How many times a day do you tell yourself no? How often do you stop your growth by listening to the messages you received and believed in childhood? If you said yes to either of these questions, then you might want to read on. I will share a story that shows how the messages we receive in childhood can affect us well into adulthood. Note: To protect the privacy of my clients, this story is a compilation of a few people and does not depict one individual.
In one of my health and wellness nurse coaching sessions, a client realized how much she said no and how much power that word held. As she reflected on her life, her no’s were not about protecting her boundaries and promoting what she wanted for her life. Her no’s limited her. “No time to go on vacation…no, I’m not smart enough… no, I can’t ask for help and look stupid…no, I have to be pretty to wear sexy clothes…no, I can’t tell them what I think.” She made excuses for what she believed were her shortcomings. She believed the comments she received in childhood. They stifled her self-confidence and held her back from promotions at work. Her beliefs interfered with her happiness, her self-esteem and having healthy relationships.
Together in session, she reflected on her childhood and looked at the messages she received and the behavioral patterns that were formed. She discovered she had been believing the comments her father and older brother told her. “Girls are not that smart…don’t be lazy…only pretty girls wear miniskirts.” Time and time again, she had to wait her turn to speak and then time ran out and the opportunity was gone. Her schoolmates teased and made fun of how she dressed. One of her English high school teachers said, “College is not for you and you should think of something easier to do.” For the record, she did graduate college. She acknowledged how she was keeping their words alive and proving them right.
I asked her how these comments made her feel. “Stupid” was the first word out of her mouth. “I was embarrassed and kept to myself most of the time. I had one friend. I remember getting belly aches. I still get them today.”
Using my guided imagery practice, I helped her have a conversation with herself. I guided her in having her adult version of herself ask her younger self, what she needed to shift to move forward. Her younger self said, “Stop listening to all those other people.” I asked her adult self to talk to her younger self and impart words of wisdom. During the session, she gave her younger self words of advice. “You are capable of doing anything you want to because you are smart. No one is better than you. You must take care of yourself. Love yourself and love your body. It’s okay to ask for help. You cannot do it all by yourself. Nobody can. It’s okay to make mistakes. It’s how you learn and get better. I am proud of you. I love you.” My client wept as a sense of relief came over her. She was surprised of the new words of encouragement that poured out of her.
Next, I asked her to tune-in to the positive messages and feelings she received as a child. At first, she said there were none. I guided her in exploring this deeper. Then as I waited in silence, her words and feelings slowly surfaced. “Each day, my mother hugged and kissed me and told me how much she loved me. My grandmother said I was a good cook and made the best pies she ever tasted. My baby sister said she wanted to be just like me.” She found it sad how she had forgotten them. They were like lost messages in a bottle.
My client began applying her new insights and noticed her day to day living seemed easier. She related to her family with more confidence. When she discussed what she learned about herself with her family, they said they didn’t remember saying those things. They apologized and told her they loved her. She knows her new attitude will eventually cross over into her work.
Words have power. One statement can affect our emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing. The entire body responds. The messages we receive as children and the patterns of behavior that result can extend into adulthood. They become conditioned responses that we may or may not even be aware of. They can influence every aspect of our life. It’s important to bring these false beliefs to light, so they can be released and the emotions surrounding these messages healed.
Imagine if all children grew up hearing words of love and encouragement and their voices were heard. Sherrie Campbell, PhD is quoted, “Seven things every child needs to hear: I love you, I’m proud of you, I’m sorry, I forgive you, I’m listening. This is your responsibility. You have what it takes to succeed.” This is what my client learned. She was grateful to finally understand herself better and make a change.
If you feel a health and wellness coaching session will help you move forward, feel free to call or email me directly (954) 830-2121 or jan@jankinder .com.