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  • Michaela Patel


Conditioning is a set of beliefs, FILTERS through which we view the world.

First our parents made us believe things, shortly after that our religious groups, and our cultural background influenced us.. Then our teachers, our social circles, and occupational influences....our society, and many more.

Take my view on how to achieve happiness in life as an example....

I have been taught by my parents:

1. study university we chose for you, or you will end up poor and unhappy

2. work hard to save as much as you can, or you won't be able to do things in life you enjoy

3. find a partner, or you will end up lonely

4. have children, the bigger the family the happier you will be

Anyone else had been brought up with similar views?

Parents mean well. They do....

I am not questioning their motifs here, only their beliefs. And unfortunately, as much as the parents of our parents, they got many things WRONG. I didn't question them then, no.... I wasn't rebellious enough! I was brought up in a strict family, and any rebellion was painfully punished, in the same way my parents were punished for theirs.

And so these 'TRUTHS' have been passed on over many generations. Why? Because it needs COURAGE and AWARENESS to question....

Firstly, I feel that parents are deluded to knowing best what their child needs, wants and likes. They think that because of a young age and lack of experience, we don't KNOW what WE like. They think that they know better, because we have a lot to learn.

But how exactly is accumulating KNOWLEDGE going to make us realise what we LIKE??

Isn't this matter of listening to ourselves, deep down? To the voice of OUR OWN heart? To notice how we feel?

It has nothing to do with knowledge!

A small child of the age of 2 knows exactly what he/she likes, what makes her/him joyous - WITHOUT being educated. The problem is that our internal guidance is being silenced by the age of 4, by the voice of others. Who tell us (oftentimes with best intentions) what WE LIKE TO DO.

We have been trained since a young age that we know nothing. That we are too inexperienced, stupid, to understand how we feel. We have been told that we shouldn't trust ourselves in making decisions because others know best....


We stop trusting ourselves....and completely rely on what is being taught at home, at school, at church, at work, in our media.

This is how we get conditioned. We are taught what is right for us.

Now lets question the points raised above....

Number 1. How is it going to make ME happy to study university which was someone ELSE'S CHOICE? We all know that we excel in areas we really enjoy doing, like our hobbies, because we are self-motivated.

I believe that we are ALL born with a special gift.

The role of a parent is to support and guide their child in DEVELOPING this gift. Whatever that may be! We are all geniuses in our own right. We cannot be all doctors, or lawyers. We like to do things which bring us joy, which motivate us to become better at them - without anyone else forcing things upon us just because their idea will makes us more money!?

Are we happy? No!

That brings me directly to point 2: working more - making more money theory.

We work our butts off so that we can live in a bigger house, drive a better car, dress in line with latest fasion. All to look good. We work more than we really need to, we don't enjoy what we do (as of point 1 because it wasn't by our choice). We make more, to spend more. Our monthly outgoings grow, and we get stuck on a hamster wheel. We are miserable on Sunday thinking about Monday. We are struggling through the midweek to make it to the weekend. 5-6 days of work to 1-2days of free time.

We use our free time to RECOVER from the work week load. We rest to work - not work to rest.

Is that a good work-play balance? No. Are we happy? No!

Forget for a minute the classic working model. Imagine working maximum 4 days a week, having not only time to sleep off our tiredness, but also do what makes us cheerful, what makes us truly happy! I believe that productivity would sky rocket, people would be actually looking forward to go back to work. They would be more motivated to perform well, knowing they have space in their life to do something else than JUST work.

Point 3. Since our childhood, we hear that being alone is some kind of a disadvantage, painful misery, almost SHAMEFUL. You probably heard this: 'You haven't got enough friends.' Or 'Your friend has got a partner, what is wrong with you?'

WHY?? Because our parents couldn't do it? Because they failed at being happy on their own? Granted, team is more powerful, it is easier to survive in our money driven society in tandem.


Having a partner doesn't ENSURE happiness. Neither it ensures that we don't feel lonely.

Have you ever been by yourself at home the whole day, feeling absolutely wonderful? Have you, on the other hand, had a full house of people and felt pretty miserable? Have you ever felt misunderstood, unloved and lonely being IN relationship?

I did. So I KNOW that having a loving, genuine and caring partner is a just a bonus. Not a ticket to happiness.

Having children, which brings me to point 4., is wonderful. It opens you up, and it has the power to heal your wounds. It makes you see the world from an entirely different perspective - that of a parent. I love every minute of it.

But does having more children ensure happiness?

When having MORE children, our love doesn't divide, it multiplies. Yes that is true, and joy multiplies with it. However, there is a catch. With every child comes a great responsibility - to bring up an awesome human Being. Even with one child, it's a hell of a job. And unfortunately for us, and our children(!), our attention DIVIDES....

We have certain amount of money we make, in the job we don't enjoy, not exactly happily married. We work most of our time to survive.

We become a parent on top of that (which is a part time job with one child, full time job with more children). We struggle to provide as our budget ALSO divides. Surprise surprice.

We have now few jobs on our hands and absolutely no time for ourselves - for OUR OWN downtime, for our hobbies, for things which recharge us.....

And we are exhausted. SURVIVING (not living!) mentally, emotionally, financially.

So why did we do this to ourselves? Why did we sacrifice ourselves....why did we sacrifice our children?! We feel inadequate as parents, and just tired. We feel we have somehow failed.

All because we chased happiness. We followed the 'TRADITION', and what OTHERS told us to be true. Because we stopped believing the voice of our inner guidance and wisdom, the voice of our common sense....

Thank you for reading. If my article contributed to understanding yourself, please be generous and share it with others.

Copyright © 2016 Michaela Patel

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