A successful young woman recently asked me a poignant question: “How do you begin to learn to love yourself? I‘m surrounded by people who care about me, but for so long, I‘ve questioned myself and thought I wasn‘t worthy of anything. How do I change that?“
In order to answer this question, it helps to understand how it became a problem in the first place. Solving the problem at its source is the best way to change permanently..
Usually children decide that they are either not loved or not lovable when something happens that is stressful and difficult to understand. Children are quick to blame themselves for disasters in their lives. From a child‘s point of view, this conclusion makes good sense.
Once the decision is made, a child usually forgets making it and just accepts it as a fact of life that must be coped with.
You may be able to figure out when you made this decision by thinking about when you started believing that there was something wrong with you. This may have happened even before grade school. Once you find the decision, there are a lot of things you can do to change it.
A good therapist has many tools that can help you change early, inappropriate decisions you have made about yourself. So can any visualization that lets you truly feel nurturing toward the child you were when you made the life-limiting decision.
Years ago I wrote a program to help solve this problem. It appeared in the book, An Action Plan For Your Inner Child: Parenting Each Other. This book is for people who prefer to do this work in a class or self-help group. It contains a series of exercises to help people learn to love themselves.
The book/program includes many activities to help the user figure out the early decisions and for parenting/nurturing the child who made the limiting decision in the first place. About 10,000 books were sold in the early 90‘s, and users reported solid, permanent results that included loving and accepting themselves and improving relationships with their children.
Although some professionals have run these programs, they are completely user-friendly for self-help groups.
I still have a few copies of the book available. I am thinking about how to make the program available again. If you are interested in the program you may be able to get one of the remaining books.
If you have ideas for how to make the program available again, please respond here.
[tags]Personal Growth, Psychotherapy, Relationships, Self Help, Self-Improvement, Emotional Problems, Inner Child[/tags]