I'm done looking for love where it doesn't exist. I'm done coughing up dust in attempts to drink from dry wells.
-- Maggie Young
Strange Obedience and Acceptance of Helplessness
Example # 1:
In order to make a strong point relevant to the topic, let's start it all with some metaphoric examples which will hint at the crux of it.
So, on You tube there is this video with a man put under hypnosis in front of the audience. Then he is given a post-hypnotic suggestion that upon awakening he will have a strong urge to take his shoes off, and then put them back on -- but on the opposite feet.
And so the man does, exactly as he was instructed. Now, he is asked to take a good look at the shoes of the people sitting in the front row -- and say if he can see anything unusual there.
The man instantly says: "Yes, I can see that all their shoes are on their wrong feet. Hey, people, don't you feel uncomfortable like that?!"
Example # 2:
In this experiment, aquarium is divided in the middle by a sheet of glass; then a hungry pike is placed to one end, and a minnow, a typical pike's food to the other. Instantly the bigger fish starts charging towards the tiny one, now hitting its nose against the glass.
That repeats itself several times, until suddenly the pike apparently loses all interest for its nearby unattainable meal. Moreover, even after the glass is removed, it keeps swimming peacefully beside the minnow.
Example # 3:
Elephants in captivity, either used in circuses or to do work, are trained in their young years to stay put. This is done by chaining the youngster to a strong pole with a chain that he cannot break. Then, at an older age, the pole is replaced by a stick, and chain by a rope -- both of which the adult elephant could easily break -- but he shows no such intention, now in his hypnotized brain associating that stick with a strong pole, and that rope with a chain.
Can we draw a parallel between all three examples and our hypnotic spell of debilitating belief, what I like calling "can'titis"?
The greater a child's terror, and the earlier it is experienced, the harder it becomes to develop a strong and healthy sense of self.
-- Nathaniel Brandon
Addicted to Crappy Disposition
Can we recognize something in our own memories of childhood, which made us "stay put" and helpless at time when we would have rather gone out there "to conquer the world?"
What has kept us all these years from breaking loose "from that thin rope" and use that best of our potential? Maybe it wouldn't have been riches; maybe it wouldn't have been fame that we would have gone after.
Maybe it would have been just a feeling that we have grabbed a mirage in a desert of life consisting of peace at heart, that purring contentment, that happiness of being -- regardless of "being--what?".
The crux of the issue is hardly ever addressed properly -- so we think that we got emotionally messed up back there and it's too late now to change anything. We find someone to blame for it, and that satisfies us, while it also justifies our victim syndrome.
Over all those young years we got conditioned into accepting as true all that criticism, unconsciously cursing ourselves for our being "obviously so bad" that we didn't deserve love of those on whom our very survival depended.
At his point it's good to remind ourselves how some 90% of all our mental processes are going on below the threshold of our awareness -- so all that inner beating on ourselves is not something that we could put our finger on.
Culturally conditioned to do so, we habitually seek solution for our less than happy condition among outside available resources -- whether it's a doctor, a nutritionist, a guru, a magic pill, workouts...whatever.
Over the years we have turned our getting nowhere in life into a comfort zone, literally addicted to our crappiness. No, it's not impossible; actually it's been scientifically established for a fact that our much repeated lousy emotions gain the ability to fit into our pleasure receptors in brain -- so we start liking it.
Someone even made a classic of the old movie as they called it "Good Morning, Sorrow".
You've got to love yourself first. You've got to be okay on your own before you are okay with somebody else.
-- Jennifer Lopez
Genuine Self-Love As The Solution
That genius Einstein told us how "we cannot solve a problem with the same mind that created it."
So, after having collected memories of those important people in our life who failed or refused to love us, we shouldn't try to replace them with a lot of people who do love us. It doesn't work that way -- as many a movie celebrity could attest to the truism that no fame can fill that initial void in our heart.
It stays there intact for as long as we fail to realize that all this time we have been missing our own love -- not the one of a narcissistic, egocentric kind, but that gentle, appreciative, respectful, accepting, and tolerant kind.
The kind of love that our very cells are thriving on while providing the spark of life in us.
Imagine for a moment a scenario of someone knocking on your door, and as you opened it, you see a child's big, and scared, and teary eyes looking beggingly at you. Then you give her a better look, and you get shivers up your spine, as you recognize yourself right there being at that age.
What do you do? Do you slam the door in her sad face, angry for being disturbed? As that thought passes your mind, you get a shock of realizing that for some years you've been doing exactly that -- shutting the door to that kid's cry not to disturb your precious ego.
And then your heart opens up as never before, and you kneel down, embrace that child, pick her up, with a deep promise in your soul to never, ever neglect her again.
How many of us owe it to that child that we used to be, still somewhere within those innocent parts of our soul, alive as ever, and waiting...and waiting...
Love yourself for who you are, and trust me, if you are happy from within, you are the most beautiful person, and your smile is your best asset.
-- Ileana D' Cruz
Is It a New Self-Love, or Is It Merely a Re-Directed Hate?
Now, beware of some, not really wanted emotions, that may well up as a side effect of your new love for yourself. Namely, as you have wholeheartedly embraced that child in yourself, you may go into the other extreme of overprotecting her.
Suddenly you start resenting anyone in your present life who associatively reminds you of your primary caregivers in your childhood, the ones who made you create that inadequate self-image.
Could it be your boss, with his remarks about your efficiency? Is it your spouse that's giving you a pitiful smile every time you do something in a clumsy way? Or maybe some of those friends that can't stop patronizing you and "teaching" you stuff?
Indeed, for a while, it may feel like the whole world has been conspiring against you -- once that you have stopped seeing yourself with their eyes and gave yourself love and respect.
But then, before allowing it to turn into something ridiculous, it may be a right time to realize how by doing that, you are still not loving, but rather merely having replaced hating yourself with hating others.
It's like those self-embarrassing patriots who "love their country" by constantly hating the opposite party and some foreign disrespectful peoples. There is no love in that picture, only hate, now with the only difference that we are sparing ourselves from it.
Thus, we have to make up our mind -- do we want to make that child in us happy or resentful? What kind of peace, happiness, contentment do we give to ourselves by bitching against people who are not showing willingness to cater to our emotional needs?
The only way to truly snap out of the spell of unsupportive childhood is to start supporting ourselves and -- this time around -- not expecting it from others, like we did it as kids, at times when we didn't know better.
If others love us, it's a bonus, not a condition of feeling loved. Feeling loved comes from our own heart, and others can only recognize values in us that we know of already -- not "give" us those values.
For, whatever is given to us may be taken back -- while our love for ourselves sticks unconditionally, that way defining it as divine.
So, why not start paying what we have been owing to that child -- maybe still knocking on the door of our heart.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2022 Val Karas