What happened to us as kids in our childhoods was not our fault. We’ve all carried damage from that life into the one we now live and, at times, that creates today’s problems. We need to decouple these two realities.
Chances are if we had neither parent as a stable and positive model for how people are to be fairly treated, we’ll perhaps have skewed images ourselves about how we’re to treat people. This is not our fault. We’re creatures of circumstance and we’ve merely adapted to our surroundings.
I mentioned Pavlov’s Dog recently, which is a psychological phenomenon proving that we—as well as dogs—are ‘conditioned’ to deal with life in certain ways. We’re constantly learning, and as children this was even more poignant.
It may surprise some to find this out:
The world does not perhaps see you as you think the world sees you. The world, in fact, sees us on even terms, without the wealth of emotional baggage we carry around at times. This is very good news!
It would be a blessing for each person to internalise this truth.
Challenging Our Conditioning
Being inappropriately conditioned in childhood is actually a very normal thing. Think about it; are there any perfect parents out there? I shudder to think about some of my mistakes as a parent! Fortunately, children are generally very forgiving of their parents.
As development theory would have it, our conditioning in childhood plays a dramatic role in further life.
Moreover, it doesn’t have to finish there. This is great news for any of us who are perhaps dogged, harangued and overwhelmed by our pasts and the conditioning we’ve now long since accepted as ‘us’. We can challenge it at any time.
Awareness and Action
These are two great strategies in improving anything. If we want to debunk some faulty conditioning we have to first become aware of the behaviour the faulty conditioning presents in—as well as the thinking behind it and the feelings behind the thoughts—and then once we’re aware, we act.
It sounds simple.
Chances are, however, that with decades of conditioning it’s going to take some time before all that faulty thinking—and the neural network pathways that support the thinking—are corrected.
But, there’s no time like now to start, besides, who really would want to stay in an inferior position, personally and interpersonally, if they could truly do something about it?
The World is Yours
We’ve all heard the battle-cry, “The world’s your oyster.”
The truth is it is. Your world is your world, to do with however you please, knowing beforehand the likely consequences for your actions.
So far as uncoupling one life from another is concerned, getting rid of those aspects of poor self-esteem, we’re most blessed in knowing that for every courageous step we take we’ll reap tangible and intangible benefit, and we’ll be sowing for a brighter future.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.