conditional love programming: thank you notes

i never really understood the necessity of thank you notes

you know the ones our parents made us feel like we were obligated and expected to send after receiving something

i did not understand why my instant thank you hug or phone call or text was not enough and that you had to do a “formal” thank you note 

wouldn’t you rather receive a hug and a thank you in the moment or a quick call?

at birthdays and graduations and even holidays, the expectation was that you wrote what felt like a very contrived note for the gifts you received as if to praise the person who was gifting you something

this feeling made gift giving feel conditional, to me

my mom once told me that i was getting cut off from receiving gifts ever again from someone because she was so offended i didn’t send her a card but i distinctly remember choosing to call her to have a longer conversation and thanked her for the gift then

i was told it made me ungrateful to not send a card

but why wasn’t the gratitude perceived in the call but more so in using the gift?

i’ve literally worn this gift nearly every day and most nights to bed since i was 16

i can’t say the same about a lot of “things” having been gifted to me throughout the years

but gift giving isn’t about the person we are giving to

it’s often about us and our own need to be seen and validated for doing something “good” through our own projections rather than the desires or needs of those on the receiving end of our perceived love

the conditional love programming throughout my childhood was further enhanced by something that felt inauthentic to me to participate in

a societal norm that felt very forced

especially if we truly disliked a gift

i think this is why i often struggle with surprises

so often the gifts and surprises i received made me feel unseen growing up— i was told to be grateful for the thought and stop making faces 

y’all i cannot hide some feelings and disappointment is something that my entire energy field will force on someone without me trying

the things given by those who were meant to be closest to me had nothing to do with what i wanted and were a pure projection of the expectations others held for me

and that made me sad when i’d see others love what they received but felt yet another push to be what others wanted me to be not who i was 

i mean think about the clothes your parents buy for you vs the ones you ask for?

weren’t we told to never lie but also it was absolutely ok to lie about the god awful present someone gave you that felt more like you weren’t seen than it did

it was then apparently ok, and still is to lie to not hurt someones feelings thus disregarding our own experience so as to not offend someone else

i mean come on

that is wounded toxic behavior 101 and a program i’ve worked hard to rewrite time and again

i mean it’s a full on multiple chapter book at this point

the point being: why is one expression better or more accepted than another and why do we punish people for the way they respond to our love?

i know the answer but think about your own experiences 

where do you hold judgement and frustration with someone for not reciprocating and is that feeling of a conditional love a reflection of the programing instilled in you that you have to earn love rather than giving love from a place of actual love

healthy good strong love

are you attaching yourself to a gift

are you putting expectations on someone to respond

or are you giving the gift?

and what happens if their response is not favorable?

are you able to detach from the moment and see their perspective and yours?

take a moment

have a tinker bell tantrum if need be

think about how you want to approach this holiday season

consider how you want to flow

and grow 

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