What an interesting week it has been. This week made me really contemplate what I believe to be the emotional tools needed to find that deeper perseverance within. It’s curious to think that there are genuine emotional tools that help to reshape our mindset and shift our focus back to a place of more conscious living, but we have been conditioned, and it takes tools to undo that conditioning.
Today I was out in the sunshine strolling with an eleven-week old puppy. She is beyond adorable with her wily fur, deadly needle teeth, and sheer curiosity for life. We came upon an adult dog that I have known for years, and I was able to offer her an opportunity for safe socialization. How magical to watch this puppy navigate play. How she instinctively knew to get low to the ground to show her submission. How she would gently maneuver her paw to ever-so-slightly touch the adult dog’s arm to show her interest in romping. It was dazzling to see how quickly she learned the cues she was receiving, and watch her boldly make choices of how to respond. Within mere seconds they had both read each other as safe, and they were at it! It was simply pure joy to witness!
It dawned on me that what I was witnessing was a soul learning conditioning. She was learning what actions elicited the response she was seeking. It made me think of a poignant Tony Robbins quote: “You are exactly who you were conditioned to be.” How each human reaches out for love is all based on their conditioning from their childhood years. For some, they required bold action to garner attention; for others, they were more loved when they were quiet; and still, for others, their love was recognized when they were successful at something. This is an endless list, you see, of what we interpreted to mean we were being loved. I say interpreted because it genuinely was the inner workings of a child’s mind trying to determine how to navigate life in order to feel loved and have the love they could offer be received and accepted.
The seemingly unbelievable part of this is that most of us are still navigating love from the learnings interpreted from that child. What my young puppy friend learned today she will draw on time and time again to elicit the same response. She will begin to carve out, as we all did, how to have love, safety, and belonging in her life. As adults, we can look on this concept and say, well, that will only work some of the time with some of the people, right? Not everyone wants their arm lightly tapped by a playful, curious paw; some might respond aggressively to that based on their own conditioning. As children though, we were not capable of recognizing this truth – that reactions are based on another person’s conditioning. We made all those reactions personal, and continued to carve into our beliefs routes and re-routes. We made it something that we failed at, or that we weren’t good enough for, or that we didn’t deserve. And, those held concepts still live in all of us to a certain extent.
These carved pathways created our expectations of how others should behave, or react. They determine how we judge others from our place of “should.“ They decided what we believed to be true about others, and life. These childhood perceptions are the basis of most people’s reality. This conditioning is what keeps patterns reciprocating in our life, for better or for worse. This conditioning determines our focus, and thus our outlook on ourselves, others, and life. That’s a big one! What we focus on is what is real to us, and our conditioning is determining that!
I began talking about perseverance, and the emotional tools needed to cultivate our internal perseverance. However, allow me to be clear; this is not persevering in the same direction we were already trudging but rather carving out new pathways that reshape our conditioning to be a reflection of who we are becoming, or dare I say, who we are underneath all of that conditioning that is no longer serving our life.
How can you be a puppy in new situations, and allow yourself to trust in your instincts or deeper self? How can you set yourself free of other people’s conditioning without allowing it to become a part of yours? How can you free yourself to find yourself again?