Whose love did you crave most when you were a kid? This is typically a parent but sometimes a grandparent, sibling, or coach. And who did you have to become to get that love? What did you have to do or not do?
Did you have to perform, please, prove, or perfect? Be super grown up? Go wantless and needless? Be good or helpful? Take care of your siblings or even your parents?
Love and belonging are irreducible human needs and children will sacrifice their authenticity and many of their other needs in the blink of an eye for a shot at that attention they crave.
Reflect on your childhood desire for love and belonging and the greatest battles you fought for those (usually with an unavailable mom or dad but occasionally someone else).
Now, look at everyone you have ever dated.
Look at your career path.
Look at your habits, patterns, and compulsions.
Can you see the connection to your childhood conditioning?
Ain’t that some shit?
Crime Scene Investigation
If you’ve never done any CSI work on your childhood, I’m here to tell you, it’s absolutely fascinating. I do it nearly every day with clients and it’s never a mystery.
It’s always — Oh, so that’s why you went to medical school. That’s why you’re attracted to alcoholics, why you started your own business, why you became a therapist, why you only date long distance, etc.
It makes perfect sense when you look at it.
Problem is… not many people ever look! They just stumble through life wondering why this or that is “happening to them,” never suspecting that the universe is simply holding up a mirror so they can get to know themselves.
Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” I would take it a step further and say, in many cases, an unexamined life isn’t something one “lives” at all. To me, it’s more like sleepwalking — surviving at best.
You’re gonna need more than a pulse and a stack of unexamined coping mechanisms to convince me that you’ve got a life.