If you haven’t done so already, please go and read part one of this post.
Now let’s continue looking at the way our minds work, so we have great foundations for explaining The Law Of Attraction and why it tends to make sense to us.
Rather, we have bodies, emotions and nervous systems that all play a role in how we see the world, how we behave, what we want to and don’t want to believe and so on.
We have to understand that a lot of our world view was created in our childhoods - when we were in that temporary codependent relationship with our caregivers. In that relationship, it would have appeared to us as though our caregivers were perfect, all knowing and all capable beings who rewarded us with pleasure and punished us with pain - always in response to our behavior.
In these early years when our FOUNDATIONS for how we were going to perceive reality were being set in place, it would have appeared to us that the only reason our caregivers would have withheld what we needed from us was because we were doing something wrong. We believed this because to us, it appeared as though they had full and complete power and control. It appeared to us that the ONE factor that was at play in terms of us getting our needs met and not getting our needs met was THEM - how they felt about us, how they were responding to us and how our behavior augmented their responses.
We wouldn’t have been able to fully understand that our caregivers didn’t have perfect access to all things at all times, that sometimes their behavior had nothing to do with us, that sometimes our behavior wasn’t the reason for their capacity or incapacity. We wouldn’t have been able to understand that their perceptions of reality and what was and wasn’t ‘right’ or ‘best’ for us wasn’t clear or perfect.
Rather, we would all have been imprinted with the idea that acceptance = getting what we need and rejection = not getting what we need. And we would have registered that the WAY to get the acceptance we needed was to alter our behavior to match what was expected of us by our caregivers.
We learned this to be the truth about reality not only in our minds, but deep in our bodies.
We learned how to behave - what was and wasn’t ok - deep in our nervous systems rather than in our conscious, fully formed logical minds.
What was normalized and ok got programmed into our bodies as THE way to SURVIVE. Anything that seemed to get us rejected, that fell outside of the norms or that WE PERCEIVED to be something that led to us not getting our needs met/getting hurt would have been programmed into our bodies as something deeply dangerous. We were learning what ‘normal’ was via a very existential process.
From here, our minds would have been busy coming up with REASONS for WHY normals was normal. For why any part of us that couldn’t live up to expectation was bad. For why any part of our behavior was ‘bad’ if we could connect it to not being approved of. Why we HAD to do certain things. We would have been coming up with stories as well as being TOLD stories about why what hurt hurt, why what felt good felt good, why we could or couldn’t do what felt good, what needs were were ‘allowed’ to have and which ones were wrong - and all of this would have been generating a LOT of feelings and emotions that we likely couldn’t actually explain or understand. But we had to explain them and make them make sense within our framework - which is where a lot of us got our shame, guilt and rejection narratives.
Moralizing, believing ourselves to be good or bad, doing our best to fit in to try to be safe even when this caused us pain and not doing what we needed to do to feel good to try to avoid being rejected - all of this would have been happening without our conscious awareness. We all would have had pain we only knew to blame on ourselves. We would have had desires we felt like we couldn’t have lest we be rejected and this would have led to self rejection. There would have been many parts of self we simply didn’t get to explore or understand which would have led to painful feelings we had no idea how to interpret.
With this we would have learned all sorts of ways to cope with, adapt to, and navigate around what would have been the imperfect, sometimes painful and out of our control circumstances that were our early lives.
We would have learned ways of coping, numbing, self sabotaging, self shaming, blaming and guilting and all sorts of other emotion based behavior and thought patterns in response to the plethora of different situations and circumstances we all had to face - that we all had to face without a fully formed logical understanding of what was happening and why it was happening.
We didn’t have the capacity to understand our world fully.
We didn’t have the ability to understand the complexity of our caregivers and their actions and reactions to us.
We didn’t know how to understand and address our own needs fully and consciously.
We would have had many situations where what we wanted and needed was a mystery to us, and where all we knew was to try to augment our behavior to better fit in to try to get OTHERS to empathize with us so that they would understand and meet our needs.
We would have had many situations where doing what got us approved of didn’t actually feel good to us, and this contradiction would have created a lot of internal conflict and confusion.
There would have been times where what we wanted and needed simply wasn’t something we COULD have been aware of/that those around us had the capacity to be aware of - leading to pain we couldn’t fix and the need to adapt, cope, numb and find other strategies to try to soothe ourselves.
The blueprint we were getting for what was ‘right’, how to get our needs met, how to be safe and how to adapt and respond to pain ALL came from complex, imperfect perceptions and reasoning.
Many of us never grew out of this. We didn’t grow into the awareness that our caregivers weren’t omnipotent, powerful and able to do anything at any time and therefore learning to question the rules we were handed in a DEEP way. Rather we may feel like we’re questioning the rules, but deep in our bodies our nervous systems are fighting to keep us ‘on track’ with our programming, because again to our BODIES this is what we NEED to do to SURVIVE.
Many of us never grew to see that as adults it’s our job to start to understand and identify our wants and needs and it’s our job to figure out how to get these wants and needs met in real reality. Rather we still feel like the way to pleasure and out of pain is to BEHAVE right, so that we will be understood and loved by someone outside of ourselves, leading to THEM understanding what we want and need and thus giving it to us.
This being the main program we got.
In order to have what I need/get rid of what I don’t want, I must be APPROVED OF.
This is the fundamentally flawed understanding that blocks us from interacting with real reality. That blocks us from looking for real need and real solutions in actual reality, and keeps us in cycles of looking for who we need to PLEASE in order to be provided for and protected.
We didn’t have the logical capacity to understand that to be rejected by our caregivers didn’t mean we were going to die. We didn’t have the logical capacity to question our feelings and see what they really meant. We didn’t have the capacity to feel our feelings and do an assessment into what was causing them and what we could reasonably do about that cause. We didn’t have the logical capacity to understand our own needs, and to get them met within real reality.
Rather we saw EVERYTHING as coming through the MIDDLE MAN of our caregivers/authority figures that we felt we needed to please in order to have them provide for us.
To us, survival and pleasure were direct results of being loved and understood.
We learned that to fit in = survival, that to be rejected = death.
We also inherited bodies that have the capacity to sense a threat, to behave in some way to try to save us from that threat - and whether or not that behavior ACTUALLY had anything to do with saving our lives, if we LIVED, the body then perceived that what we had done was the reason we lived, and thus it started to repeat that pattern of behavior every time a threat was sensed from then on forward.
In other words, if we perceived that we were being rejected/were in pain our bodies/brains would have interpreted this as a direct threat to us. Our bodies would have gone into ‘fight or flight’ mode, looking for what we needed to do to protect ourselves. From there anything that we did in response to this perceived threat would have been something our bodies and minds were assessing for efficiency. If we took action, and survived, whether or not the action we took ACTUALLY created the conditions of our survival, our BODIES would have programmed that action as being ‘the reason’ we survived. Even if we weren’t actually facing the threat of death and again, even if the action didn’t really have anything to do with our survival.
Beyond Childhood With Childhood Programming
Then, from that time forward, any time our bodies perceived that we were experiencing that same threat, it would run the program of repeating the same action you took LAST TIME - again despite whether that action ACTUALLY had anything to do with your survival or not - because to your BODY that program ‘worked.’ You were under threat, you did a thing, you lived - thus, what you did worked.
Our bodies developed this trick of automatic association of threat and action via a LONG line of evolution. You see, our ancestors who were able to sense threat and ACT without having to sit, think, assess and come up with a plan of action were generally the ones who survived.
The ones who were able to hear a rustle in the bush and without having to figure out what the sound was, were running up the nearest tree even before their conscious mind could figure out what was going on, were the ones who had the reactions that were quick enough to save them from the ever present threat that was living so close to nature.
The people who had to hear the rustle in the bush, turn around, look for where it was coming from, figure out what it was then decide to do something were the ones who got eaten by predators. The ancestors who were able to hear that rustle and be up the tree within a split second were the ones who avoided becoming prey.
This means that there would have been lots of times where the automatic response humans were WRONG in their reaction. There would have been many times where the rustle was just the wind, where it was a little animal that wasn’t threatening. Where it was a friend. And they would have been quick to react - climbing up that tree when it wasn’t necessary much of the time - but in the times where it WAS necessary, they had it. And they lived. The ones who again, had to assess every time would have often run into a situation of being too slow and not being able to pass on their genes.
We inherited this capacity to ‘program in’ automatic responses to threat. And again because SO many of these programs were developed in our childhoods when our perception of the world wasn’t in alignment with REAL reality - a LOT of us have automatic programs that we are now running that we can see are self destructive or otherwise not helpful - but we can’t stop ourselves because we’re not making a CONSCIOUS choice to react how we are. Our bodies are perceiving threat and they are hijacking us to a degree, getting us to ACT because it thinks this is saving our life.
Again, we all have parts of self we aren’t aware of, parts of self we feel are a threat to us given the fact that they have gotten us rejected, we all have pain we don't understand or don’t know how to deal with - and in all of THIS we tend to have automatic reactions/coping mechanisms that we turn to in what feels like an automatic fashion, because our bodies are trying to avoid the pain we’re in in any way it can.
All of this is happening within the context of us being EMOTIONAL beings who FEEL things and respond to those feelings as well. We are not just conscious thought and rational action. Rather, we are feeling, and our feelings often don’t actually make sense to us. We are doing whatever we can to try to feel better, and we are running from pain we don’t understand a lot of the time. Most of us weren’t trained to be with our emotions. To determine where they are coming from and what they mean. Rather, we have been conditioned to FIT IN.
Our feelings as part of our programming FEEL GOOD when we do things that get us to fit in - even when those things go AGAINST what is actually good for us pragmatically - and vice versa. This means that we often have ‘mixed feelings’ about a LOT of what we’re doing - on the one hand, doing what gets us approval is going to feel good as our bodies perceive it’s the thing that’s keeping us safe and alive. But if what we have to do to fit in is actually harmful for us on some level, there’s going to be pain - pain we likely won’t understand and will perceive as being something wrong with us. We may do things that objectively feel good but get us rejected - and in this we will often FEEL a sense of deep pain/anxiety/fear - so even though we are doing something supportive for ourselves, it may feel terrible or threatening - leading us to continue conforming even when that goes against what’s truly good for us.
Our pain and pleasure wires have been crossed in many ways, leading us to feeling good doing things that are overall harmful for us if they get us approval, and leading us to feeling bad when we do things that are truly supportive for us but that lead to rejection/misunderstanding. Our emotions are all mixed up in this - feeling shame and guilt around parts of self that don’t fit in, feeling the pain of doing things that don’t actually support us, feeling the pleasure of fitting in even when that isn’t objectively good for us. We’re told over and over again how we ‘should’ feel and what we ‘should’ be able to do and be - and when we don’t feel that way or when we can’t live up to expectation within our systems we often feel broken and bad - which leads to trying to fix ourselves or existentially fearing ourselves which creates a whole other layer of pain on top of the pain of trying to live in ways that don’t work but that are socially expected.
This leads to a lot of confusion - and culture rushes in to tell us that our pain, our struggle, our lack of ability to fit in - that that’s ALL a FLAW in us - it drives us to feeling ever more insecure, so that we will work harder to fit in. So that we will keep trying to change OURSELVES to align with our systems of excessive consumption and production, so that we will see the manufactured insecurity that is part and parcel with our system as our own fault, and we will keep trying to fix and change ourselves instead of questioning the systems.
That childhood program that tells us that fitting in = getting what we need is being used against us.
When we have pain, rather than looking to what’s not working, we automatically look at ourselves. We automatically look to where WE are messing up, where WE are failing, where WE are not feeling/acting how we should feel or act - and then our culture uses this to sell us more things we don’t need and to convince us to work harder.
We don’t know how to assess what’s ACTUALLY hurting and why - as our programming is being used against us to drive us to continually see failing in ourselves when we’re hurting. Which we often are in our society because our society is not set up to actually support human life - it’s set up to support excessive consumption and production that profits those at the top of our systems.
We all have mixed feelings and lack of awareness of where these feelings are coming from, because again our society isn’t set up so that what we are told we must do and be to be acceptable is always the actual best thing for us. In real reality, it’s often NOT the best thing for us.
But those first programs that tell us that acceptance = survival and rejection = death keep us locked into patterns and trying to fix and change ourselves rather than looking to actually figure out what would work for us and learning to live life aligned with that.
We have pain when we try to fit in, we have pain when we don’t fit in, we have pain when we do what’s good for us but get’s us rejected - and all of it is covered in stories that are trying to make sense of it all.
Coping, Numbing, Scapegoating And All Other Forms Of Keeping Ourselves Alive
This is why we cope, numb, self sabotage and scapegoat.
We’re looking for relief from pain, and anything that even REMOTELY provides relief will be seen as a survival tool. We aren’t just making ‘bad choices.’ We’re running programs our bodies feel are life saving in response to threat/pain we know no other way to deal with.
Many of us have parts of self we have developed such a deeply existential relationship with - parts of self that got us so rejected or antagonized, that now as adults when these parts threaten to come to the surface we automatically go into some form of self sabotage/coping/numbing/stimulating to try to keep that part at bay. We go into deep stories of shame and guilt around these parts, trying to get ourselves to dissociate from them and what they want to do/be as much as possible.
And on top of this, usually we don’t PERCEIVE that these are automatic reactions to trauma/misinformation. Rather our minds have been working our WHOLE LIVES to make our reactions and responses make sense. We have been building up the idea that ‘this means this’ and ‘I HAVE to do this or that’ to be ok forever. So even if it’s not OBJECTIVELY true that if someone doesn't like us we won’t be ok - our minds will come up with a whole long story about how this persons rejection will mean the end of our ability to be safe, and then it will coax us into changing ourselves/doing whatever behavior we learned we needed to do to fit in as children, into shaming and blaming ourselves and into coping and numbing in whatever ways we’ve evolved to cope and numb as a way of trying to keep us in line and trying to keep us protected.
We don’t see that these are stories - or at least that what we believe about ourselves and reality may have BEEN true before but aren’t true now, or that they are PARTIALLY true but that there are other options available - because they make PERFECT SENSE to us. We don’t understand the power the automatic reaction has, and a lot of the time we will find ourselves half way down our coping/numbing/self sabotaging spirals before we even realize what we’re doing - because it works THAT fast. We won’t even PERCEIVE that our bodies perceived a threat in rejection or some other scary occurrence - we will just know we’re deep in our reactions and don’t know why.
We are running so many somatic and subconscious programs we generally have no real awareness of the roots, the stories and where our stories and reactions came from. Then add to that all the EMOTIONS that come with all of this - and you are starting to see the complexity that is our current perception and ways of being.
We are not just our conscious, objective, fully in alignment with reality, rational minds.
We are programs.
We are emotions.
We are SO complex.
We are our history and what we were trained to see as well as HOW we were trained to see.
Our bodies and our emotions have been driving our ships based on childhood programming for most of our adult lives. Much of the time we don’t see this, because as we’ve grown our minds have come up with all sorts of reasons and logical explanations for why our behaviors make sense and are the right thing. OR we look at parts of ourselves that instinctively act in reflexive ways, that cope, that numb, that sabotage us in some way as ‘flawed’ parts of ourselves that simply seem to be malfunctioning - rather than seeing them as the result of a long line of adaptations, emotional responses and nervous systems programs that our being believes are THE WAY to keep us alive/deal with pain.
Our FELT experience was and still is driving a LOT of what we do. Our past conditioning that got imprinted into our bodies is still the ‘reason’ we are doing a lot of the things we’re doing. We have patterns and habits that aren’t logical, but rather are emotional and physical - and in this we often find ourselves feeling alien to our own behavior.
With this, we tend to project our childhood experience and view of the world out onto our adult reality - keeping with that continuity of perception we’re constantly striving for as human beings.
Most of us have never done a deep investigation into our beliefs, how we think the world works, why we believe certain things to be ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, what we actually feel and why, what our true needs are, why we cope, numb and self sabotage and so on.
Rather, we are walking around with a whole lot of assumptions and past programs that we’re perceiving to be ‘how things are’ - and in this we continue to build more and more stories on top of what may be fully illogical and out of synch with an adult reality mindset - but we don’t see this. Our minds have been crafting meaning making stories for so long, that they appear to US to be TOTALLY logical and reasonable. So when life doesn’t work out how we think it should, we assume that reality is wrong, we assume that there’s some flaw in the system, we assume that we simply can’t have what we want or what we need - rather than understanding that much of the time we need to question our foundational view of what’s happening and why.
On the flip side, we may do something and get desired results, and again decide that we got the results ‘because we did this or that’ - when in reality, the results we got actually had nothing to do with what we did, or perhaps had very little to do with what we did, and rather was a result of a whole complex of factors that are beyond our control and possibly even beyond our awareness.
So we have to understand - we are working with minds that can’t possibly see or know everything, that want to create a consistent narrative even when our perceptions are incorrect, that can come up with justifications and reasons for ‘why’ anything is true/not true even in the face of solid evidence to the contrary
We’re doing all this casting of meaning and creating of story in order to give ourselves the best chance at survival and happiness - we want to understand so that we can feel secure in the idea that we will be protected from harm and will be able to access pleasure whenever we want.
We have programming.
We have emotions that complicate our view of reality.
We have So much going on in our consciousness and subconscious that we’re not aware of.
And we are a part of SYSTEMS and a BROADER REALITY that isn’t coming from us.
So hopefully we can see at this point that there are many, many factors involved in our perception of reality, and that in real reality, as hard as this may be to accept, a lot of those factors are flawed.
So what does all of this have to do with the Law Of Attraction you may be wondering?
That’s exactly what we will explore next week!
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