10 March 2021

UNCONDITIONAL LOVE, FREEDOM, BELONGING and CONDITIONING

We have all been children: do you remember what you really needed?
What were you willing to do in order to feel seen and loved?
How important was it for you to play and feel free to explore?

We have said that our character is formed in response to the environment in which we live.
In the early years of our lives we adapt in order to meet our needs.
We need to be loved, and in return for that love we are willing to do anything, even give up on ourselves.

But what do we really need as children?

We need to play, to explore, we need freedom, to discover the world.

At the same time we need to belong to something: to a family, to a group, to society. We are social animals and we need connection and attachment, especially as children when we are completely dependent on adults.
Only when our need to belong is satisfied are we able to cooperate.

In order to grow well, we need unconditional love: no matter what you do, I think positively of you and support you in fulfilling your need for freedom and your need to belong.

One thing that is certain is that we are all sons: how many of us have received this unconditional love balanced between freedom and belonging?

Did our parents receive it? Try to think about it: a look at the past, at our history, allows us to better understand what we are today, what thoughts we have about ourselves.

I’ll give you some examples to help you understand what conditioning is.
In this week’s podcast I tell you about Elena, who feels she can only be loved if she is beautiful.

No Giorgio, you can’t dress up as a fairy, that dress is for a child, it belongs to your sister. You dress up as Zorro like a good little boy!

Giulia you are a girl, you can’t play football, football is for boys….

The child plays, explores his freedom. It has nothing to do with gender, as a child gender does not exist, it is just a projection of the adult.

Screaming when a child is in danger is one thing, judging the child’s play and expression is another.

What does the child want? To be loved by you as a parent.
What happens if he feels yelled at for playing with the tutu?
He will stop doing it for fear of losing your love, he will stop exploring.

I give up exploring because I’m afraid you won’t love me anymore.
I don’t run any more because mummy is afraid I’ll hurt myself.
I won’t get dirty or you’ll scold me…

Is that clear?

There are many examples: we learn to meet the expectations of others, and then we believe that we can be loved only if…. that “only if “ indicates the condition.

Only if I get good grades
Only if I am well dressed
Only if I don’t bother
Only if…..

We have all learnt rules about how we should be: attractive, nice, sporty, neat, respectful, funny. Whatever it is, we have learnt that, only if I look like this… then I am entitled to be loved.

We will do anything to be loved. Our need to belong is very strong as children, much stronger than the desire for freedom.

In practice we work so hard to be the way others want us to be that we don’t have the strength to learn who we really are and what our direction is.

This happens everywhere, even in the best families, in fact, especially in the best families!

So yes, we are all conditioned. More or less conditioned, but conditioned.

What can we do?
Start loving and accepting ourselves for who we are, no matter what.

Love and accept you for who you are, regardless of your choices.
We are made up of many parts, and according to transactional analysis the adult, the child and the parent live in us. When we start a personal growth path, we choose to grow the adult, our healthiest part. It is that part that begins to love and accept the child part for what it is. Most probably your parents did not know how to meet your deepest needs, but you can do it now.

When the child is supported by unconditional love it is free to be its own person.
It is free to develop as it is, following its own inclinations.
I am free to explore the world and I know that there is someone there for me, who accepts me for who I am, who recognizes my value.

When we feel good at home, feel that we belong, we are truly free to spread the wings of freedom.

When we feel judged, unappreciated, when we do not feel understood, our freedom is conditioned. We are free to go where we want as adults, free to keep our distance, to make our own choices, but deep down we are not free from conditioning, from all those judgments and thoughts that condition our way of being in the world.

When the child feels loved unconditionally, feels he belongs, then as an adult he has the opportunity to blossom and flourish to his full potential.

Authentic parents find the right balance between the need for freedom and the need to belong: both need to be satisfied. Authentic parents give children the freedom to be themselves and to be loved for who they really are.

But remember that there is no such thing as the perfect parent.

You are now an adult, and you have the opportunity to give yourself all the unconditional love, sense of belonging and freedom you need.

I hope you found this article helpful and I look forward to seeing you next week with an extra bit of authenticity!