You might have had a childhood in which it was not okay to be you. You may have been blamed for someone else’s anger or chaos, and then learned to feel like you were a failure or a bad person.
Others were praised for everything they did and got a sense of entitlement and they walk around with a bloated sense of self, but underneath feel like they need to perform extremely well to get praised and affirmed.
Both suffer from negative self-esteem and self-image. Both are seeking approval from others rather than having a deep sense of being okay internally.
Having only experienced conditional acceptance means: if you do this I will approve of you.
Conditional acceptance means you can never do enough to get the approval you need from others.
Conditional eyes only see failures and judge. There is no shame in seeing this way. This is the only way you have been taught to see things. And you can learn to see differently if you want.
Unconditional eyes see the person’s efforts to correct the failures and affirm these efforts to become healthier.
Maybe you messed up, but you can still pat yourself on the back telling you that you did a good job.
Teresa Maples is a sex addiction therapist practicing in Gig Harbor, Washington, USA.