Belief System Formation via the Message Received in ChildhoodBy Darlene Ouimet
I had a hard time with self love as long as I saw myself through the eyes of the people who defined me as “unworthy”. I saw myself through their actions and through the way that they treated me. They treated me as though I was “not good enough” and not important.
For instance when I was in a crowd of family and trying to be part of the conversation but no one heard me. I would say something and sometimes I would be ignored. Sometimes I would get a cold blank look as if to say “you have nothing to contribute here”. At least that is the message that I got.
Imagine a young child. The child is trying to get the attention of his mother. He is trying to tell his mother that there is a kite in the sky. But the mother won’t look. She won’t acknowledge the child’s pleas for her to share the moment with him. He keeps trying; he keeps tugging her sleeve or patting her arm… “Mommy, look! There is a kite in the sky! Mommy LOOK!” The mother brushes him off. She is reading a book and doesn’t care about the kite. She shrugs him off at first, but as he becomes more persistent, she pushes him away. Eventually, she tells him to leave her alone, to go play, to let her be…. Never once acknowledging his pleas until finally he hangs his head dejectedly and gives up.
There are messages attached to these actions. Communication is not always direct. He gets the message that books are always more important than he is. So is the phone. So is the television, so are her friends. And over time, what message do you think that this child gets about himself?
Day after day, adults are too busy, too tired, too stressed about their own lives to listen to the child. What message does the child get from all that?
A little girl is being picked on by the teacher at school. She is being humiliated, made fun of and criticized in front of the entire class. She tells her parents but they don’t listen. They ignore her. They tell her to respect her elders. They don’t believe that this teacher bullying is serious or harmful. Over time she begins to get sick. If her parents finally notice her, then illness becomes the way to get the “love she desires”. Illness becomes the way that she will be heard. Illness “works” for her so she manifests illness.
If both or one parent communicates that illness is a weakness, the child will try to hide the illness.
But what is the message that this child gets? The actions communicated to the child are
“I am only valued if I am sick” or “I am even LESS valuable if I am sick”.
And don’t forget that there is an original message;
~The teacher is picking on me; she has a right to do whatever she wants because she is my “elder”.
~Something is wrong with me because the teacher is picking on me and she doesn’t like me.
~No one cares about me.
~It must be me. I will try harder to be liked so that I don’t get picked on and then when I am liked, people will care.
This is how a belief system develops. These are the beginnings of low self esteem. Children get messages from the actions of others about their worth. They are either loved, or they are not loved. They get love mixed up with approval. They get love mixed up with whether or not they get attention or have impact. Impact can be positive or negative.
Some children lash out. If they push their sibling down the stairs they have impact. They may even get some attention from doing it.
All of this goes into what makes up the self esteem of the child. All other abuse or devaluing treatment is added to the grid that the child will see himself or herself though. All of this information forms the belief system that individual has about themselves. The only way that I was able to change this belief system was to dig down inside and take a look at where it came from in the first place.
Emerging from Broken is about learning the truth about how I viewed myself so that I could see where I was stuck in a false belief system. I looked at the events and then at the messages that I received through so many situations from my childhood. Were those messages the truth?
Whether I misunderstood them or not, the problem was that I believed them. I had to realize just what exactly I believed.
What were the messages that you got about yourself?
What did you believe about yourself over time?
Is this the truth about you?
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