A Happier Life, A Happier You
Many of my people have internalized negative messages of not being good enough. They have received and believe/believed such messages about themselves as “I” am not smart, pretty, thin, buff, fit, happy, interesting, good, and successful enough and the list goes on. They believe they are the opposite of these things, sometimes. It is understandable that they believe these messages, while it is tragic and extremely sad. The reason they believe them is due to how and when they received these messages in their early years in life and while growing up. (Coping skills and resilience also play a role but we can talk about in another post.) Furthermore, these messages may have continued to be vocalized to them for years.
Where do these messages come from? Surprisingly enough, they emerged from family members and relationships early on in their lives unfortunately. Because of the messages coming at them from people who “were supposed to be taking care of them,” and “loving them,” the messages became part of them and stuck.
How else were they supposed to know they were ok, perfect, beautiful, smart, and wonderful when someone who was their caretaker was giving them such harsh messages? They did not know and some still do not know. Moreover, for that, they deserve more love, support, kindness, compassion, and support. I hope they will know how ok they are one day!
As a result of receiving this information and replaying it in their minds, they are unable to let go of these messages and may be continually giving themselves these messages and worse, be giving these messages to other people, unintentionally.
Changing these messages
Revising these messages takes work, hard work that can be difficult and take some time and some processing. Just know that this work is worth it. The work around this would include doing the following inside and outside therapy sessions.
*Noticing the messages when they come up.
*Recognizing where and when they/it come(s) up and how it all plays out.
*Identifying any triggers, too.
*Expressing and coping with thoughts, feelings, and emotionality around these; grieving some of their lost childhood, etc. and releasing emotion(s) and message(s). But this is not easy nor is it for the faint of heart! (You deserve to receive positive messages and to do this work for your inner child who did not get these positive messages, but got hateful ones instead.)
*Replacing a negative message with a positive message. Perhaps it is written down somewhere and they practice saying it on their way to work. Others create a mindfulness practice around breathing in this new message and releasing the old one. Other clients have written out the messages and we have had a burial ceremony around letting them go. This process could take place in a variety of ways, even though artwork, storytelling, Psychodrama, and music.
*Slowly beginning to incorporate this new message in their life on a regular basis throughout the day.
*After changing a message, they start over and notice other negative messages and going through the practice of mourning them and part of their lost child that received these messages.
I commend them and you if you are doing this work. You and they are so brave, vulnerable, loving, wonderful, and more. This can be daunting because in order to change the message(s) it requires feeling the feelings that go hand in hand with the negative message(s).
This is not permanent and will pass, especially if you have a support network, group, and a kind and compassionate therapist. I encourage all of these for you! This is the way to effectively, less painfully, and more easily move through this difficult work.
I hope that this is helpful. I wish you loving messages, experiences, and times. Be brave and much love and compassion. Xo