Let’s be honest. We often spend much of our time and energy seeking approval and validation. Our desire is to be well liked, (or appreciated, respected, needed, etc.,). It is often so strong that we can lose ourselves, and our values, in search of recognition, praise or simple affirmation. We fear rejection. We fear being put down, humiliated, disrespected., or criticized. Yet in the end we know that what counts is not at all what others think of us—it is about each of us accepting and loving ourselves—just as we are!
“This above all: to thine own self be true.” ~ William Shakespeare
You Are Not Alone….that inner child, once wounded….is a definite part of you!
Everybody’s psyche, according to psychology articles, gets victim-wounded somehow, someway…and usually prior to the age of 7. It is a wound that unconsciously becomes one we can long-carry with us; we try to smother it and rise above it as we move into adulthood. Yet those hurts, fears, humiliations and angers can form emotional baggage—of the clinging variety. (No one escapes the wounding).
Our inner child takes in an untruth….someone has said something mean/hurtful to us and as an authority over us, claims it is true, so your child mind concurs….”I’m not adequate, I can’t do it, I am stupid, I’m not smart enough, I’m not enough, I’m not liked, I’m not respected, I’m not good enough, I’m ugly, I’m unloved.” And then, as life plays out, those very wounds, if not dismissed immediately by one’s child-mind, (or balanced out by huge love, caring and nurturing), can get distorted, then reinforced by related rejections, exclusions, repetitions, etc., as time moves on.
All this easily connects to our self-esteem and our perceived self-worth…..all unconsciously.
Low-level simmering is happening on the inside! If, for example, we don’t really believe that we are worthy on the inside, (worthy of achievement, applause, respect, praise, etc., because we’ve bought in to that deep wounding), then we’re always going to be seeking some degree of validation or appreciation or respect from others that tells us we are okay. The problem is that no matter how much others tell us that we did a great job, have their respect, are honored by our presence, appreciate our achievements, are loved, deep down we don’t believe it. (Unconsciously, we reject their attempts). So when we don’t get or when we dismiss the validation we are needing or unconsciously craving, then the simmering continues, and resentfulness and even anger can become part of this cycle. We become our own worst enemy—victims of playing out a story-line that holds no truth—and never did. We have to find our own ways of coping and rising above the old wounds.
How do you overcome this? The number one answer is that you have to be AWARE of the elements of this cycle and all the places in your life where it shows up. For example, as a youngster I had the label of “loser” put on me when playing board games with older kids and it was humiliating. So much so, that today I rarely play board games. I am aware of the label. I am aware how often I have to tell myself, that “I’m okay, I can do this, I can muster the new courage to take on this new situation, task, career move, etc., and that I am not a loser, I’m a winner!” I talk myself into overcoming the label that was erroneously implanted into my mind as a child. I know it was a wounding, limiting label and I know that it does not represent who I am or what I am or how I am. By recognizing the falseness of the label and the origin of the wound, I create the inner balm necessary to heal the wound…not just a bandaid, but a healing. I move forward, inspite of that old wounding—not allowing it to get the better of my present moment, not letting it erode my self-confidence or erase my joy.
Of course, this is a complex subject and just as there are negatives that we carry in our psyche, so there are positives. There are positive phrases that were told to you as a child….positive phrases that you bought into also…Can you remember them? Positive phrases that have served you well!
Take some time to do some focused self-examination. Consider the phrases that you tell yourself, especially when you are stressed. What are the words you use when you self-criticize? (Where did they first come from?) You can get to the root of your destructive self-talk and then consciously work to erase/minimize it. You can integrate into your adult psyche and underscore the wonderful person that you are…as a human being, and an individual and in all that you do. Awareness is key. Affirmations provide you with a powerful way to freedom from that old emotional baggage! Here’s to your Awareness and your Affirmations!
Recommended reading: The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.
(Claire Knowles is a distinguished career HR & Labor Relations Manager, author of two Amazon Best-Selling books, “Lights On! Illuminations to Move Your Life Forward”, and also “Can You See Them Now? Elephants in our Midst.” See www.ClaireEKnowles.com for bio, consulting and speaking engagement info.)