(READ TIME: 9 minutes.)

Do you crack your own whip and shame yourself into action? Does the voice of that disciplinarian sound familiar?

Too many of us spend more time quietly telling ourselves we are stupid, lazy or “a bad friend” instead of learning how to ally with ourselves in service of change and growth.  

Let’s be clear, there is no amount of negative self talk that will help you get your act together.

I have found through my own healing journey and guiding many others, a little less frustration and a little more investigation is needed.  The good news is that shifting your behavior is a lot less complicated than you may think.


Let’s start with the basics. 

It is my belief that everything we do is motivated by a desire for power, attention, or love. I also think wanting power is really just a desire for attention, and attention is really just a way to meet our need for love. So in other words, our desire for love can come in many forms. Fear can also be seen as a motivator, however I believe that all fears boil down to an avoidance of the feeling of separation… from others and from ourselves.  This feeling of separation is essentially an attempt to avoid the absence of love. So yeah, everything is really about love. 

Understanding this simple truth and an awareness around a simple code will help you navigate crippling roadblocks in your life, breaking you out of familiar but ultimately agonizing patterns. I will explain what this code is and how to use it in a minute.  First, let me tell you about two of my clients so I can illustrate how our primary programs take form and why they sabotage our best efforts.


I have a client, let’s call her Sarah, Sarah believes that she shouldn’t waste time, and slays her to-do list.  She rose to the top of her field and became successful, just so she would have a voice at the dinner table with her well-to-do parents.  It felt like she had standards to live up to.  Sure, her parents love her and it was clear at an early age that she would get more attention (aka love) if she was also doing something noteworthy. The attention that her parents showed her (certainly well meaning) unfortunately created a program in her that influenced many areas of her life in unhelpful ways. 

The program was simple: Show others you are productive and they will love you.  

Later in life, my client found herself in a handful of stressful situations and had no idea why she was under such duress.  First, her first baby was underweight and her breast milk wasn’t flowing in, as she had wished. She was heartbroken and experienced a very painful time in her life. Then when it came time to grow the family, baby number two didn’t come to fruition as quickly as she had hoped.  Again, she found herself in total despair. Why were these things happening? What my client didn’t realize is that beneath all her hopes and good intentions was an unconscious fear that she will lose her husband and family if she is unable to be productive (reproduce and produce milk!) 

Remember, Sarah’s primary program is:  Show others you are productive and they will love you.  In other words, she believed, if I am unproductive, I will lose love and my loved ones.

Consider my other client, who had an alcoholic parent.  This client, let’s call her Pam, took on parental responsibilities at a very young age.  Pam learned that helping is how you receive love and as a result developed the program that being of service is how you get your needs met.  Unlike my other “productivity = love” client Sarah, Pam is not motivated to climb the ladders of business. Instead her energy has been focussed on the needs of her children and husband and not surprisingly she is also drawn to being a practitioner of therapeutic work.  Even though Pam has been on an intensive healing journey she still feels herself being pulled to help others, very often at the expense of herself. Pam knows, intellectually, that going to yoga would be better for herself and her family but her primary program, which she defaults to very often, overrides her intentions.  Rather than going to yoga she stays home and unloads the dishwasher. (Ever excuse yourself from a wellness practice because of “things to do”?)  

The irony is, more often than not, we don’t get the acknowledgement or love from our family that we desire.  So why are we stuck, like Zombies, unable to break free from a pattern?

Simple.  SELF REWARD. 

What is SELF REWARD?  Self reward is the unspoken recognition you give yourself when you think you have done something wonderful or what your consider worthy of praise. Think of the last time you were up at sunrise, chances are you engaged in major Self Reward that day.  

Keen awareness of strategically timed Self Reward is the missing code to break your patterns.

Here’s the interesting part though… until we are more conscious, almost exclusively, Self Reward happens when we are following our Primary Programs. It’s like Pavlov’s dog, when the dog heard the bell it started to salivate in anticipation of food. Similarly, our subconscious is conditioned to expect love when we do the thing that we’ve been programmed to believe will give us love, even if we don’t get ongoing validation.

You see what I mean?  

Yup. That’s right, even when we don’t get the love from others that we expect we still Self Reward. In other words, we reward ourselves with good feelings or words of affirmation, regardless if we experience praise from our spouse for cleaning the bathroom. Self Reward is a form of self love and like a crack junkie, we are hooked our primary programs to get it.

Are you with me?  

Let me walk you through this to see how this applies to you.



Fill in the blanks.

If I  ____________ ___________ __________  I will be loved by others. 

If you don’t know what you believe just think of how you got attention from your primary care givers. What did you do? Or say? (Oh and… We all have more than one PP.)



Our primary programs are unwavering and follow us to adulthood because it was a matter of survival.  As my friend Sarah Kamrath, Documentary Film Maker of Happy Healthy Child DVD series learned HERE from Bruce Lipton, children need adults to survive and they are in a Theta brain wave until about six years old, which is essentially the same as a hypnotic state. Children learn very quickly what’s needed to survive with the help of the brain, there is no conscious processing, they are just downloading observable information about the world.  If a child has an experience of getting attention (a.k.a. love) they will just repeat that same action without critical thinking, and what becomes embedded is an unconscious belief that they need to be a certain way, otherwise they might be left alone or die.




Remember the last time you were worked up, angry or frustrated? Adults feel stress or despair when they are doing the very thing that they believe is the golden rule to receive attention, love or power and it doesn’t work.  Here’s the funny/maddening part about life… There is no correct way to attract love, or be worthy of love. Almost all behaviors are attractive to some people, some of the time. And in reality, you don’t need to do anything at all in order to be worthy of love. Yikes. Try telling that to your personality.  Our personalities are literally built on the idea that there is a right way to evoke love. 

Our individual nightmare scenarios are not receiving love when we are doing exactly what we think is needed to receive it. This is why my client Sarah was panicked when she wasn’t able to will her body into producing milk, or making a baby. When we are confronted with different realities, that don’t fit into the mold of our unconscious conditioning your inner child might have a total fit. This is when we want to scream and cry… this is when we may blame others.




If I  ____________ ___________ __________  I will be loved by others.


(EXAMPLE 1. Primary Program: If I am productive I will be loved by others.  When it is good to Self Reward: when you go for a walk in nature, when you go to get a massage, or when you read a trashy romance novel, and masterbate all afternoon. Seriously.)

(EXAMPLE 2. Primary Program: If I am helpful I will be loved by others.  When it is good to Self Reward: when you sit at the dinner table and let others clear, when you let others carry your bags, when you resist the urge to rescue someone who’s life seems to be falling apart right in front of you.)

(Example 3. Primary Program: If I am sick I will get attention and love from others. When it is good to Self Reward: When you are feeling healthy and have a lot of energy. Celebrate the days that you feel boundless and free.) 



One of my primary programs is: I need to be independent in order to be worthy of love. At fourteen, I applied for my first “real job” at TCBY, slinging frozen yogurt (don’t laugh, it was a very serious job).  In the interview they asked me why I wanted the job and I said “to show my Dad that I can make my own money.” It’s still unclear to me where I got this idea, if my Dad expressed his desire for my independance directly or not, but nonetheless, a primary program was rearing its influential head.  

As a result, receiving from others has been challenging. Until I became more conscious, I would literally show off my self sufficiency, right down to installing my own light dimmers, and unconsciously reject support from others. 

Thanks to energy healing, I learned to shift my behavior, become more vulnerable and I began to SELF REWARD the exact opposite of what I did in the past.  The “new me” lets others pay and internally I will say “That was good.” There is a little voice that, every once in a while, still whispers, I will not be loved if I seem like a burden or I am perceived as needy.  Similarly, to counter this voice, every time I tell someone I need them, or ask someone for help, I say to myself, “Nice. Well done.” or “Good job for showing vulnerability.”  

Basically, Self Rewarding in the right places will counter condition programming that isn’t always beneficial.  Certainly there may be some merit to the way we learned to behave, but creating an environment where more ways of being are recognized as lovable will shine a light on a different perspectives of the human experience.  The more perspective we have the more joy we experience, because it is with a deeper understanding of the totality of human experience that we feel more connected. 

If we can learn to give ourselves love for the things that don’t perpetuate the limited thinking of our primary programming, then the patterns in our lives will change.  When the patterns in our lives change, possibilities begin to emerge.  


Self Reward every time you do something outside the default behavior of your primary program. We need to self reward the way we use mantras. Repeat loving sentiments to yourself over and over.  Meditation helps us see ourselves and become aware of our thoughts, self reward offers us the feedback to modify behavior. As Joe Dispenza says, “People, they are who they practice to be.” Practice Self Reward. Once you do this, you will see that you aren’t as reflexily motivated to do the same old, same old.  When we Self Reward for what we once thought was “unlovable behavior” (like going to the beach on a weekday as my dearest friend just did recently) we become our own healer, and our own sanctuary.  

It’s about time we realize ourselves as the source of the love that we’ve been seeking all along.

Want help identifying and shifting your primary programs?  Book a healing HERE! 🙂

Cover Photo by Kat Jayne from Pexels
Heart Photo by Engin Akyurt from Pexels

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  • Carolinne Griffin

    That’s right, everything boils down to love. Beautiful post. xx