I was sat on the train – a train I take regularly – and paused the music streaming through my headphones to notice the train attendant fighting with a passenger for the 75p he owed for his travels. His excuse was that he had no money on him and so couldn’t pay the fare. He was kicked off at the next stop.

She walked my way, looking worn down and saw that I had been watching the exchange. I turned up the corner of my mouth in sympathy and she went on to tell me her struggle with having to constantly battle with passengers who refused to pay for their journeys. Journeys costing less than £1. She said that train might be cancelled soon due to so many people trying to pull  a fast one and get away with travelling for free. The tragedy that would be!

This whole encounter got me thinking about responsibility and how so many of us refuse to take it. Some of us more often than others. I won’t lie – there are times I hope I’ll be able to commute for free. There’s the hope I’ll get lucky and be able to travel the one stop without paying. Because I could always use the extra cash, right? Couldn’t we all? But if an attendant appears, I buy a ticket. Why? Because I am choosing to use service they are providing. It’s helpful in getting me from A to B. I can’t expect to use it for free.

Trying to get something for free indicates a feeling of entitlment. A person feels they are able to have what they want at any expense. This is a selfish approach. And this is very different to a person who believes in abundance.

Let’s look at these two concepts. If you believe in abundance, you believe that there is enough to go around. You believe that there is enough for everyone to live a rich life and therefore you freely give because you know you have nothing to worry about. This automatically leads to kindness because there is no need to look out for yourself and get yourself ahead at the expense of another.

If you believe you are entitled, this means that you put ‘getting yourself ahead’ above all else. You believe that you should be able to get special privileges that others do not. You cannot believe this and believe in abundance. If you believed in abundance, you wouldn’t need to keep trying to get away with special treatment. This stems from feelings of scarcity. This stems from a person not getting what they needed early on in life.

Ironic, or not really at all? A person who grows up feeling deprived of basic needs as a child enters adolescence and adulthood having to look out for number one. If they don’t look out for themselves, no one else will, right? That’s the sad ‘truth’ they’ve been taught.

If a child has his or her needs met, he or she grows up believing the ‘truth’ that whatever they want or need will naturally come to them. He or she doesn’t need to go on the hunt for loopholes and special privileges to get those things.

So parenting is everything, as we know. It’s so much easier to learn the correct behaviour the first time round. But what about for so many of us that struggle with entitlement? What can we do to transform this negative behaviour into something more positive?

The first step is realising that your approach to life will always be reflected back at you. It’s called the law of attraction (though I know, I know, that phrase is so overused and vomit-inducing that you might struggle to read past it.)

Everything in this universe is made of energy. This energy is expressed in different forms and it just shifts between them . Energy cannot be created or destroyed, only transformed in one way or another. Thanks Einstein.

An entitled approach instills negativity in those who suffer at your expense. An entitled approach emits vibrations of scarcity. And these resonate further than you might imagine. But just as you can create this negativity, you can also create positivity. That positivity can spread and transform into higher vibrations.

Give, and you’ll be amazed what you get back in return.

 

Photo via Unsplash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.conditioning_Pavlovs_Dog

Conditioning is the process of developing a learned behaviour associated with a stimulus. Take the most famous example of Pavlov’s Dog. Nineteenth century psychologist Ivan Pavlov discovered that any association that a dog made with food would elicit the same response as the food itself: salivation from said canine. He learned that repeating a particular action or stimulus when feeding the dog (such as ringing a bell) would teach the dog that bell ringing = food. Food causes salivation, but eventually the dog wouldn’t even need the food to perform this response. It would simply hear the bell ringing and start salivating knowing the connection it has made in its brain.

We’ve seen conditioning across the animal kingdom in a variety of experiments that have been conducted since. Trainers utilise it in the form of ‘positive reinforcement’ in performing or captive animals. And it’s seen in parenting techniques in our own species. But does it really offer anything positive in humans?

Parenting & Conditioning

Positive reinforcement is used by parents wanting to get more good behaviour out of their children and less bad. But take the example in Grolnick’s The Psychology of Parental Control: How Well-Meant Parenting Backfires where a young girl brings home a report card displaying ‘C’ grades. Her parents are disappointed, no doubt by projecting their own internal fears of not doing well enough in their own lives. But instead of looking at the cause of why she might be getting C’s, they evoke guilt as they offer monetary rewards for A’s and B’s. If the girl isn’t performing well, there’s an issue at hand. She might be experiencing bullying. She might have an unaddressed learning difficulty.

Humans are such immensely complex creatures. Trying to simplify the situations in our lives serves no benefit. All actions and events in our lives are interconnected. It’s only when we realise that that we can then begin to parent with love. We can then and place priority on understanding. In the above example, the parents place increased stress on the child. This forces her performance to decrease. They will continue scorning the grades she brings home. They  withhold love from her until the relationship or any hope of salvaging it disintegrates.

I see this time and time again. I saw it growing up from a child’s perspective and I see it now in adulthood. We’ve got all these people having babies, but so many haven’t got a clue what they’re doing. It’s brash, but true. I guess we argue that it’s a person’s right to produce offspring, but it’s the greatest responsibility you can have to raise a member of a future generation. Why aren’t we placing more emphasis on parenting techniques? It’s the same way that there’s no license needed to adopt a pet. We want something cute and fluffy, without realising that the animal is complex. It will do it’s own thing unless you develop a reliable, loving relationship with it.

Polarity in Behaviour

Last week I was sat in a beer garden trying not to watch a family with a howling dog. I kept glancing over and realised what was happening. The dog would whine endlessly when his owners were not around. The response from the mother was to dote on the dog. She would kiss him and hug him. This would elicit a positive response: tail wagging and rolling over. The response from the father was to hit the dog in the face. This inconsistently and polarity confuses the hell out of the dog. No one really wants him to whine; that’s a separation anxiety behaviour, but he knows that 50% of the time he will get love from the female owner and so he continues.

This happens time and time again in children. One parent offers one technique, the other another. The result is that the child has no idea what to do. There is the risk of him or her bonding more closely with the parent who does not withhold love. And we wonder why there are so many broken families?

Social Conditioning

Conditioning if done for the right reasons and from a place of love can be immensely beneficial. Conditioning yourself to eat a healthier diet or have a daily exercise regime is your way of looking after your mind, body and soul. This stems from the part of you that wants to show yourself love. The same goes for conditioning yourself to be kinder to your partner. Let’s say you’ve developed a detrimental routine of criticizing his or her punctuality. Conditioning yourself to approach the issue with love and understanding serves your relationship far better. The other person no longer feels under attack, but rather on your level.

Conditioning in the form of manipulation for an individual’s personal gain is harmful. On an individual level, we see this in relationships whereby one person has some unaddressed trauma. Instead of healing this, they use it as fuel for subconsciously manipulating someone in their lives to temporarily make them feel better. This is done at the expensive of the manipulated.

On a larger scale, we experience conditioning in society. We’re meant to strive for money and a college education. Supposedly happiness equals getting a well-paid job, owning a home, getting married and having babies. Also, did you know that the world is a dangerous place and everyone a serial killer or rapist? We are force-fed mainstream media telling us that all the important stuff is right there: that’s all we need to hear. We are pressured into thinking that we must look a certain way to be considered beautiful by others.

All of this is harmful. That is, until you realise that you’re playing a game and are free to live differently and make your own choices.

Photo: Flickr

 

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