Have you ever felt trapped, like there was an invisible cage around you that you couldn’t escape?
You will hear people say, “I hate my job… but there are no other jobs.” “I wish I had a nicer apartment… but there is nowhere else to live.”, “I’m so unhappy in this relationship… but I’ll never be able to do any better than this.”, “I look horrible… but I’ll never be able to lose weight.”
The vast majority of people thinks this way all of the time. This is a direct result of their mental conditioning.
If you can objectively look at a ‘but’ statement, the first part of the thought usually comes from the heart and soul. On the feeling level, it is a statement of feeling, motivated by a desire for something better. The second part of the statement – the ‘but’ – is limiting, constricting, disempowering and irrational. ‘But’s usually come from our old, limiting conditioned responses.
What is a conditioned response? A conditioned response is a response that has been programmed into someone’s consciousness repetitively over time until it becomes their automatic, subconscious reaction.
Think about circus elephants. When a baby elephant is taken into captivity, the baby will be chained to a pole. The baby will pull and pull on the chain, desperately attempting to escape. That baby might pull for days or weeks on end. The trainer will keep the baby chained for however long it takes for the baby to become resigned. Once the baby elephant becomes ‘conditioned’ to its own state of captivity, the baby will not attempt to pull against the chain… ever again.
By the time an elephant is an adult, the elephant is secured by a flimsy rope. As long as the rope exists, the elephant believes it is ‘chained’. The rope could be tied in a slip-knot, or even just draped over a clothes line, and the elephant will not attempt to run for freedom. The elephant has fully bought into the conditioned response that it is chained, and that trying to pull free is futile, even though the reality is that the grown elephant could snap that rope in an instant.
Think about your own life for a moment. What were you conditioned to believe? Do you have any invisible chains tying you down to a false reality? Be willing to take a deep look at your early programming.
The truth is that you’ve never been trapped. The door to the cage is standing wide open; you just have to be able to believe it in order to see it. If you feel caged in any way, or find yourself thinking or speaking in terms of ‘but’s frequently, I encourage you to question your earliest conditioning.
An easy way to spot old conditioning is to examine the areas in your life where you feel the most depressed, hopeless or despairing. Depression is often the result of giving in or giving up hope that something could ever change. The feelings the baby elephant felt while pulling on the chain have not gone away, they have simply been repressed and stuffed down in the adult elephant.
In the same way, any feelings you originally had before you became resigned to a certain feeling of inevitability have also likely been repressed, which is why you will probably find them buried under a boulder of hopelessness. You can follow the feeling-thread to lead you to your beliefs of what you were programmed to think of as ‘true’. Then you can ask yourself questions like, “What led me to believe that this was true?” and “How is it serving me to continue to believe this is true?”
By questioning your conditioning, you can begin to easily identify old, limiting beliefs of reality that have been keeping you small. Say, “I am now questioning my conditioning, identifying any and all limiting responses that have been keeping me trapped. I am now finding and opening the door to freedom.”
Many Blessings of Joy and Vibrant Freedom
Action Step ~ Examine your early programming ruthlessly and question your conditioned responses, letting go of anything that no longer supports you.
Declaration: “I now fearlessly examine my old, limiting programming. I am now questioning my ‘but’s and my conditioned responses, seeing beyond the old chains that have kept me small in the past. I am now liberated.”
Additional Support: Listen to this 10-minute closed-eye process on looking at your early conditioning; please refrain from driving while listening.