Negative Messages From Your Past

So often in my work with people, we examine what is keeping the client from getting what they want. I work from the mindset that there are typically old tapes that play in their heads that sabotage them from moving forward to achieve their life’s goals.

When clients want something very badly, yet it is not happening, I ask them to go back into their childhood and tell me about the messages they got from significant others. Once we have identified negative messages it is possible to reprogram the brain. They can change those messages and replace them with positive ones that move them closer to their goals.

Let me share some personal information to clarify this point.

I am the Energizer Bunny. I jump out of bed, ready to begin the day. I love the morning because it is the time for me to take care of my needs. I read, exercise, contemplate and hang out with my dog (while my husband does what he loves—sleep!) I am a scheduler, so most of my day is packed with activities. I see clients, visit friends and spend time creating, whether that is an article or a stained glass piece. A good day is getting to spend a couple of hours on the couch with my husband, watching “Raymond” and rubbing his back, or having his hand on my knee. I treasure our time together. I am sharing my day with you so that you can see how full it is and how it is possible to balance the “me” time.

I have always had lots of energy. It is a gift I treasure. I must also tell you that I admire the person who is slow and laborious and who doesn’t pack their day so full. I am married to one of those types and my best friend also hates a hectic schedule. Opposites attract, don’t they? Neither type is better, only different.

When I was in college, my supervisor told me that at the pace I was moving, I would likely burn out of psychology in five years. Luckily, my self-esteem was good enough that I examined her message, but I didn’t take it on. I said to myself, “If I begin to feel burned out, I will slow down.” (This woman was very wise, but in my case, she was wrong).

In my internship, I had a passion for working with families. As I staffed cases with the supervisor, he felt I was so passionate for families that it would interfere with my objectivity. He told me I would never do a good job doing family therapy. I evaluated his words, discarded them quickly, and continued to get trained by the masters in family therapy. Within a year of his words, he was fired for unethical behavior and left the field. In all fairness to him, I learned a lot from him, but he was clearly wrong about my work. I believe I am an excellent family therapist.

Had I not had good self-esteem, I might have let these comments discourage me from doing what I knew I could do. I might have felt burned out or not pursued my passions. It also helped that I have worked on “being coated with Teflon”; consequently, criticism doesn’t deter me.

What negative messages have you received that may be holding you back? Think back over your entire lifetime and it will help you to get past the resistance.

Next week, I am going to teach you how to get “coated with Teflon” so that you can get what you really want out of life.

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