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How You Are Like a Conditioned Baby Elephant



“You are not bound by a rope but by your own beliefs.”


Elephants are one of the strongest animals in the world. They can pull up tree trunks and knock down houses without too much trouble. They have traits that are associated with strength as mentioned and they also represent intelligence, wisdom, loyalty, and solitude. Yet, when in captivity as a baby to be trained for public use (circus), they are tied to a tree with a strong rope or chain every night. Its nature is to roam free, and the baby tries and tries with all its might to break the rope. But it cannot. The baby elephant gives up, believing that no matter the effort it is no use. Freedom to be fully who it was meant to be will never be. When the elephant becomes an adult, it can be tied to a small tree with a very thin rope and never tug at the rope. It could free itself by breaking the rope or uprooting the tree. But it does not. The elephant has been conditioned by its prior experiences that no matter how hard they try, they cannot get free from that tree. The elephant has limited its present abilities by the limits set by its past. This is called the Baby Elephant Syndrome.


Guess what? Humans also have this syndrome. However, as humans, you can “choose” not to accept the false boundaries and limitations created by your past experiences. You do not have to continually self-reject to avoid rejection from others or your past. Too many people live their lives afraid to try something because they have tried a few times and it did not work out or someone put an obstacle in their way symbolic of someone tying your leg to a tree or large rock.


One of my clients spoke about how in her past, she was always told that she was not good enough, would never be accepted, would never amount to anything. All these things tied her down to the point she would never understand or reach her potential. She had stopped trying or going full out on anything she endeavored. She realized she still held on to the beliefs of what others thought about her even though they were no longer in her life. What are you holding on to by a thread that you could break to experience the freedom to live your BETTER life?


What limitations have you set for yourself or have allowed others to set for you? Remember it is your choice to stay tied up or break free. How?


AWARENESS: Acknowledge and accept that you have been tied up, tied up too long, and it sucks.

UNDERSTAND: Ask and answer why have you allowed yourself to be tied up when you had a choice.


How can you prevent it in the future? (Be gentle with yourself.)


DECIDE: Get clear about what “better” means to you.

PLAN: Set a plan based on what you want for your life and pivot in that direction.

ACT: It speaks for itself. Remember the traits of the elephant which align with yours – strength, wisdom, intelligence, loyalty, and solitude. Tug at that rope that has been holding you for far too long and see if it loosens or breaks. Do not allow a negative past situation or individual continue to hold you from your destiny and purpose. You can begin with small tugs if that is what you need to move scared. Or just yank at it! Just do not give up on what you want in your life. Failure is a part of learning and is one of life’s struggles which are meant to be overcome.


“Your unhappiness arises not from the circumstances of your life but from the

conditioning of your mind.” Eckart Tolle


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Article by Gladys Agwai



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