The Influence of Your Family of Origin
In psychology we call the family who raised you your “family of origin.” The family you have now, be it through marriage, living arrangements or friends is your “family of choice.” For many, the family of choice builds upon the family of origin. For others the family of choice is as far away from the family of origin as is possible. No matter how different your family of choice is, the influence of your family of origin is with you.
How Family Sets Up Your Self-Esteem.
In a previous post, 10 Causes of Low Self-esteem, family is listed as #2. In truth, family is the #1 influence of self-esteem. Let’s look at three influences not often addressed, and strategies to heal them.
The beginning of feeling wanted, or not, begins with the family. Were you a planned baby? Were you a happy surprise or an inconvenience? These first experiences establish whether or not you feel like you belong in the world. When you have a sense of belonging within your family, that carries over into the world. You’ll expect people to accept you and, usually, you’ll find people who accept you.
If you didn’t feel wanted, the tendency is to not want yourself. If you don’t want yourself, you manage to engage in creati
ve ways of self-sabotage from choosing the wrong partner to forgetting to turn on the alarm to get up for that big interview. After all, if your family who was suppose to want you doesn’t, then you shouldn’t want yourself, right?
Wrong! This simply means you have a challenge to overcome. Yes, a big challenge, but one you can begin to overcome by what some think of is silly, but is a rather simple action. Spend time imagining you are holding, cuddling and loving yourself at the age you need most. Having a rocking chair is an added benefit. Spend 5-minutes a day holding your younger self and telling your younger self how loved and wanted they are.
It isn’t all about your family. Your perception of being wanted has a major impact upon whether you felt wanted or not. Some first born children never get over feeling pushed out by the second child. It’s almost as if the child who feels replaced by siblings has an innate belief that s/he should have been enough. How could their parents need anyone else?
We don’t know why, but some people are born needier than others. Overcoming an innate neediness requires dedication on your part. Here is another simple strategy. This one is spiritually based and requires a belief in a Higher Power (God). Ask God to fill you with all the love you need but haven’t received. Then imagine a beautiful light coming into you filling you with love.
Did you feel like you were the wrong gender? I’m not talking about transsexual here. That is a complex topic way beyond the focus of this post. I’m talking about people who felt they were never good enough because their parents wanted the other gender. Others feel “less than” because they weren’t the type of boy or the type of girl their parents wanted.
To move beyond feeling you weren’t the “right” gender for your parents to love and accept you is to love and accept yourself. One way to begin is to look yourself in the mirror and say, “You are an amazing and wonderful (wo)man filled with love, courage, and talents.” Listing your strengths, or the strengths you wish you had, would be a great addition.
If you’re not real sure how to do it, take lessons from this little girl.
It takes determination, courage, and some suggestions, but you can overcome childhood feelings to be the wonderful you hiding within you.