We come into this world a clean slate and over time we are conditioned and programmed with other people’s beliefs, judgements, superstitions and prejudices. By the time we hit our teenage years; these programs have become firmly entrenched in our mind and influence not only our thinking, but also our behaviours and perceptions. Since they are so deeply embedded in us, most people rarely understand how these false premises are affecting them in adulthood.
One of the most detrimental beliefs prevalent within our world is that of conditional love. Most of us we grew up being told, “I will love you only if...” Words that were uttered by our parents or authority figures which implied if we did what we were told we would be loved. What this belief structure did was initiate us into a state of fear. It is a fear that over time has gathered strength, and as adults, keeps us trapped in a pattern of reactionary living. It is a mode of living where in the background of our minds there is a recording that is continually playing the lyrics: ‘you aren’t loved’ or ‘you don’t belong’ or ‘you aren’t good enough’.
To further add to the problem, at an early age we were taught that if we do not fit into the prescribed societal model, we are considered failures. It is at this point, we are essentially taught that we cannot rely on our own inner guidance system. In an effort to conform, we gave up our true talents/desires and exchanged them for an approved career. One that will ensure we shall be good contributors to society.
The emphasis on careers is further accentuated with the concept of competition and we were taught early on that life is a power game of manipulating people and situations to get what you want. Love comes with strings. The ends justify the means. Power and ambition are the worthwhile characteristics to cultivate and there is no glory for second place.
Coupled with the belief in competition, we have also been indoctrinated into consumption driven behaviours where everything is either consumed, bought or swallowed in an effort to avoid anxiety, boredom and emptiness. The problem with the formula is one feels only a momentary reprieve and the root cause is never addressed.
Our desire to be consumers of products and commodities has meant that we have learned to tie our value and self worth to our possessions. In addition, the success of our economy is not measured by the quality of the products we produce but by the quantity. We have learned to become enamoured with things and technical gadgets because it is easier to manipulate or control them then to love another. Everything in our life is tied to our own saleability and we have become a collector and user where our central experience of life has become: I have, and I use instead of I am.
The belief we accepted as a child that love comes with strings has created adults who have built walls around themselves where security lies in conformity, our values come from the marketplace and our leisure time is managed by an amusement industry that creates the desire for pleasure and excitement not joy. The fast ride on the Ducati only brings a momentary high but doesn’t fulfill our basic need to be loved for who we really are.
No matter where you are on the age spectrum you have the power to release yourself from childhood or societal programming. You can:
1. Become conscious of the proprietary feelings that you use to describe your life. Your experiences in life are not possessions. I am does not equal what I have and what I consume.
2. Instead of asking yourself: “Am I loved?” Ask yourself: “Can I love?
3. Move from reacting from your old programs and start responding to the moment. When something happens, stop and count to ten before you speak.
4. Silence gives value to your words. Practice silence.
5. The starting point in all change begins with the self. First radiate unconditional love and acceptance for yourself. It will flow outward and provide you with enormous returns on your investment.