Who did you have to be in order to get love and attention, connectivity from your parents?
Were you able to be yourself?
Or when you were yourself, expressing and acting as self … were you hit, yelled at, given a time out, sent to your room being separated from the parent whose love and connection you wanted? Were you told you were not a good boy or girl? That you were not acceptable, not good enough, dumb; stupid? A pain in the ass? A mistake? I regret the day I had you, ie unwanted?
When you were a child, curious about life, poking around, trying new things, testing boundaries, learning about yourself, were you supported in a loving, kind way? Or were you chastised for being you because being you made your parents uncomfortable? They didn’t know how to deal with you being you? They wanted you to be more like them?
Did you learn, often not through direct word but rather through action, perception and observation, that being you wasn’t acceptable, wasn’t good enough for mom and dad?
As a result did you come to conclusions about who you had to be in order to get love, approval, attention, connection from mom and dad? And became that child?
Who is that?
Is it your true self? Or a costume you put on to receive love?
Are you still running those behaviors today with mom and dad and now other people?
Did those behaviors expand and where once they gave you something rewarding, ie love and attention, now they garner negative consequences?
For example: You learned at a young age to be quiet; a good girl. When you were quiet and a good girl mom and dad praised you, bought you toys; patted you on the head. The behavior worked. You received the love, attention and connection that you and ALL children desire and NEED.
But now you are 40, 50, 60 years old still running the behavior of being a “good girl,” which has morphed into people pleasing, putting everyone else’s needs first, not speaking your truth, easy manipulated by others into doing what they want you to do, never stepping outside the box of someone else’s perception of good to experience life. And you are miserable.
Along my own personal journey of reflection, growth and development, I realized that in order to get love, attention and connectivity from dad I had to work hard, achieve exceptional grades and go to university.
From my mom I learned that I had to be skinny and pretty to be loved by anyone and to be successful.
From both mom and dad I learned I had to be ‘good,’ meaning don’t cause trouble, embarass or inconvenience us.
I never learned that being myself was okay. How did I come to that conclusion? Because when I was myself, saying, doing, acting and expressing in the spirit of me, if it didn’t line up with mom and dad’s ideals, I got into trouble. I was yelled at, punished, hit with the wooden spoon or belt, privileges taken away; threatened with something I wanted to be taken away; told I was a bad girl.
It was a harsh ah ha realizing the child within felt there were conditions to mom and dad’s love.
I realize they did the best they could within the scope of what they knew and were capable of emotionally. I know they both wanted what was best for me. I know both of them would say I loved you unconditionally. I also honour the child within who felt she couldn’t be herself and had to be someone else.
I wrestled for a long time with my beliefs and behaviors of who I had to be to get love and attention, connection from mom and dad, while exploring and discovering Who Am I Really?
I shed a lot of layers of who I was supposed to be, to get to who I truly am. It wasn’t easy. It took focused effort, time and inner processing. What we call inner work.
And I still buffer up against that which was ingrained in me when I was a small child.
When I am in need of love, attention and connectivity it is easy to fall back into old ways. It takes conscious awareness and choice to prevent the fall.
I learned that if I need to be or act a certain way to get someone’s love and attention, what they have to offer is conditional love.
And I do my best to be mindful of not imposing conditions on others. It’s a two way street.
A beautiful act of self love is to ask yourself the question:
Who did I have be in order to get mom and dad’s love, attention and connection?
Once you have determined who you had to be, notice if you are still engaging in those behaviors today to gain favour from anyone.
Imagine each condition or behavior, of who you had to be as a piece of clothing on your body.
Take off the clothing, item by item and discover who you are underneath.
Release the heaviness of the conditions and free yourself to be you.
Give yourself permission to be You.
As a therapist blending spiritual teaching with psychology and core belief therapy, I can help you to release all that you are not and reconnect with True Self. Perhaps for the first time in your life.
Personal Sessions Special Offer for a limited time. Learn more … https://whispersfromthesoul.com/store-2/life-changing-personal-sessions
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‘To thine own self be true’, I believe is the old chestnut from Hamlet.
I agree be true to yourself. However a young child whether 5 months old, 5 years old or 15 years knows it needs and wants its parents love, attention and connection and learns through experience and observation what that is and conforms. Hopefully in later years they have a realization about who they had to become and begin to heal that aspect of self. This is the point of the article. This is one of the many ways I help people to grow and experience the true of themselves. Hope that offers additional clarity.