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Childhood Conditioning's Influence on Core Values and Self-Perception

#confidence #corevalues #courage #criticalthinking #flourish #freedom Oct 24, 2023

I grew up in a world where it was very important to be humble, serve and follow all the rules, all while looking my best, and managing others’ perception of me.

We all have a past that is an amalgamation of our upbringing and the experiences we have had growing up. And, we’re each raised on a “continuum” of sorts. A spectrum between two opposing views. 

Those polarized views could be from each of your parents, or your nuclear family and your extended family, your religion and those outside of it, your community and those surrounding it, you name it. I speculate most of us figure out some kind of compromised ability to walk a fine line while managing not to touch that “third rail.” 

There are those who are able to think for themselves early on, and have the confidence to stand their own “third way” ground, and I SO admire them! 💪That just wasn’t me. It wasn’t until I was in the hospital for bulimia and depression that the inability to walk this tightrope was questioned - I mean, I hadn’t even noticed it! 

It was just, you know… normal. 🤹

It turns out, I was walking that line in so many more ways than I could see at the time, but it was the question I needed to begin to see that I was certainly NOT doing anything good for me or my thriving. I was trying to appease both sides - of nearly every issue. That was 37 years ago. 

Without giving you a “blow by blow” of the years in between, suffice it to say, it’s not been a straight shot to wholeness and health. 😜It is filled with lesson after lesson, wound after wound, revelation after revelation… and I have the scars to prove it! 

But I’m not here today to share the bad news, I’m here to share the good news! I figured out a way to step off my “continuum(s),” and want to help you do the same.

Like me, you may not ever realize you’re walking this tight rope, until something knocks you down, off your path, and suddenly you see it.  Like hopping outside a painting or even seeing a whole new dimension. 

You can’t UN-see it.

The early messages we receive can serve as a powerful force in shaping our lives, both positively and negatively. When we recognize their influence and decide to change, it can transform our lives. It's a journey that requires courage, introspection, and a commitment to personal growth. 

But how? 🤨

I’m so glad you asked! 😎


You step off the tightrope, stand on your own two feet, by knowing who you are, settling into that beautiful person, and walking in your own “third way…” By knowing your Core Values. 

Seeing the principles and non-negotiables that make you unique provides a lens through which to see where you’ve been. Your Core Values are the lens that will bring into focus the continuum on which you’ve been living and why. Integrating your Core Values gives you the ability to plant your feet on solid ground and see (maybe for the first time) where you’ve been living. How you’ve been living. 

For me, I realized it was much more than just balancing being a humble servant while still maintaining a stellar public image. It included emotional expression (from stoic to full spectrum!), adherence to rules vs. individualization… It's  a lot. 😳

The main thing I want you to grasp today, is that YOU are on a continuum… maybe even several. 

You’re balancing the tension between polarized viewpoints, beliefs, and opinions. 

You’re walking a tightrope, tiptoeing around certain issues or situations, and may not realize why.

Today, I invite you to step off the tightrope. 

Because eventually, something will knock you off, and it’s not pretty. 

You can begin with curiosity - just a few questions:

  1. What area of my life holds the most tension?
  2. What area of my life do I feel like “I just can’t win?”
  3. Who (or what) do I tip-toe around?
  4. What topic or situation makes me say “can’t I JUST be ME?”
  5. When do I usually think “what will _____ think of this?”

These are a great starting point. 

Ask them.

Answer them.

Stare at your answers, and maybe even ask them again to see if other topics or situations show up.

When you’ve got some answers, share them. 

Share them with me (just hit REPLY), share them with your close friend, spouse, sister, teenager… start talking about YOU, who YOU are, and the answers will emerge with even more clarity. 

The echoes of past conditioning continue to reverberate through our lives, shaping our self-perception and worldview. Understanding these echoes, acknowledging their impact, and consciously choosing to break free from them can lead to a profound transformation. It's a journey that requires courage, introspection, and a commitment to personal growth.

It is my hope that this will inspire you to embark on this journey of self-discovery and transformation, fostering a life of self-acceptance, authenticity and confidence.

And you don’t have to do it alone.

Let’s do this together.

Trust me, planting your feet on solid ground (rather than balancing on a tightrope) is freedom.

It’s peace and safety. It’s an end to the constant tension. You can stop tip-toeing. You can gain your own balance.

I want to hear from you! DM me on social media (@theintentionaloptimist), or just hit Reply and tell me your thoughts or ask me your questions.

Standing with you,




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