I am offering you the chance to change. Follow a series of posts and increase your self-worth and esteem. Low self-esteem is like a weight around your neck and stops you moving forward but it is not your story. It is the result of believing false stories and having a “I am bad” mental filter. Join me for the next 10 days and I would be happy to give you input on your answers. Send them to me using the contact form at the end of this post for free no-obligation advice. Details of my online therapy packages can be found on drnjenner.com Good luck on your journey to the new you! Dr Nicholas Jenner
Day 5 is asking you to look to look at the negatives global labels you have believed since childhood. This is where your inner critical voices are at their strongest. You might think that we are taking a step back by bringing in negativity but children tend to make up stories. Not the events themselves but how they frequently interpret them through the ‘I am bad’ filter. This filter distorts your memory in three ways. Firstly, it assumes that painful memories are all your fault and you brought them on yourself by being stupid or selfish. Secondly, it interprets cruelty and pain as punishments you deserved ans are payback for you being bad. Thirdly and most importantly, the filter suggests that any good times you had are undeserved and you deserve only rejection and failure. Children looking through the ‘ I’m bad ‘ filter will even be able to justify the worst of abuses. This exercise is to help you see the past without the filter and to show you that bad things didn’t happen because you are bad. This exercise will help you to look at your biased childhood memories with awareness and empathy.
For each of the section below, focus on experiences that confirm your self belief about yourself. Write down things you remember or were told that conveyed a sense that you were bad or wrong or displeasing to others.
Four to six years old
Seven to ten
Eleven to fifteen
Sixteen to twenty.
Once you have recalled some memories, apply the following questions to each memory
Was it normal behaviour for your age? Were you being punished for doing things that are a natural part of growing up?
Was my behaviour determined by the circumstances? Did the situation push you to react and behave the way you did? (keep in mind, you were mostly a child and as such controlled by people around you)
Was my behaviour a way to cope? Did you have to deal with frightening or difficult situations?
Is there a different explanation for what happened other than being bad?
Can you find something positive in your behaviour that highlighted your strengths? For example, resilience or ability to deal with issues?