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The Power of Conditioning: Beliefs That Hold You Back

By Ivanka Jankovic
June 05, 2011

Learn what is deep conditioning about, how beliefs can hold you back and why it is important to release them.

In India elephant training starts while the elephant is still a baby. It gets tied with a very strong chain to a tree. A baby elephant wants to wander, tries to brake free, all attempts fail and over time resignation settles in.

As elephant grows a chain gets replaced with less stronger one, eventually with just a rope. This powerful, now grown, animal stands still, does not even try to move any more. This is the power of conditioning.

Humans are conditioned in a similar way. Our families, society, schools, religions tell us what we can or cannot do, or should and should not do. Deep conditioning gets passed from generation to generation, the same patterns can be observed in multiple generations.

Nowadays the most devastating conditioning comes from a media that assaults us with ideas of what we need to do, have, become, achieve or be in order to be successful, loved, happy and accepted.  The number of eating disorders among young people, and the number of mid life crisis speak volumes how devastating this kind of conditioning is.

How do we get conditioned?

When a baby is born its heart is opened and trustworthy. It needs caregivers and loving community to survive and thrive.

By age five 50% of beliefs are formed, and by age eight 80%. Those beliefs become a second nature, act as a filter, and create reality.

Any kind of rebellion or disagreement is punished or threatened with withdrawal of love, or the worst fears a child has, fears or rejection and abandonment. As a child complies and tries to fit in, his/her True Self goes into hiding, while the ego wounded self gets formed.

The ego wounded self constantly tries to protect against pain and to get love.

The symptoms of deep conditioning

Deep conditioning results in a set of limiting beliefs. Those beliefs act as an invisible rope. You can go as far as the rope allows you. At the end of the rope you may get frustrated, irritated, angry, feel like a victim or become resigned. 

Deep conditioning also triggers your inner chatter - things that you tell yourself over and over again.  You may not be aware of your inner chatter, but your feelings of discomfort are telling you something is off.

Examples of limiting beliefs:

  • You are selfish if you take care of yourself.
  • You are not supposed to ask for help and support.
  • You think God is taking notes of your mistakes ever ready to punish you.
  • You think you need to work very hard to get anything in your life.
  • You are afraid what will others say or think about you.
  • You believe if you are true to yourself you will end up alone.
  • You believe there is not enough for everybody.

How do you heal those beliefs?

Deep limiting beliefs are multi layered. It takes time to release them. Do not be surprised if the same belief shows up in your life multiple times before it finally gets released.

When you become aware of your limiting beliefs, you may get overwhelmed and feel like there are so many, it will take ages to let go of all of them. The good news is when one core limiting belief gets released it brings down other smaller beliefs as well.

Steps to help you release limiting beliefs:

  1. Learn how to bring the truth and take loving care of yourself in the present moment, otherwise you run a risk of replacing one limiting belief with other.
  2. Learn how to manage your wounded feelings of anger, blame, shame, and core existential feelings of heartbreak, grief, loneliness, sadness and helplessness.

As you start to let go of your deep conditioning your True Self starts to shine out. You notice more joy, peace and less worry in your life. All energy that has been stuck in a bad habit starts to freely flow, increasing your sense of well-being.

"It's not who you are that holds you back, it's who you think you're not." ~ Author Unknown


Ivanka Jankovic is Holistic Energy Practitioner and  the founder of Gaia Holistic Center, a holistic practice that utilizes transformative holistic methods that provide  the pathway to fulfilment and freedom. Visit her web site


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