - it is there, strumming our heartstrings.
That is why something so seemingly trivial (in any other context) can trigger such a disproportionate response. We aren't just responding to it, but to every other time in our lives when we felt that way. Which, if we think about it in that sense, we weren't "overreacting" at all - our response was perfectly appropriate for a lifetime of associated anger, fear, sadness, guilt, frustration or the like.
Oftentimes, when we are worried about something in the future, it is really a subconscious projection of all those past experiences into an expectation of that future event. Our fear or foreboding isn't about that upcoming speech, confrontation or first date at all, but really about all those feelings and experiences from our past. But we can't go back and examine the code underlying our reactions, because it is all buried in the subconscious.
At least, not with our conscious attention alone.
One of the most powerful tools for human minds available is the ability to examine - and reprogram - that background script or code running our operating system through hypnosis.
Contact a hypnotist or hypnotherapist you trust and ask them about how they can help you understand why you respond the way you do. Tune your heartstrings the way you want, and they will resonate with real beauty.