We all have deep, conditioned beliefs about ourselves that were taken on very early in life and subsequently affect our relationships. The way these form is that some trauma occurs that creates strong emotions for you. (Note that an experience doesn’t have to be what many would consider devastating to be traumatic to you due to the emotional reaction.) We then attached meaning to the emotion.
For example, my dad spent a lot of time working and taking on overtime when I was young. He didn’t take my brother and me to ball games or the zoo or on vacation or other things dads often do with their kids. He did provide for shelter, food, education and all of the basic needs – so he wasn’t a “bad father” per se. However, my perception was that he didn’t want to be bothered to spend time with me. The meaning I internalized from his behavior was that I wasn’t important and he didn’t love me. While he didn’t abuse me, these beliefs I developed were traumatic.
The trauma we experience and meaning we develop then become conditioned in us and lead to memorized beliefs, attitudes and behaviors – the feelings and reactions become habits. If something occurs in a way that we perceive the same meaning, this ‘triggers’ the conditioned feelings and causes us to continue to react from similar emotions. A trigger is a reflection of the earlier trauma/belief, and the similar reaction occurs because we haven’t yet resolved the past belief.
Continuing my story, I went through a string of serious relationships with men where I sabotaged them through my own behavior because deep down I always felt it wasn’t “if” but “when” the relationship would end because I believed that I wasn’t important. I would get close but not too close to protect myself – and because I wouldn’t get too close, eventually they wouldn’t spend as much time with me which would trigger the feelings of unimportance and reinforce my belief.
When the belief we develop is unresolved, we attract what reinforces the belief – if you feel you are not worthy enough to be loved, then you will attract a partner and friends that you perceive don’t love you enough. Because until you change the belief in yourself, no one can love you enough – until you KNOW that you are worthy and you love yourself, no one else’s love can truly get in.
The first step in releasing a belief is to recognize the pattern of triggers and emotions. This often leads to discovering the belief and what contributed to it, all the way back to the earlier trauma. We then need to validate the emotions and meaning we tied to the trauma. The feelings need to be expressed and accepted – first by you – in order to move through them. And the trauma needs to be forgiven for you to move past it. Then you need to share this with those you have a close relationship so that they can understand and be sensitive to the wounds you carry.
I always knew I didn’t have a good relationship with my dad, but through coaching I realized the belief I had developed and then discovered the “trauma” that caused it. I forgave my dad and changed my belief to knowing that I am important – because I feel I am. I have since told this to those important to me – and now to you!
This doesn’t mean that you won’t still be triggered by similar events or behaviors in the future – I still get hurt when I perceive that someone doesn’t want to spend time with me. But if you are mindful of what is occurring inside you, you can choose to react in a different way – I tell myself that I am important and there is a really good reason why someone can’t spend time with me at the moment, but that doesn’t mean they don’t also think I am important. The recognition gets sharper over time, and the reactions decrease. Once you release old beliefs and recognize the real truth about the wonderful being that you are, your relationships will improve!
If you struggle with this, contact us – we can help you work through this!