Born Into Our Social Conditioning

By: S.A. Abraham

Consider this: Did you choose the situations you were born into?

Did you have any say in who your parents were, the kind of home you grew up in, or the circumstances that shaped you genetically, geographically, economically, or emotionally? 

The answer of course is No! Consider how significant it is that you didn’t choose the family, the language, the continent or the race you were born into. 

You also didn’t consciously choose the foundations of your personality; your social behaviour, education, culture, and norms; your perceptions about and treatment of people of other genders and races; your methods of conflict resolution; or your understanding of family, love, discipline, and affection. 

Again, as the author of "The Four Agreements" points out, you didn’t even choose your own name. 

It should, therefore, be very liberating for you to realize that many of your past actions, perceptions and your behaviours have been the result of the countless decisions that were made for you and not by you. You likely have been reacting, to whatever circumstances and people have crossed your path, in the only way you knew how. 

Your personality and behaviour have been based on what you have copied from the authority figures in your life. How you behave can be a result of reactions to and reflections of how your parents and guardians; siblings and extended family; school environment and teachers; friends and neighbours have treated you. 

Your behaviour and personality is also likely to have been influenced by the social, cultural and religious leaders you grew up with. Good, loving, protective, beneficial? Or were these factors and people in your upbringing intentionally or unintentionally abusive and non-nurturing? Such things determined, to a large extent, the person you have become… 

  

Up to this point. 

  

You might feel very sad to realize that some of the people who were supposed to uplift you and prepare you for the world may have been the very ones who hurt you the most. Indeed, it is heartbreaking when this turns out to be the case. Such deeply felt hurt and disappointment is also something that can affect a person for a very long time. 

It would be worse, however, to let such experiences determine and limit your future and your potential. 

It is much more beneficial to consciously make the decision to not let the past determine and limit your future, because clinging to hurt and resentment can keep you chained to your past, and prevent you from moving into your future. 

You might continue to feel helpless and hopeless, a victim of circumstance. Feeling this way can rob you of your initiative and potential...can work against your realizing your personal power...can prevent you from feeling in control of your life. 

Instead, imagine what taking control would feel like! Imagine what taking control of your emotions and your future would feel like. If you allow it, your past experiences can become a very valuable lesson that can help you on to bigger and better things. Whereas, wallowing in misery and dwelling on all the things that have happened to you are likely to result in no change at all. 

It can be much better to acknowledge something like this: “It was not fair and it was not my fault. I know I deserve better in the future. I can definitely benefit from comforting myself, nursing my emotional wounds, and giving myself time to grieve and cry for all the things I feel were lacking.” 

And after these concerns have been addressed, you can say, “It is best to let it go. I can let it go.” By making the choice to let go, you are effectively taking control of your emotions, your life and your future, whereas before you had little or no control over the circumstances surrounding you. 

At the same time, if you don’t break this vicious cycle of hurt, resentment, and negativity in yourself, you might take all you have learned and copied, along with all your pain and hurt, and carry it over into your relationships. 

As a result, your adult life might suffer from unfulfilling relationships., whether with your spouse, extended family, or co-workers.You might find yourself wondering why all or most of your relationships seem to be “dysfunctional”. 

And for those of you who are parents—if you don’t acknowledge, resolve, and heal your emotional wounds, you might inadvertently pass them on to your children, who might pass it on to their children, and so on.

 

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[Copyright: Excerpt from "The Keys That Open" by S.A. Abraham] 

[All rights reserved.]

 

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