Are You Listening?

The reality with which we view the world is filtered by our sense of self esteem. For example, looking at a fashion magazine or maybe a magazine about cars will bring up many negative or unresolved feelings about how we see ourselves fitting in to the world around us. You may feel you are not worthy of a nice car or a particular kind of outfit. It may sound silly but it is true.

Our self esteems are molded in childhood. How we fit in to the world around us was shaped and creatIMG_1467ed by how OTHERS in youth treated us. If you had a particularly traumatic or trying childhood you may have many unresolved self esteem issues. Your ‘self’ absorbed all the good, bag and ugly you heard about yourself and integrated it in to who you see yourself to be. Self esteem and dysfunction are intimate bedfellows and hard to separate. Does it mean it isn’t possible? No! There is a secret undamaged person in every individual. And the first duty of loving yourself is to listen to yourself. Having a damaged self esteem also is not an excuse for bad behavior. We all, for the most part, very easily differentiate between good behavior and what is unacceptable.

Often the damaged part of a self esteem is hurt because of things we now perceive we did not receive as children – let me repeat that. The damaged or hurt part of our inner selves is because of things we now perceive we did not receive as children. Maybe you never got that special bike you wanted and therefore felt unloved. Maybe your father was never home so you did not feel worthy of his love. The good news is this can be undone…we can unwind the clock so to speak. Healing a hurt self is not easy nor is it a one-time process. It can take a long time to repair the damage but persistence and determination are vital to this process.

Here is one of the most powerful exercises I use in my Emotional Wellness workshops and it inevitably brings many tears to many eyes during and after the process.

Write down on a piece of paper or in a journal, in whatever order or way they come to you, the things you wish you had received in your childhood — and did not. Take 10 minutes to do this exercise. Write whatever comes to mind – whether you believe it now or not… It can be time with a loved one, a thing – what ever it is, how ever many things there are. Do not stop writing.

Once you are done, review your list. You have just written what you should do for yourself now! Any surprises? This simple exercise – and following through with the results, can help to start to connect you with the undamaged child in you and rebuild/create a positive self esteem. This is the singular most powerful exercise I have students do. Did you want a pony, then go find a riding stable and take lessons. Did you want more time with your mother and she is now gone? Sit and write letters to her and have conversations with her on paper. Did you want braces? Go get them. Re-nurture the child in you. Be your own parent and caretaker. Remember I said the first duty of love is to listen? Your inner child is begging for you to listen, provide what is needed and help him or her grow in to the person you now are. Are you listening?

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