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The effect of conditioning in your youth and how they influence your behavior

Conditioning from our childhood has a deep influence on our behavior as adults. These conditionings are often unconscious patterns that we have adopted from our environment. They are the lens through which we see and respond to the world. During my work I like to explain this to provide clarity about why you do what you do. But first some explanation about what conditioning actually is.

What are conditionings?

Conditionings are behaviors, thoughts, and emotions that we learn through repetition and observation. They are often shaped by childhood experiences, such as the way we were raised, our interactions with parents and teachers, and the cultural norms in which we grew up.

So what you have learned is reflected in certain behavior you exhibit. For example, if you have learned that a dime never turns into a quarter, then the behavior expressed as an adult might be something like: I'm not worthy of this so I will keep myself small.

Or if you grew up in a family where you were not heard or seen because your parents were constantly working, you may be insecure as an adult and constantly need confirmation.

This is not specifically about trauma, this applies to everyone. It may have arisen from your upbringing, culture or religion. For example, if you were raised Catholic, you may be conditioned that there is Hell and that you should be afraid of it. In your adult life this may mean that you are very afraid of having wrong behavior or are afraid of people with a different faith.

Examples of conditioning and associated behavior:

1. Conditioning: "You always have to work hard to be worth anything."

- Behavior: People who believe this may have difficulty resting or feel guilty when they relax. They may overwork and exhaust themselves, leading to burnout.

2. Conditioning: “Showing your emotions is a sign of weakness.”

- Behavior: These individuals may suppress their emotions and be unable to communicate openly. This can result in stress, loneliness and even physical complaints due to the pent-up tension.

3. Conditioning: “Conflict must be avoided at all costs.”

- Behavior: This can lead to conflict avoidance and confrontation, even if that means ignoring your own needs and feelings. This can result in passive-aggressive behavior and frustration.

"People often want to change their behavior, but they are unable to do so. The reason why this is not possible is because nothing has changed in the beliefs and conditioning. You will first have to work on the conditioning, so that your behavior changes automatically because you no longer have it. believed."

How do you change these conditionings?

Changing deep-seated conditioning is a process that takes time and effort. Here are some steps to do this:

1. Awareness:

  • Identify the conditioning that influences your behavior. This can be done through self-reflection, journaling or conversations with a therapist.

2. Challenging the Conditionings:

  • Ask yourself if these beliefs are really true and look for evidence that disproves them. For example, ask yourself, "Is hard work the only way to be valuable?"

3. Practice New Behaviors:

  • Try new behaviors and beliefs. For example, if you believe that showing emotions is a weakness, practice expressing your feelings in a safe environment.

4. Repeat and Reinforce:

  • Reinforce your new behavior through repetition. The more often you practice a new behavior, the faster it becomes a new habit.

5. Support Search:

  • Seek support from friends, family, or a therapist. They can encourage and support you in your process of change.

Examples of Change

1. From Overtime to Balance:

- Learn to manage your time better and plan conscious breaks. Accept that rest and relaxation will benefit your productivity and well-being in the long term.

2. From Emotion Suppression to Openness:

- Start expressing your feelings in a journal. Share small chunks of your emotions with a trusted friend to practice in a safe environment.

3. From Conflict Avoidance to Healthy Confrontation:

- Practice assertive communication by expressing your needs and feelings clearly and respectfully. Start with small conflicts and slowly work towards larger confrontations.


Conditioning from our childhood has a powerful influence on our adult lives. Through awareness, challenge and practice we can break these old patterns and live a healthier and happier life. It is a journey of self-discovery and growth that is worth it for a better existence.

With love and compassion,

Marga Hogenhuis

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