This is part 2 of Pursuing Healthy Relationships…with God, Ourselves and Others. Last week I shared that in order to have healthy relationships, you need to have a compassionate relationship with yourself. This begins by having a strong sense of yourself.
As you try to develop a solid sense of who you are as a person, it’s important to ask, “Who Told You Who You Are?
Using the anaolgy of a mirror, helps us figure this out. When we are young, others reflect back to us who we are as they comment on what we think, feel and do. There are many types of mirrors that give us feedback about who we are. These mirrors give us input on our character, intentions and motivations. It really matters how accurate these mirrors are.
The quality of the mirror that reflected you has everything to do with what you believe about yourself.
What we don’t realize is that what we believe about ourselves is about the mirror, not about us.
When we are little, we don’t have the ability to combat the negative or incorrect messages we receive. We aren’t able to say, “Mommy says I’m lazy, but I’m not. I work very hard. She must be tired and crabby to say that about me.” No, little children say, “Mommy says I’m lazy, so I must be lazy.”
If you only have distorted mirrors to reflect who you are, you will believe these messages about yourself. Often parents or others label normal behavior as “bad”, either because they are new parents and have never parented before, or because they are repeating the messages that they reflected growing up.
For instance, people often label two year olds as “terrible twos” because they are objecting, saying no, and being less compliant. The truth is that this behavior in a two year old is wonderful, although exhausting! It’s the beginning of establishing who they are, what they like and don’t like, and experimenting with having choices. All of these skills are essential for being a healthy and well balanced person. It is the beginning of setting boundaries and establishing a personal identity.
Now of course, healthy parents don’t give into tantrums or we will create an out of control child.
Instead we listen to what they are saying, validate what we heard, say yes to what we can if appropriate, and say no if needed. We want to do this with the backdrop of treating their developing personality with gentleness and respect, while setting boundaries so they learn how to delay gratification and live in a world where they don’t always get what they want.We also want them to learn that they are an important and valuable person, and that what they have to share is worthy to be listened to and considered.
I’d love to have you join me this Friday at 1:00 pst for a live video I’ll be giving on my facebook page, TheSelfCompassionClub.
If you’re able to join me live, you can say hello, make comments or ask questions. If that is a bad time, you can go back and watch later. You can visit the page now, and “like” it, and it will send you a notification when I start my live presentation.
I’ll be giving an example of two and a half year old Susie who loves cake and shares strongly that she’d like some. I’ll use this story to illustrate how Susie starts to form her opinion of herself by the responses that get mirrored back to her.
We’ll learn ways to treat ourselves compassionately regarding painful messages we’ve been given, as well as ways to be kind to ourselves when we accidentally hurt others.
So, take a minute to think about the following questions as you consider that your view of yourself came from how others mirrored your thoughts, feelings and actions back to you.
- What is your response to this idea?
- Does this make sense?
- Who were the main mirrors of your worth and value growing up? As a young adult? Now?
- Start by asking God to show you the truth of who you are, and how you can see yourself through the mirror of His Love for you.
Next week on this blog I’ll be covering the 7 specific types of mirrors we see that contribute to our how see ourselves and who we are.
Remember, I’d love to have you join me this Friday at 1:00 on my facebook page, TheSelfCompassionClub. You’ll learn and grow even more.
Please leave your comments below, and share via e-mail or social media with those who could benefit.