I thought such awful thoughts that I cannot even say them out loud because they would make Jesus want to drink gin straight out of the cat dish. — Anne Lamott
This quote came up on my Facebook page from one of my many inspirational Facebook friends. A bolt of recognition shot through me when I read it. It reminded me of those awful self hating thoughts that plagued me during my teens, twenties and part of my thirties.
Back then, before I changed my way of thinking, I despised everything about myself. I was consumed with criticism and hostility towards myself. I was insecure, had no confidence and ridiculed myself on a daily basis. If anyone criticised me negatively, I agreed with them! When people were nice to me, wanted to be my friend or more, I didn't believe them. I assumed there was an ulterior motive, I was standoffish on occasions. I drank too much, to block out the pain and I even thought of ending it all at times. I spent a large part of my life in tears. Looking back, I wasted so much precious life being this way.
I believe that this lack of self esteem, self worth and self love led me to believe that I would be the worst mother in the world. I also didn't want to bring a child into the world who would ever have those same kind of feelings about themselves. I wasn't sure I would be able to prevent this as my own parents didn't with me. I know that they did the best they could do but, in those days, many children were treated in a very different way than they are now. My mother is kind but quite a critical person and my father was genuine, but oversensitive, depressive and an alcoholic. They were good people and parented as best they knew how. They weren't really aware of any damage that was done to their children and I hasten to stress that fact.
Thankfully, I was able to overcome my problems with time, self help and a lot of self love. Something happened to me that jolted me right into the reality that if I continued on the self destructive path, there would be worse to come.
I started to consume self help books, had counselling and read about inspirational people who overcame much adversity in their lives. I realised that it is true that everything begins with the thoughts in your mind, every action, every decision you make. I realised that I had to take the responsibility of altering my mindset upon myself. I realised that I couldn't blame anyone else if I couldn't turn things around. I had a mind of my own and it was up to me to use it properly. All my negative thinking had led me to hating myself, to being overweight, to drinking too much, to being in jobs or relationships that were not good for me. It was lovely to find that by changing the thinking, I began to love myself, lose weight, drink much less, find a job and a man I love. And Yes! Have that baby! I was in my forties when I eventually had him but better late than never I say!
Of course, there are still challenges in all areas of my life. I am still a work in progress but I am loving learning more about myself and life every day. And the best thing is that I DON'T feel selfish doing it because I know, by being a happier person, it will impact on those around me.
I hope that I can help my child to avoid all the mental suffering that I and many friends of my generation went through. I have a lovely friend Liz Mitchell, who will understand exactly what I mean when I talk about how children of our generation were brought up. As a sensitive child, she went through much the same stuff and as a sensitive and damaged adult went on to suffer at the hands of others.
One day, she woke up and realised that she didn't have to do that and that she could change her world. She is now the wonderful forty something mother of two beautiful daughters. She is a shining example to them of how you can change your way of thinking and you can follow your dreams no matter what your age. Hopefully we are more aware these days of how a child learns and how and what they will learn from us.
See this link about my friend and you will see what I mean! http://www.burnley.ac.uk/web09/content/case_studies_details.asp?id=86
|Liz Mitchell - Fortysomething Mum and DreamCatcher|
I'll leave you with the food for thought below....
How A Child Learns
If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility, she learns to fight.
If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be shy.
If a child lives with shame, she learns to feel guilty.
If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient.
If a child lives with encouragement, she learns confidence.
If a child lives with praise, he learns to appreciate.
If a child lives with fairness, she learns justice.
If a child lives with security, he learns to have faith.
If a child lives with approval, she learns to like herself.
If a child lives with acceptance and friendship, he learns to find love in the world.
(Dorothy Law Nolte)