Self Mastery

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Conditional Love

How We Learned to Love  Conditionally

I’m going to assume you had well adjusted parents. If you didn’t, then just amplify the impact of what you are reading here by the amount of extra drama growing up. Your parents, even if well adjusted, had two important roles in your childhood. They loved you and wanted you to know that you were loved, no matter what, unconditionally. It’s an important component of being happy.  Except the second role they played in your childhood would interfere with this understanding. Your parents had to prepare you for the real world. They had to teach you to be responsible, respectful, follow the rules of the household so that you would follow the laws of society. All of this is necessary for you to be responsible, take care of your self, and others, so that you can have a fulfilling life. This meant that you learned to act upon consequences of punishments and rewards.  In short, you learned conditional love, acceptance, and approval of yourself in the process. When your parents punished you, your experience of their love was that it was conditional. From this, it is likely your whole experience of love became skewed. Love, acceptance, and approval became something that you had to earn.

So let this sink in for a bit. Your primary relationships, your first bonds with other humans are based on the patterns you learn from your parents. You learn that they love you, and that included in that relationship that they can also be disappointed, frustrated, annoyed, angry and dismissive of you. Your experience of “love” includes all these other emotions.

They love you if you do what they want. They shame, guilt, reject, or punish you if you don’t follow their rules. You learn to condition your behavior to appease their emotions and beliefs. You learn to watch their facial expressions for any sign that they will give you “that look”, or any other bit of negative attention. You learn, until it is unconscious and automatic, to try to appease them and make them happy. You learn that if you follow their emotional conditioning that you will get loved. You learn that if you violate their protocols, that you will get some negative emotions of rejection. You learn that you don’t feel good about yourself, unless you have acted in a way that makes them feel good first. You condition yourself to please them as a means to gain a feeling of self-worth, happiness, and love.

In the Self Mastery Course you will discover this  leads to the development of the sub-personality that I call the “Pleaser”, which we identify and dismantle.

Your Mind Begins to “Self Parent” your behavior with it’s own Voices.

Over time growing up a part of your brain is continually reminding you to behave in a way that they would approve of and avoid doing things that they will get upset about. When doing something new, you run it through an imaginary scenario of how your parents will react IF, or WHEN, they find out. Your imagined scenario gives you a sense of whether they will feel good about it, or bad about it. You imagine your response to their response. Your mind and nervous system creates the emotions that you would feel based on your “Imagined Parents”. This feeling tells you whether it is a good idea, or bad idea. You condition your emotions to be created as a response to the minds movie of your “imagined parents.”

Over time, you no longer see your “imagined parents” in the emotion creation process, as these elements become absorbed into your unconscious mind and become invisible to you. What you are left with is a “feeling” about doing certain things that unconsciously guides your choices.

Your “Imagined Parent’s” circuit in your neural pathways is established early in your life, and runs autonomously in the background by the time you leave the house.  It becomes so automatic, and you are so used to it as part of your thought process, that you probably don’t notice it.  Your unconscious belief system is helping you follow many behaviors and make decisions without you being aware of it.

Even if your parents were very unconditionally loving there were the influences. Childhood friends give you signals that you are cool and accepted, or the make fun of you. We know kids can be pretty mean in making fun of each other. We try to wear the “right’ clothes, what to say, what to avoid and how to act “cool” so we don’t get made fun of. We want approval and we fear rejection. Over years, your behaviors become unconsciously automatic to get along. You are approved of and accepted of by these friends based on these conditions.

In many ways this can be very useful and helpful. The world is a complex and busy place, and we need some automated protocols to make choices in navigating life. This can all work well if the patterns in place are based in reality, and love.

The fundamental problem is that these neural patterns that produce thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, are all giving you the message that being loved is conditional.

You no longer need your parents to tell you if you have been good, bad, right, or wrong. Your internal “Parental Belief System” is giving you this information all during the day. It can take the form of emotions you feel, or it can be the internal dialog in your head. It comments about how great you are, but more likely you notice the negative thoughts, as they stand out more. Those negative thoughts tell you, “I’m not doing enough, I should be working harder, I’m screwing things up, I should be further along by now,… I should…. “ etc. It’s giving you instructions to receive the conditional approval, and avoid the conditioned rejection.

The voices in your head act like an “Imagined Parents” speaking to you in your thoughts that being loved is conditional. That you still need to earn respect, and do more to feel worthy. Over years you have learned to believe what those thoughts repeatedly tell you. Your emotional body responds with guilt, shame, excitement, fear, unworthiness, or celebration as if those voices in your head were telling you the truth. Except those voices aren’t telling you the truth. The voices in your head are repeating the punishment and reward programming they learned from your parents. They are not repeating the depth of the love and acceptance they were fulfilling in their other role.

The thoughts and beliefs are projecting you the conditions for you to get love, respect, acceptance and approval. They are also telling you when you don’t meet these conditions, and giving you the reprimands, rejection, through self judgment and criticism in your thoughts. The emotional response is a measure of the conditional punishment you are getting from your mind’s “pseudo parental” guidance system.

Your Mind Will Amplify the Fears and Pains and Minimize the Love and Acceptance

Those voices in your head aren’t treating you with unconditional love. They are very conditional, and often they are far skewed towards the negative feedback.

Even with very kind and loving parents, signals were sent about what they approved of and disapproved of. In emotionally volatile households the negative programming was more pronounced. But even in very peaceful and loving households there are typically forms of withdraw, signals of “lack of acceptance” which the mind will convert to experiences of rejection.

As a child those neural pathways that conditioned you to measure your worth based on what your “Imagined Parents” might think branch out. The pattern extended over time and you become concerned with what your teachers think of you. You seek approval from teachers, adults, relatives and friends. You seek approval and fear rejection from intimate partners so that the rejection circuit in your neural pathway doesn’t fire. Their approval, or disapproval can trigger your internal “Parental Belief System” for feeling accepted and approved, or judged, rejected, and not good enough. As adults your Self Parenting Belief System continues to work on you and your emotions, greatly affecting how you feel about yourself. It works that way until you confront your own beliefs and change them.

You don’t have to live with conditional love for your Self.

It is possible to re-program your belief system, and convert those negative thoughts, self-judgments, and unworthy emotions to your own feeling of self-acceptance and unconditional love. The message of unconditional love for your self may have been lost to you over the years, but it can be recovered, and lived again.

You are going to have to do some work on the “Imaginary Parents” of your belief system before you will be able to love your self unconditionally. It will be work but experiencing yourself with unconditional love and acceptance brings worthwhile rewards in feeling every day.

As adults you have to take responsibility for your “imagined parents.” Those are your thoughts, beliefs, and emotions now. Your parents may have been an influence on you, and we inherited some of their thinking and emotional patterns. But you are not trapped in them. They can be changed. You can re-create your mind, and grow to love yourself unconditionally.


Regret is a product of Imagination

How We Create Regret

Step 1.  Consciously or without our awareness our mind imagines a different life of different choices and outcomes.

Step 2.  Then or mind compares that imagined life experience to our actual life.  The choice we didn’t make, the path we didn’t take, the Imagined Life we didn’t live is held in our mind as better in some way.

Step 3.  The product of this comparison is to then feel a longing or desire to be living the life our imagination has dreamed up.

Step 4.  To wish we are somewhere else doing something else produces disappointment about our current moment of life, and regret about the decisions we made in the past.

The emotions of disappointment and regret are real.  That’s because all emotions are real.  But they were produced because our imagination dreamed up an imagined life and imagined decisions in our imagined past.  One that probably wouldn’t have turned out how our imagination conjured it.

Self awareness is the ability to perceive that your mind is dreaming up illusions.   Awareness  is a chance to awaken from those dreams of regret and be happy in the moment. The Self Mastery Course is a pathway to free you from those false dreams in your mind. 

Self Mastery Failure and Success

The exercises in the Self Mastery Course aren’t supposed to be easy. They might be simple, but that doesn’t mean easy. They do get easier with practice. It’s like learning to dance, or play an instrument, or a new language. In the beginning, you can’t put two steps, two notes, or two words together. Later, you can move through a song or conversation without having to consciously think about it. A single dance step, or playing one note is new, and an unfamiliar muscle movement.

The success is noticing that you are failing. It clues you into the nature of your unconscious beliefs and patterns. If you realize that, then you are on to something more important than successfully doing the exercise. You have a peek into the automatic mind, and begin the journey of bringing your unconscious thoughts, habits, and beliefs into awareness. This can lead to real and sustainable changes.

In some of the exercises I expect that people will have difficulty. Success won’t be automatic. There will be a lot of attempts and failure as you learn, like in anything. Free Exercise number 4, on Finding Neutral is an example. Agreeing or disagreeing with people in conversation, or with thoughts in your head is an automatic response. Our unconscious mind does it without a conscious thought. It is as automatic as driving a car. We get to our destination without thinking about which pedals to push, when, how hard, turning the wheel, or when to change lanes. We move in and out of traffic, control our speed, and obey all the rules while our conscious mind is on something else. Agreeing and disagreeing with people’s opinions is done the same way, but it can have a dramatic train wreck of a consequence on our emotions.

In the exercises I’m challenging you to notice those unconscious automatic behaviors, stop them, and do something different. You are going to fail at that when you first try. These things are so automatic it is a success just to become aware of the habits.  What I am saying is that you should fail. You aren’t going to change the agreeing/disagreeing pattern just because you decide to.

I present these first free exercises not so that you fail, but so that you will become aware of your unconscious patterns and how automatic they are. If you can do them successfully, then you will see changes in your mind and emotions. If you fail, you have a chance to learn, expand your awareness of what resistance shows up, and see the obstacles to change.

If you find the practices hard, it is because you are supposed to. If you find you have resistance to doing something that benefits you that’s helpful. You are supposed to have resistance, and the exercises help you see it.  What interferes with you feeling gratitude? You could decide to exercise some free will, and feel grateful for a while during the day. But maybe things get busy and your emotions go elsewhere instead. Why is that? It would be worth figuring out and changing that wouldn’t it?  Wouldn’t it be worth feeling more gratitude than less? To change that you would have to be aware of what your attention was on instead of on gratitude. This can be the benefit of taking failure and turning it into something advantageous.

Maybe, you put your attention into creating that feeling of gratitude but a series of thoughts show up saying things like, “you aren’t as grateful as you should be.”  So instead of consciously directing your mind, you discover contradicting thoughts that try to shame and guilt you for not feeling as much gratitude as you should.

I’ve heard this a lot from my clients about every exercise. “I don’t do the gratitude practice as much as I should.”  It’s an interesting story, one worth writing about in a belief inventory explained in later sessions.  It’s basically a belief that pushes back against feeling grateful. Instead it pushes your mind and emotions to feel like a guilty shameful failure for not being grateful enough. Very odd.

That kind of thought accomplishes the very opposite of what it says it is communicating.  Noticing that kind of thought in your belief system, is a gift. If you are willing to look at it in the right way it shows you what you are stumbling over. Noticing a thought that accomplishes the opposite of what it says should be accomplished is going to raise your skepticism. You are going to stop and look at that thought, and that is enough to make a small change.

In that moment of skepticism you aren’t going to believe the “you aren’t practicing gratitude as much as you should”. You are going to notice it is the Judge character in the mind, and not at all helpful like it is pretending to be. This step in skepticism is the beginning of breaking that thought so it no longer runs in that mind. If you break this self-judgment thought, then you can break the next one.

Noticing where you fall down is a kind of step forward. It is step forward because it tells you something is not right in the state of your mind. That can be helpful.  Noticing the backwards messed up thoughts of resistance to the exercises is an excellent way to see false beliefs at work. The other exercises provide the practices to really break them down and change them.  It’s a lot easier moving forward when you can see the things you are tripping over.

If you notice that you are failing at the exercise in some way you are achieving a success in awareness. The success is that you get to see how automatic and unconscious your thoughts, and beliefs, and behaviors are.

You are becoming conscious of how un-conscious small actions are. That is a clue that you might be in unconscious automatic pilot in other areas. You might also become aware that if you are unhappy, it is because you aren’t aware of the unconscious automatic thoughts and behaviors you are doing to create the unhappiness. If you become aware of this, then you have a chance to change these thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors. A lot of little small changes like this one, and you travel a long ways down a pathway to greater happiness in your life.

Why Do We Not Get Recognized by Others

Why we Fail to Gain Recognition from Others

What kind of recognition do we seek from others? We want the acknowledgement of a job well done, or of something good about our character to be noted to us personally, or publicly. The essential attitude and emotional component of those comments is appreciation and respect. Appreciation and Respect are two common expressions of Love. Here is the obstacle that often precludes others from acknowledging our efforts and accomplishments. In order for someone to give appreciation and respect, they first have to have it. They then have to enough of it that they can give some to others.

Many people do not feel enough appreciation and respect for themselves, others, or the world around them to have it spill over into words of acknowledgments to others. If you are seeking to be acknowledged by someone that doesn’t operate in the emotional range of respect and appreciation for others, then you will be waiting a long time. It is as if we were hoping to receive a gift of money from someone who is in debt. They simply don’t have the emotional currency to put into those words of praise and acknowledgement and give it to you.

If you are not sure about what I am saying, or at least skeptical, then good. You should be skeptical of what people write and say. To find out, I encourage you to listen carefully to what people say. Or maybe you can take a few minutes to review the previous conversations you have had. How much conversation focuses on appreciation and respect, vs. how much centers around criticism and complaining?  Study what people say around you. Pay attention to what you talk about, and the comments you make. You might be one of those people that has more complaints come out of them than appreciation.

People give what they have. If they have a lot of complaints, then they don’t have much respect and appreciation to “recognize” other’s efforts and accomplishments.

Perhaps there are people around you seeking recognition in the form of appreciation and respect, but you are in debt yourself. You just don’t have it in you to give. If so, then in that debt of value, you might be seeking recognition from others as well. If this is the case, then we have multiple people feeling the debt of their personal value, all seeking to be enriched from someone else who is also in debt about their own value. This isn’t a viable solution

Consider that your boss is busy. Maybe busier than you are. Your client that you worked hard for, is stressed, and worried about making their payroll, has a sick kid, or elderly parent at home they need to get back to. Financial stress, work stress, deadlines, health, family obligations, add that up and you are in a state of fear. A fear state doesn’t cultivate emotions of appreciation and respect. Appreciation and respect come from Love, and is necessary to express recognition of someone else. If others are busy, or stressed, then seeking recognition from them in the forms of praise then you are seeking someone to see your value that can’t see past their own feeling of stress and overwhelm. People can’t give you what they don’t have.

How to Get Recognition that is Satisfying

If seeking your sense of value from other’s opinions leaves you exhausted from your efforts then maybe that is not the way to go. Being recognized by others is just a way we got in touch with and felt our own value. Feeling our own value is what we are really seeking. We don’t want or need others to acknowledge our value so much as we have become dependent on that trigger for being in connection and feeling our own sense of worth. It is possible for you to feel your own sense of value and worth without getting others to trigger it. If we do that, then we don’t need to over extend our work efforts to please others.

Of course, it is easy to reach this sense of our own value when people we are close to, and respect put attention on us in appreciative, respectful, or loving ways. When people close to us honor us, we feel that emotion, and the connection, and expands our sense of value. Having people like this in your life is an important part off healthy and happy relationships. However, expecting recognition and acknowledgements to come from people at work, isn’t the most reliable plan. If it is part of your plan, then be wise in choosing who you work with, and who you work for.

Feeling your own sense of value is an internal feeling, and internal sensation. We can have food in our fridge, cook in our own kitchens and feed ourselves with nourishment. It would be foolish to believe that we have to eat out at someone else’s house, or restaurant for every meal. The balancing act is to nourish ourselves with respect and appreciation, without tipping over into the ego version of self-importance.

Finding Your Own Value

What are you seeking when you seek to recognize and see your own value? You are looking to be in touch with a feeling within. Call it self-acceptance, self-worth, peace, happiness, gratitude, appreciation, self-respect, Integrity, or anything else you like. The one thing that is common is that you will experience it as a good feeling within yourself. How do you find this good feeling? You begin by paying attention to your emotions.

This will likely seem like an odd thing, and even a difficult thing. We have learned to be busy in achieving success more than we have learned to pay attention to our emotions.  It may seem like you are going in the wrong direction if you discover you don’t like how you feel. Who wants to pay attention to your emotions if they are negative, like anger, disappointment, sadness, loneliness, or fear. This leads to the next step in the journey.

Behind those unpleasant emotions are false beliefs. Those negative thoughts connected to such emotions hide beliefs that aren’t true, but that we carry in our mind. Every not good enough story, fear of failure, fear of rejection, disappointment, guilt, and shame is kept alive in us because we have false beliefs we are unconscious of. Find those false beliefs, change them, and those unpleasant emotions dissolve.

On the other side of those false beliefs are the good feelings. The good feelings are the self-acceptance, peace, self-respect, and self-love. When you stop covering up your intrinsic value, that real value that is always there, that was always there, and will always be there, you will feel it. You will feel your own loving presence, and you won’t have to have anyone recognize it, or see it, because you will “see” it by feeling it yourself. This is how you recognize yourself. When you do, you won’t need anyone else to see you.


You have your own intrinsic value which has been, and will always be yours. This is the value and beauty we see and feel in ourselves and others when we are in our Integrity. However, we have repressed being in touch with feeling good about ourselves through beliefs systems that generate internal negative thoughts of self-judgments, and comparisons to others.  This creates an emotional state internally of feeling “less than” and unworthy. In some cases those false beliefs create feelings of insecurity, anxiety, and depression.

The perceived “solution” to these falsely created feelings of unworthiness, is to seek to get that emotional fix from others. We do this through work, sometimes to exhaustion, or projecting ourselves as “perfect” in some way or trying to please others with our efforts just to get a few kind words. All the effort is to overcome a feeling that is manufactured by a false belief system. Then we are left disappointed or frustrated by others for not recognizing our efforts, with praise, approval, or some few words of respect, and acknowledgment. Which they may not have in them to give through no fault of their own, because they are without an abundance of emotions. But without that awareness, we create feelings of frustration, annoyance, or disappointment about their failure to give, or our failure to work hard enough to get recognition. Even if all that work is equivalent to fishing in a lake that has no fish.

The shorter path solution is to eliminate the false beliefs that hide the feelings of self-worth from ourselves. Eliminate your false beliefs and you will no longer be in the emotions about the lack of value those thoughts and emotions create. Then you can easily get in touch with, and feel your own Authentic Presence.

For practical steps in identifying and changing false beliefs, do the free sessions of the Basic Self Mastery Series.

Related Article: Why Do We Seek Recognition from Others



Why Do We Seek Recognition From Others

“People will work for money, but they will die for recognition,” is the way one business coach described the dynamic. Sometimes we seem to want or need recognition that bad. I was talking with a woman about this issue recently. She remembers being six years old, and deciding she wanted to be an actress. Her logic was that if she was on television she would be “seen.” What is it in us that seeks to be “seen” or “recognized this way?
What is in us that seeks recognition?

Usually the recognition we seek is from other people. Usually we don’t get it. Instead we end up with feelings of frustration, anger, sadness, emptiness, and disappointment at not getting it. From that result we work even harder at things still hoping for recognition get rid of those people and try the same thing with a different group. There is a different path to fulfillment of recognition.

First, let me break down this issue of not being recognized into some common false beliefs, some truths, and what can be done about it so you can be on your way to a happier life.

It Begins With a Truth

Let’s begin with a Truth. There is something in you to be valued. Let’s call that essential essence your Integrity. It is valued and feels valued when you or others put your attention on it with appreciation and respect. It is when other people put attention on that essential authentic part of you that it is seen and feels recognized. In that moment, you feel seen, and you experience your own value as a feeling. That feeling displaces those negative voices in your head. Essentially, you feel self-acceptance and it is good being you. You receive love in the form of appreciation, respect. This is a matter of attention to feeling your own Authentic Presence.  It is often not something that we are in the habit of doing ourselves, and this is the fundamental problem we will get to later.

We All Have Real Value

We all have real value. Something inside of us recognizes that. I call that part of ourselves that senses this Truth our Integrity. Others might call it their Authentic Self. This isn’t from a belief system. It’s a Truth, and not just a construct of ideas of self-worth or self-esteem. Self-worth and self-esteem are often conceptual self-images our mind makes up based on our essential value. The presence of your Integrity was there and is there simply because you are a living being.

Thomas Jefferson put it in the Declaration of Independence. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men (and women) are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…” It was more than a declaration that people didn’t want to be ruled by a King. It was a declaration that all men, and women have value that is equal to the King. We want to rule ourselves.

We don’t need to go that far to find value in each person. We instinctively see it when we hold an infant child. Each child radiates a presence that we value. We instinctively recognize the precious nature of human life, in an infant, and at other times, in anyone, or everyone. It is our false beliefs and critical judgments that blind us from seeing this valued presence all the time.

We Cover Up Our Value with False Beliefs

This awareness of presence of value in each person is lost behind layers of negative beliefs as we grow older. We add expectations, which lead to unmet expectations and then disappointments and judgments. By the time we are adults we have been devalued by other people’s judgments and criticisms and lost touch with our own Integrity. We have also learned to tell ourselves the same kind of self-judgmental narratives and devalue ourselves with our own negative thoughts. The judge devalues other people with criticisms and so all of this seems normal. This is the long slow process of building belief systems that erodes our awareness of value in ourselves and in others.
The repetitive negative thoughts in our head create a feeling that we don’t’ have much value. This covers up the authentic sense of value underneath, and even makes it seem false, or distorts it to seem like it wouldn’t be true. The lies in our head about our lack of self-worth drown out our feeling of real worth.

We Learn to Mask Our Value From Others

You can put your attention on your own feeling of worth and honor it. This accomplishes the same generation of feeling worthy within yourself. You feel the truth of your own value. You could call it a lot of things. It might just be a feeling of calm presence with yourself, love, self-respect, or you might interpret it as self-acceptance.

One of the early false beliefs we learn interferes with being in touch with our own value. We were likely shamed or scolded if we spoke about this. It might be called tooting our own horn, bragging, or put ourselves above others. Adults would use comments like, “You are too big for your britches,” “Who do you think you are?” “Off your high horse before I knock you off,” “Nobody likes a bragger.” These comments hit us emotionally with guilt and shame.

At the time we were probably innocently noting how good we felt about ourselves, or something we did. We mentioned it to others and it became distorted into something else at a young age. We have poor and inarticulate ways of seeking to be valued at a young age and we get criticized for it. We learn quickly not to talk about ourselves positively, boast, or do any extroverted things to get praise or recognition. Instead we are more likely to work hard, keep quiet, and hope others notice, and comment.

We are shamed and criticized for communicating our value to others. This becomes the programmed false belief. From our Integrity we still seek to value our Authentic selves, but we refrain from presenting it to others for fear of criticism.

It can be difficult to learn good self-acceptance practices in childhood because of this. It is too easy for self-acceptance to be lumped into the category of bragging and boasting so we avoid the self-acceptance completely. They are not the same thing, and it is nuanced to do one and not the other.

We Repress Our Own Desire to Be Recognized

In adulthood we no longer need others to repress our actions or requests for recognition. We take the pattern of criticism and shaming we learned from others and we repress it ourselves. Sharon put a lot of effort into getting the business conference together. As people arrived things got busy and she was rushing around finishing things as people showed up. Everyone was happy to see each other, and events got started. Inside Sharon felt the impulse to bring attention to the work she had done. A voice in her mind wanted to hint to others with a comment like, “I put a lot of work into getting this to work out for everyone’s benefit.” Her mind searched for a way to make it less obvious.
Sharon had enough awareness to observe these thoughts of seeking recognition. As she saw them, another part of her mind judged and condemned her for it. The Judge voice said things like, “You are being such a pathetic needy person,” “What are you a narcists, needing all the attention on you?” “Grow up girl. You agreed to do this conference on your own. You don’t need praise from these people.”

And with that kind of internal rebuttal, that part of her that wanted to be valued, was declared a needy, pathetic, narcissists, and shunned. The, “who do you think you are”, response she learned from others, was repeated in her belief system to herself, just as she had learned to do years earlier from others.

Since we learn not to bring other’s attention to us, or to bring our own attention to our value, we learn an alternative solution. We work for others, or try to please others wants until our efforts are recognized. This leads to disappointment and frustration I will get to later.

There is probably a way to ask for recognition, or to be valued in our society that isn’t lame and pathetic, but it isn’t obvious and can easily be misunderstood. Our culture isn’t big on it. I did hear of an icebreaker exercise for a group of people meeting for the first time. As each person introduced themselves, each person was to include something that they had done that they were proud of, that other people in the room likely didn’t know about. It was different for each person. For some it might be that they had signed up to run a 10K. Someone else was volunteering at a food bank. It was a way to say to others this is something that I do that is worthwhile and valuable to me. For a moment it was okay to acknowledge that we value ourselves and have others join in with appreciation and respect. Everyone felt good in the group. Partly because it wasn’t just one person doing it. Everyone was allowed and encouraged. We don’t do this well in our culture. Our culture is more inclined to complain, than raise people up, but that is a topic for another day
The point here is that we suppress asking for what we need and want, and that is a problem. We repress it by first taking a real value of our integrity and distort it into something egotistical, needy, pathetic, etc. Then we suppress that need for feeling our value with a condemning judgment. Instead of valuing ourselves, we shame and guilt ourselves for being egotistical, weak, or needy.

We don’t have to. We can create different experiences like the ice-breaker exercise. It’ starts with awareness of our choices and actions.

The Adult Environment Does Not Support Recognition We Grew Up With

As children, hopefully we get lots of recognition, praise, and support, assuming we have decent attentive parents. Not everyone does, but most do. Either way, as we grow into adult years, we get less and less, and maybe no valuing recognition depending on how supportive our relationships are. In college grades come out less often than in grade school Once we are working, maybe we get a performance review once per year. Very often it is focused on areas we can improve, and not to celebrate our accomplishments and achievements.

As adults we follow the conditioning of seeking recognition of our value through other’s opinions. With so few opportunities to receive, and so much pressure to perform, the result is that we may overwork ourselves, or try overly hard to please others with the unconscious motivation to get recognition or praise. An annual review leaves you a lot of time to feel like you are starving in between. We might want to be “seen” or recognized by others as much as when we were six years old, but in the adult world, we are not in an environment where that is going to happen.

To free your self from this trap of seeking your value through other’s opinions, check out the free sessions of the Self Mastery Course.

Related: Why others don’t give us the Recognition we seek.

The Self Mastery Course: Practical Tools for Getting Rid of the Emotional Drama in Your Life
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  • Change Core Beliefs
  • Quiet the Criticizing Voice in Your Head
  • Develop Communication and Respect in Your Relationships
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