I grew up believing that love is conditional. I donít blame my parents for this – and it turns out it wasnít true – but I genuinely thought my parents would only love me if:
- I made straight Aís
- I saved my virginity until marriage
- I attended church twice a week
- I didnít cuss
- I respected my elders
- I came home by curfew
- I didnít smoke, drink, or get stoned
- I didnít get knocked up
- I ate my vegetables
And so onÖ rule after rule after rule.
Afraid they might withdraw their love if I ever broke a rule, I followed every single one of them religiously, to the exclusion of my own individuality and authenticity. I was the straight A, overachieving virgin who didnít drink until she turned 21 and only broke curfew once in 18 years (by escaping via my bedroom window while wearing my nightgown and hopping in my friendís car to go joyriding. Can you say ďgroundedĒ?)
My sister proved to me that the love of my parents wasnít conditional the way I believed. She broke all the rules and they loved her anyway. But somehow, that belief that love is conditional became ingrained in my impressionable consciousness.† I think itís still there sometimes.
When Iím naughty with my mother (like I was here), am I really asking ďWill you still love me if Iím naughty?Ē When I pick a fight with my husband – as I sometimes do – am I really asking ďWill you still love me if I treat you poorly?Ē† When I break a rule, am I testing the limits of love?
I think so.
In fact, I wonder if thatís the reason I post so many tell-all confessionals on Owning Pink (like this oneÖ†or this one.) Maybe Iím still living out my childhood wounds. Iím telling myself I donít care what you think and Iím just being unapologetically ME. But maybe the truth is that I think thereís some line I might cross that will make the people I care about stop loving me.
As long as weíre unconscious of our childhood wounds, we are doomed to repeat them. But when we shine a bright, pink light on them, we can examine them to see if they are true. And if they arenít – we can freely let them go.
Once I had the epiphany that part of me still believes this, I recognized that itís really not true. I know there are at least a dozen people in this world who love me unconditionally – including my mother, my daughter, and my husband.
So Iíve decided to stop repeating behaviors that are triggered from my childhood wound.
I’ve been doing a lot of one-on-one work with Steve Sisgold, author of What’s Your Body Telling You? From him, I’ve learned to address old childhood wounds using a technique that goes something like this:
How To Release Childhood Wounds
- Identify the wound/limiting belief.
- Ask yourself whether itís really true. (Hint hint: 99.9 percent of the time, itís not.)
- Once youíve recognized that your limiting belief is not true, release the wound/limiting belief. Try writing it on a sheet of paper and burning it. Or write it down, tear it up, and bury it in the earth.
- Now affirm that the opposite is true. (In my case, the affirmation is ďI am loved unconditionally.Ē) Post this affirmation around your house. Paint it on your wall. Repeat it to yourself several times per day.
- Pay attention to sensations in your body when you affirm that the opposite is true. Is there clenching anywhere? Tightness? A dull ache? What is your body telling you?
- Try affirming the new belief again until your body feels nothing but peace.
- Notice when you act out from your childhood wound and instantly repeat your affirmation and feel it in your body.
What Works For You?
Do you have techniques for releasing your childhood wounds? Tell us your stories. Share your tips.
Lissa Rankin, MD: Founder of†OwningPink.com,†Pink Medicine Revolutionary,†motivational speaker, and author of†Whatís Up Down There? Questions Youíd Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend and Encaustic Art: The Complete Guide To Creating Fine Art With Wax.
Learn more about†Lissa Rankin here.