The majority of our thoughts and feelings are outside of our conscious awareness. Sometimes the unconscious stuff creates problems with the way we feel or behave or experience the world.
The trouble with solving an unconscious problem, is that it is... well... unconscious. And unfortunately, it is usually perceived quite clearly by others, though these perceptions are usually not in conscious awareness either. So others may react to you but they most likely are unable to tell you what causes their reaction.
How do you know if you have an unconscious problem? Unconscious problems give themselves away in important ways. Here are some patterns to look for.
Your actions repeatedly get surprising results. For example, you fail against all odds in jobs, relationships or business activities despite taking the correct actions in the appropriate wasy. This happens to everyone sometimes, but when it happens a lot, you could be sabotaging yourself with unconscious expectations to fail.
You sometimes get weird responses from people. Perhaps you say good morning to a colleague and get an angry response - and this is not an isolated case. You sometimes get bizarrely angry responses from various people. Or it could be that you are frequently misunderstood when you think you are being quite clear. You or other people catch you saying something different than you intended to say.
You react in ways you cannot explain. You are hurt by innocuous remarks, or become emotional out of proportion when cut off in traffic. Conversely, you could find you suddenly lack empathy with someone about whom you would normally care. Another form of this is self sabotage; giving out the wrong phone number, being late for important meetings, and so on.
Discomfort for no apparent reason, that follows a pattern can indicate a subconscious problem. If you always get a backache after staying with your in-laws, it may not be the mattress. The stomach ache on Monday can be a reaction to your job - or the stress accumulated over a weekend with a difficult family member. You may simply find that you have a low or grumpy mood you cannot explain when life seems to be going quite well.
The very easiest way to identify unconscious material is to notice the feelings it generates.
Identify a situation in which your behavior or that of others does not seem to make sense. Just notice your body for five or ten minutes as you think about these things and notice what dicomfort arises. What emotions does it make you think of? Can you see a reason why you might feel that way.
For example, you may find you are late to meetings with one particular department head. You pay attention to your feelings and become angry. You realize this person has been subtly disrespectful, or reminds you of an evil babysitter you had, or looks like your ex. There is not much you can do about any of these things. However, becoming conscious of it, you may be able to make the meetings on time now, so you do not get a reputation for tardiness.
Often, identifying the reason for the feeling does not resolve it. Also, feelings travel in packs, like delinquent teenagers, so you may encounter many similar ones. See How to Release Feelings for tips on dealing with the feelings that are triggered by unconscious material.