Self Esteem ~ How did YOU Learn YOUR Importance?By
I was raised to believe that I had less importance than the adults in my life. At first glance that may sit okay with most people. Perhaps it feels “right” and “logical”. Perhaps I had no reason to believe otherwise in the first place. As children we are not born with truth filters. We learn what we are taught is the truth. We accept what is modeled to us AS truth. But the truth we are taught is often false truth.
Emerging from Broken is largely about how I uncovered that false truth and re wired my brain to understand and accept the true truth.
It felt right and even logical to accept that adults were more important than I was when I thought about it the way that I believed “importance was measured.” I was a child; a dependent child. I believed that the adults were important because they provided. They brought home the food and until I was a young teen, they cooked it. Adults provided me with clothing and shelter. They sent me to school where other important adults taught me what I needed to learn in order for me to become an adult myself. Adults met my physical needs and in many ways they had all the power; both good and bad. Looking at it that way, I could easily agree that I did not have as much importance as the adults in my life. I was just a needy child. I had nothing to contribute yet.
I think that the way the child views their importance in the family dynamic depends on HOW the whole importance thing gets communicated to the children. In some families, the children are the centre; they are the joy in the family. They are the jewels and the treasure. In some families, everything a child does is amazing. Children are indeed the future in some families. But that was not my family.
If I change the word “importance” to the word “value” we get a whole other understanding of this subject matter.
If a child has been raised to feel as though they have less value then the adults who are providing for them, or if it communicated in any way to the child that they are somehow a burden to those adults and if that child learns he or she must fight to PROVE they deserve to live or deserve to be taken care of in any way, that child will grow up with negative and false beliefs about their own value. Children learn their value by the way it is communicated to them.
Eventually the child is expected to have self esteem and if they don’t there are a whole new set of labels assigned to them. BUT where do they get the self esteem and self value from in the first place? And if the adults in their lives fail to instill that sense of value in a childs life HOW does a grown up child change that misunderstanding? I tried affirmations and positive self talk for YEARS, without success until I discovered the foundation of my self esteem, and changed the lies that lived there.
How was your importance communicated to you? That will be a clue about your belief system about yourself and your self esteem formation.
Reverence, respect, obligation to the adults; that was what I thought love was. I lived in the spin of having to try harder. Obligation, obedience, compliance, respect for disrespectful people; this is not real love, but it is the definition of love that I was taught. It was the definition of love that I grew up with and it was all I knew. I was controlled by trying harder to be good enough; never the right gift, something wrong with the food, not saying the right thing. I didn’t dress “right” I was too fat, too thin, and my hair was too long, too short or looked better up or down. I was called (labeled as) stupid, insensitive, selfish, cold hearted, a drama queen, too quiet and sullen, and yet also told that I talked to hear myself talk. I spun round and round in the spin of trying harder to be acceptable to people who behaved in an unacceptable way, never realizing that some of these accusations were contradictive. I questioned myself for years about what was wrong with me. The only time I questioned what was wrong with these adults was in order for me to understand and forgive their transgressions against me. Always about them, never about me because I always viewed them through the belief that they were more important than I was.
I never noticed that the spin of “not good enough” was about the ones who labeled me that way and not really the truth about ME or my value in the first place.
I was discounting myself in order to prove that I acknowledged their importance, which (to them) was always ABOVE mine.
The spin of having to try harder was about restoring THEM and making them feel good enough by repeatedly forcing me to change; forcing me to change myself and my actions all the time as though if I jumped through their hoops, complying with what they wanted from me, it would prove THEIR power and therefore their value. As you can see looking at it this way, this system has nothing to do with real love however again… this is what I was taught about love.
I “heard” all my life that everyone ~ all human beings and all God’s people are created equally ~ however this was not anything close to the truth about what was “taught” to me. It was not the example of truth that was modeled to me. Therefore I didn’t live in the truth about equal value and healthy self esteem that I live in today. I had to understand what I did learn, realize that what I learned was wrong and then relearn the real truth. This was where I was able to overcome my low self esteem. This is the foundation of my freedom and wholeness. This is my wish for all other people. This is my purpose in writing Emerging from Broken.
This is my final post for 2011~ what a fantastic year it has been for me and for Emerging from Broken. I appreciate each of you and wish you all a fantastic 2012!
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