Each of us comes into this world as a whole, integrated human being. We’re born with innate personality traits, natural strengths and talents, and tremendous potential. Growing up, we respond to our life conditioning by adopting habitual roles, beliefs, and behaviors that often diminish our potential. These patterns follow us into adulthood, and they shape our feelings about ourselves, our personal lives, our relationships, and our careers.
A foundational element of my work is to help people uncover the patterns that keep a lid on their potential, identify the roots of these patterns, and take action to transform them. This involves identifying the innate personality traits, strengths, and potential of their Authentic Self (the person they were born to be) and the limiting role, beliefs, and behaviors of their Conditioned Self (the person they learned to be).
The next step is to develop strategies for change. This entails learning how to think and act by conscious deliberation versus by automatic default. Living by deliberation means intentionally aligning your thoughts, behaviors, and choices with the outcomes you’re trying to achieve. When you’re living by default, you’re reacting on autopilot from old, conditioned patterns. And while those patterns may have served you in your environment growing up, they’re usually not very effective in producing the results you want as an adult.
Letting your Conditioned Self run your life is like continuously swimming upstream. It depletes your energy, stifles your strengths, keeps you settling for less than what you’re capable of creating, and undermines your relationships with others. Over time, the chronic stress it produces can even weaken your immune system and compromise your physical health and well-being.
Shedding the shackles of your life conditioning and liberating who you really are is a life-changing process. Instead of your energy being consumed by trying to be perfect, berating yourself, living up to other’s expectations, avoiding failure, dealing with conflict, numbing your pain, or managing fear, it’s available to let you discover what you enjoy, take new risks, pursue your dreams, share positive relationships, and create the personal and professional life to which you aspire.
This type of inner work—delving into the roots of your limiting patterns and taking action to produce tangible, lasting change—can be challenging, uncomfortable, and even painful. But the years that I’ve been doing this work—and the transformative results I’ve seen over and over again—has taught me two very important things: the only way out is through and the rewards are well-worth the journey.
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© 2013 Lauren Mackler
Lauren Mackler is a world-renowned coach and author of the international bestseller, Solemate: Master the Art of Aloneness & Transform Your Life. www.laurenmackler.com