It seems to me that we’re all thinking we are the only ones that have low self-esteem, anxiety and a fear of not being good enough! We have to hide this from everyone because they appear confident, outgoing, good at their job and successful!
Yet very few people had a happy childhood where they were loved and encouraged by doting parents. Parents who loved us no matter what, who encouraged us to be ourselves. Parents who allowed us to experiment and to catch us each time we fell.
It is more likely that we were scared of doing the wrong thing for fear of being shouted at or hit! This was my childhood anyway. I never knew when I may be hit; it could be the slightest thing! I was always walking on eggshells. I felt hopeless and unloved.
We are mostly still living that childhood deep inside, not realising we can change it! We can bring all what we feel is ‘bad’ (read; all the things we have EVER done) out into the daylight and heal them one by one! Rather than keeping them hidden and secret, stuffed way down inside us in the dark, so no-one can see them. Once we start to look at these ‘bad’ things one by one, as an adult we see they are not so bad after all. We were only six or sixteen! Maybe twenty-one or forty-two! We weren’t perfect and we need to see that no-one is, no-one ever! We’re just all doing the best we can with what we know.
There’s a god reason for giving this process a go! We still have the emotional imprint of that child; others feel it and sense it. They unintentionally treat us accordingly. But we’ve tried so hard to hide it. We’ve tried so hard to change and appear happy and successful, why aren’t we pulling it off? It undermines our success in all relationships, our love life, our career and our families.
I lived in terrible fear as a child. My father was a very large, imposing man. Angry all the time and always shouting, not talking. My strategy was to be invisible all the time so as not attract attention! I still do this sometimes. I still sometimes feel shy and fearful of what others think of me or what response I may get!
I made a lot of mistakes in my younger life before despair helped me to see that only I could change how I am and then others would treat me differently. I worked really hard on myself all through my thirties and forties and still do today! I found meditation which calmed my mind and centred me. Yoga which gave me physical strength and inner strength. Self-help books and courses that brought a lot of my fears into the light and allowed me to become forgiving of myself, to be more loving and patient with myself!
One wonderful thing I learned from a wonderful teacher was to imagine we have that very small child inside us. A small child that is still frightened and needs someone to care for her or him! It can’t be a parent; we’re not with them now. It can’t be a partner as they have their own inner child they need to care for. It has to be us! Only we can care for our little child within. Talk to that child; tell them we will look after him/her. Ask if they would like to go to the beach and have ice-cream? Or go to the cinema and see a film? Give your inner child love and as your child inside feels loved and safe, you will begin to feel loved and safe! We don’t actually need anyone else to tell us we’re okay! We need to tell ourselves (and mean it), we’re okay!
There’s a big bonus to all of this! The more we love ourselves, the more others love us! The more we’re kind to ourselves, the more others treat us with kindness. The more we love ourselves, the more we’re able to give love to others!
It’s an awesome and sometimes tearful journey as we get to know who we really are. Discover that little Pamela or that little Joe inside, let them be happy knowing now they really are loved and cared for like perhaps they never were before.
As an adult, (or a teenager) it’s the best thing in the world to feel loved at last! You start painting again, or writing stories, or swimming, running and … laughing more. It works, trust me, I’ve done the hard yards and come out the other side. I’ve seen others do the same. There’s always more to do but that’s life!