“Subtext” is a term used in literature and film which refers generally to the "text beneath the text" or the meaning beneath the words and/or actions of the characters in these venues. It pertains to meaning which is not announced explicitly by the characters or author, but is implicit or becomes something understood by the observer of the work as the production unfolds. Subtext is content underneath the dialogue. Under dialogue, there can be conflict, anger, competition, pride, showing off, or other implicit ideas and emotions. Subtext is the unspoken thoughts and motives of characters—what they really think and believe.
I’d been working as a professional writer for some time before I realized how extensively subtext applies to people, too—all of us. We can’t control how others perceive us, but we have complete control over what we project out into the world. To some extent we all shapeshift or mutate to create the image of us we want others to see. How often do we speak freely in an employment environment? Do we rush to speak our minds in a tense family environment? It’s been my observation that in those situations we tend to keep our opinions to ourselves and either remain quiet or speak at best a partial truth of our thoughts and opinions. By becoming aware of subtext and then studying and observing it, we can engage our intuition and make our life experience easier. I’ve found five ways in which to use subtext to help engage and heighten intuition.
- Remind yourself that you have psychic abilities. We all have intuitive skills of various degrees. You may not be providing professional psychic consultations with clients, but you regularly make important connections that you need to make in your life. You might know when your child is sick at school or when your best friend across the country is going through a hard time and in those situations you take appropriate action. Remember that intuition is like a muscle; it’s an intangible muscle which strengthens every time you flex it. The more you engage and work with your intuition, the more psychic you become. Awareness of your intuitive abilities helps you engage them.
- Be willing to temporarily set aside all beliefs you’ve ever held. This provides an interesting challenge. As soon as we’re born, we’re constantly told by others what life is like. Our reality is dictated to us. Our subconscious absorbs this and accepts everything as true, regardless of whether or not the information is in fact true. The amount and severity of beliefs we possess is phenomenal and I won’t go into the extent of that in this post. Don’t worry. You can come back to all your beliefs. It helps, however, to at least temporarily set them aside when examining subtext because beliefs can block us from fully utilizing our intuition. If a belief we hold does not include intuition or the subject(s) of our intuitive impression, we can block this information at a subconscious level. When you want to study subtext, pretend you’re a new born baby or you’ve just come here from another dimension without any knowledge of this one. When a belief comes creeping in, ask yourself, “What if this isn’t true?” Become a clean slate.
- When you get the impression, in whatever way your intuition works for you, that there’s more to what someone’s saying, honor that. Don’t push that guidance aside. It’s been given to you for a reason and while we don’t necessarily need to know the reason why it’s been given, it can greatly benefit us to both acknowledge that subtext is coming into play and to consider the impressions we get concerning what’s behind the subtext because it can give us understanding on a variety of different levels.
- Absent any impressions you may receive concerning what may be hidden behind another’s words and/or actions, be aware that subtext exists for everyone, to some extent all the time. How are you displaying yourself to the world? Is this the manner in which you want to continue to present yourself , or do you want to make changes? Being mindful of it and its ubiquitous presence in our lives can take your intuition to the next level.
- Choose how or if you will respond to the subtextual information. I’ve discovered that it’s often best to keep the subtextual information I receive to myself. If I feel I need to get more information to follow up on the subtextual impressions I’ve been given, I’ll conduct whatever independent investigation I’m guided to perform. To call someone out on what he or she is saying based upon subtextual information may be appropriate on certain occasions, but most of the time it benefits no one to put someone on the defensive. Think of how you’ve responded when you’ve been put in that situation.