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4 June - What Are You Conditioned To?

One of the things that psychologists have discovered in studying human behaviour is how we can become conditioned to our environment and certain stimulus.

A good example of this conditioning of our responses is called the Little Albert experiment where a nine-month baby was tested on his reaction to various natural stimuli. It was assessed that Albert was frightened and hesitant around loud banging noises and so the experimenters determined to initially show him a white rat, (and also a rabbit, and a monkey) to which he showed no signs of fear.

The experimenters then presented the rat to Albert, but this time they also created a loud banging noise at the same time which startled and made him cry. After continuously associating both the white rat and the loud noise together, Little Albert became conditioned to experience fear at the sight of the rat.

As a result of this conditioning, Albert went on to develop phobias to objects which shared characteristics with the rat as he grew to generalise his fear to a fur coat, cotton wool, and a Santa beard.

Little Albert is a very good example of the importance of how we process the world around us and how we respond to it.

If we allow fear or negativity consistently into our life, and don’t deal with these things, then over time we can end up being triggered and then conditioned by a variety of circumstances and types of people and place, and will transfer our fears and inadequacies into other areas of our life or just allow toxic situations and people into our world.

We are created for love, freedom, and peace, and when we are surrounded predominantly by these things, we will become conditioned to respond in a positive way, which helps us to discover who we are and to become the best version of ourselves.

However, if we become conditioned to fear and negativity because of our environments and relationships we can find ourselves being triggered to respond in a particular way when faced with them , much like baby Albert did with the rat and the loud noise.

Instead of being able to explore the world freely and naturally around him without fear, Baby Albert’s hesitancy over loud noises became a limiting factor in his life, because his fear could be attached to anything.

Today, I encourage you to check what you have been conditioned to and whether those things are causing fear in your life. If you realise you some things have attached to your life that you don't want there, you can change by facing your fears, desensitising yourself to what you are triggered by negatively and renewing your mind and heart with what God says. (Romans 12:2)

And if you are going to be conditioned to anything, I recommend it being to Jesus and his love for you, because they are two great things to become conditioned to and fear has no place there.

"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." (Romans 12:2)

"Perfect loves casts out all fear. Fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love." (1 John 4:18)

Prayer: Lord, please help me to see where I may have become conditioned to be fearful or triggered to particular people or circumstances so I can change the way I respond and think about these things. Most of all I want to know you and become conditioned to your love and to respond with peace and joy instead of hesitancy and fear. In Jesus name Amen

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