Our early childhood experiences with the people close to us, most especially our parents, have an impact on how we see ourselves. They were like our mirrors in which we see our own reflections. Unfortunately, they are the ones who chooses what you will see in that mirror, and all you do as a child is accept it and believe it as if it’s the absolute truth about yourself.
Some people grew up hearing from their parents call them lazy and they believe it without any question. So they go through life, even on things they are really good at, not giving their best and giving mediocre outputs. Some others grew up believing they are unworthy. As adults, it’s hard for them to wholeheartedly accept any forms of love being given to them.
Still others believe they are invisible, hence they act like a camouflage as if they are not worthy of attention. These people believe that this is the absolute truth about themselves leading them to act and feel based on these distorted truths. And that’s how impactful the mirroring of the significant people in our lives are.
Take for example my own experience. This isn’t even a deep emotional issue, rather it’s just a physical one. I’ve long believed that I was dark-skinned. Since I was a child my mother kept on telling me I was dark because I didn’t get her chinese complexion. So even though I have the fairest skin among a group of girls on a picture, I wouldn’t be able to see it. I even remember when my arm brushed with someone who I find fairly-skinned. When I noticed that we have the same complexion, I even wondered how it happened. She is fair and I am dark.
I was in college when I would get indirect comments about my skin color from my peers. A friend of mine commented that my ex-bf and I were like kape at gatas (coffee and cream). I even analyzed her comment. My ex-bf couldn’t be the cream because he’s obviously darker than me. Who’s the cream? Having difficulty making sense of it, I just dismissed the comment altogether.
I can go on and on about the incidents in which I receive comments that contradicted my beliefs that I’m dark skinned. Until the time comes when I finally realized that my mom was wrong. Yes, I didn’t get her exact complexion, but I wasn’t dark, I have fair skin.
Not that there’s something wrong with being dark skinned and not that I’m making a big deal of skin colors. My point is, psychological brainwash, so to speak, is so powerful that it could even make you blind of what is really obvious. My personal example is just on the physical aspect. How much more when it’s something you couldn’t perceive with your own eyes, which is something emotional and psychological.
I had a classmate in group psychotherapy who feels insecure. She doesn’t see herself as smart and talented the way we see her. She would actively participate in our class discussion and she would give insightful and intelligent inputs in our group. When we were affirming her that we see her as smart, strong, and wise, it was hard for her to take it in because her lifelong belief about herself is that she is inferior. She grew up being compared to her siblings which made her believe that she could never measure up to them.
It’s hard going through life not knowing who we really are, not knowing our own capabilities. Our mistaken beliefs about ourselves don’t help us go through life better, instead they keep us from living our life to the fullest. We become fearful, we hide our true selves, we become wary of other people that they might see what we believe is true about us.
So if you keep on receiving the same comments and mesages about you and you couldn’t accept it, then maybe it’s time for you to consider it. Maybe you’ve oftentimes been told that you’re excellent with what you do, but your automatic response was to contradict it or say it’s just luck. Or may some people are loving you genuinely, but you belive you’re unworthy so you don’t receive it well.
Don’t dismiss it, think about it. If some people in your life see something good in you and do good for you, do ponder about it, you will probably learn something new that could inspire you to live a better life and have better relationships.
I know it’s not gonna be easy. Changing our thinking about ourselves takes time and it’s a process. It might be difficult. But it’s really doable.