Do you struggle with self-esteem or confidence? Or perhaps there are negative beliefs you have about yourself or the world. While it may seem that this is just how your life is and will be, I want to tell you that you do have the capability to shift the beliefs you have about yourself.
Beliefs are Formed in Childhood
Typically our beliefs are shaped in our childhood. No one has a perfect childhood. Even if you’ve had a good childhood, with “good enough” parents, you’ve still had painful experiences, be it at home, at school or in your community, that have shaped you and influenced the beliefs you have about yourself and the world around you. In a way, you are telling yourself lies about yourself and the world.
This doesn’t mean that you had bad parents. Chances are that they did the best they could. And sometimes it’s not enough, especially for a child. Parents carry with them their own painful experiences, and when left unexamined this will impact how they are as a parent.
Do You Take Care of Others and Neglect Your Needs?
Perhaps you grew up with a single parent. They are dealing with the divorce and the emotions that accompany the end of their marriage. They might also be stressed out financially and time-wise. As a result, you might have had to take on responsibilities of an adult, like taking care of your younger sibling or providing emotional support for your parent. This can develop into the belief of, “I have to take care of other” or “my needs aren’t important.” As an adult, you might suppress your needs, not ask for what you need, or you might not even recognize what your needs are. Instead, you prioritize the needs of others before your own. Can you relate?
Did you grow up with a parent who valued self-sufficiency and independence, first and foremost? They praised you if you can take care of your own needs, even if you were too young to. Or you were told to “suck it up”, whatever “it” was. Growing up in such an environment can be challenging, especially if you are sensitive to your emotions and the emotions of others around you. It can leave you feeling alone, or with the feeling that there’s something wrong with having and showing emotions.
You may have grown up with a perfectionist parent. No matter how well you did, it was never enough. While they may have pushed you to be the best that you can be, the message that you may have received, whether consciously or subconsciously, was ” I’m not good enough, I am not enough.” This can evolve into low self-esteem, lacking confidence and questioning yourself and your choices.
As you can see, our experiences in childhood influence the beliefs we have about ourselves and the messages we tell ourselves. Can you see that these beliefs, messages, and feelings you have are not true? As children, we can things personally and take on what’s going on in our environment. For instance, if your father wasn’t around consistently while you were growing up, subconsciously, you’ve likely told yourself that this was your fault.
Or you might have had a good childhood and have an overall good life, however, you don’t feel as happy as you’d like to feel or live the life you want. You might have had a difficult time coping with stressors or find relationships difficult. These challenges can often be traced back to early relational wounds.
Developmental Wounds Impact your Beliefs, Self-Esteem, and Confidence
These examples are developmental wound. Developmental wounds are wounds that happen in relationships with family members and others, as such, they can only be healed through relationship. You can’t talk yourself out of these beliefs because they are deeply embedded in your psyche and so they feel like the truth – but they are not.
Counseling and therapy for self-esteem and confidence can be very helpful at exploring your beliefs. Also, you can heal your developmental wounds by having new experiences that challenge the beliefs that no longer serve you.
Do you have beliefs about yourself or others that no longer benefit you? What beliefs do you have that interfere with you being the best version of you and living a meaningful and joyful life?