If you are like most people, you live in a world filled with a multitude of various types of relationships. From work, love, family, and social acquaintances, you move in and out of different associations with the individuals that fill your world without even realizing you are doing so. Surprisingly, many of the interactions you have with other people each day are based on feelings, thoughts, and emotions you carry with you from childhood.
When it comes to your personal relationships, some of those preconceptions that you brought with you from childhood can help build the way you create loving connections, form expectations of failure, and create belief systems about the way you feel loved within the relationships. In order to truly understand who you are and what you believe, you must also understand what belief systems you still carry with you from childhood and how those thoughts, feelings, emotions, and expectations have become crucial in shaping who you are today, how you think, and what you expect from others. Since all the daily interactions are established on our early life experiences, it is important to understand what those early impressions were.
You learned how to behave from your parent’s examples. That is, you were socially conditioned to believe in right and wrong, good or bad, and a multitude of other daily little influences that created the you that you are now. From how to wipe your nose, to how to dress, and how to react with others socially, you learned it all at a very young age. During this learning period, you also discovered how to get and give affection, the pain of loss, and how to deal with anger or unhappiness. If your parents were lacking in any of these skills, you had no choice but to model your behavior after them because that is what you were taught.
You are now beginning to realize how deeply ingrained your childhood cognitive development has been in your social conditioning. Some of those attitudes you may have changed during your rebellious teenage years, and still others you could have modified as you adapted to your college life, your first work position, or first intimate relationship. There are, however, many ideas and beliefs you may not realize you have that are the core basis of how you function when confronted with difficult, emotional, or challenging personal paths in life. When some patterns in life repeat themselves in an emotionally painful or dysfunctional way, it may be time to look into your past.
Transforming problematic behavior or thoughts can be difficult, but the cognitive-behavioral approach to life transformation can address the causes of past pain by looking at undesirable thoughts or emotions and replacing them with those you choose. This allows you to take control of your life and enhances your self-perception, thus permitting you to decide which behaviors, thoughts, and emotions you will continue to bring with you from childhood to influence your current life situations and relationships.
It is not always easy to make changes, and when the changes are behaviors or ideas you have held from childhood, the task can seem daunting. By taking one step at a time and realizing you can be in control, the maladaptive patterns can quickly be replaced by more life enhancing ones. You can decide what to keep and what to get rid of, and when you finally become the one in control, it can be worth all the effort.