As I grew up, I didn’t have anyone in my family that helped me believe in myself, told me I could do anything I wanted, helped me learn how valuable I am or know about healthy relationships. Don’t get me wrong, my parents did a good job with what knowledge they had and where they were in their lives at the time but all of us kids always got a lot more attention for any negative behavior rather than positive behavior.
One of the parenting skills I made sure I implemented with my children was to make sure I caught them doing something good and made that a big thing. The negative behavior had its consequences of course but it was usually the why that got more attention. Sometimes the “natural” consequences of them acting out was worse than anything I could have done. It depends on the kid and behavior, of course.
Learning New Concepts
What is the definition of self-parenting? At Raleigh Psychotherapy Katherine Broadway, MDiv, LPC, gives us this definition: “Self-parenting is the process of developing our own mature, loving parent who is capable of loving all of you – the opposite of the Harsh Inner Critic. Self-parenting helps the wounded child inside of you heal and grow. It is created through nurturing ourselves and regulating our behavior and feelings.” She has some great information on this subject! You can view all of that and more here: Definition of self-parenting
It wasn’t until my early 30’s that I learned about these sorts of things. They called it “self-esteem” then. I had very little. One of the best classes I took during that therapy period was called “Adult Children of Adult Alcoholics and Parenting.” I learned how my own parents parenting skills had impacted my view, my self-talk, and my lens through which I judged everything. One of the other best things I was ever given during that difficult time was a list of affirmations by the therapist I was seeing. It was just a few. Some of them fit me. Some didn’t.
Our assignment was to add our own individual affirmations to the list and make it ours. One of the most important affirmations for me was “I am enough.” Seems like such a simple concept yet I felt like I wasn’t enough, I wasn’t worthy of love, time and attention from people. I used the list of affirmations for a couple of years. I taped them to the side of my bathroom mirror. I read them every day. They did wonders for helping me believe in myself again, know my worth, see my value, believe that I am capable of anything and that I do have the good sense to know what a healthy relationship consists of. They helped me flip the switch, change the script and view through a very different lens.
A few years back when I was moving on, out of a marriage that had become unhealthy, I came across that list. I read it. I smiled. I remembered that little girl of long ago, how far I have come and yet still how far I am going. Yet I was at a point where I was shedding my old life, my old self and re-creating myself into a newer version of who I was becoming, accepting parts of me that I had hidden my entire life. I tossed that list away with all the other stuff of my past that I refused to carry into my new life. It had served its purpose.
Yet I still know that positivity helps me when I am anxious, depressed and doubting. At times it pertains to how I see myself and at other times it pertains to how I see life. Positivity helps me daily. Is my natural view or perception of life and its events seen through a positive lens or a negative one? Sure, I still have my bad days, doubting all that is but I know my worth, my value and my strength. Maybe others don’t but I do. There are days when I still must stop and remind myself to look through a different lens so that life doesn’t beat me up too badly. Perception, remember? I even made up a mantra that has helped more than I can ever tell. It is a private thing for me though. I hope you think about making up one for yourself.
Here is a list I came across recently that reminded me of that, and I’d like to share with all of you. The link is at the bottom.
- I LOVE MYSELF UNCONDITIONALLY.
- I AM STRONG!
- I ALLOW ONLY HEALTHY AND LOVING RELATIONSHIPS INTO MY LIFE.
- LIFE WANTS THE BEST FOR ME. I AM OK WITH WHERE I AM RIGHT NOW.
- I AM CONNECTED AND COMFORTABLE IN ALL ENVIRONMENTS, WITH ALL PEOPLE.
- I FIND AND ENJOY THE SIMPLE PLEASURES LIFE IS OFFERING RIGHT NOW.
- HOW I FEEL MATTERS, THEREFORE I CONCENTRATE ON ASPECTS OF LIFE THAT MAKE ME FEEL GOOD!
- MY CHALLENGES BRING ME BETTER OPPORTUNITIES.
- MY MOOD CREATES A PHYSIOLOGICAL RESPONSE IN MY BODY. I AM PEACEFUL AND POSITIVE.
- I AM IN CONTROL OF MY THOUGHTS AND MY LIFE.
- I LOVE MYSELF AND WHO I AM.
What has been your experience with this? Please let me know how you work through your self-esteem issues and handle the self-talk that goes on inside your head and the skills or techniques you use to help yourself see the positive.
I hope you will share your experiences and thoughts with me either in the comments below or send me an email.
All the best,