Most of my students come into Juicy Joy training with a troubled childhood story they’re carrying around like a sack of gravel. Great gains can come from recognizing the factors that led us to create our world-views, but the recognition itself is worthless unless we take active steps to rewire our early programming.
Each of us has many, many factors contributing to our own unique perspective on the world and our place in it, as well as many reasons for our subconscious tendencies to limit our own enjoyment of our successes and blessings. But for people who have suffered childhood abuse (emotional, verbal, or physical) it’s safe to assume that’s a major contributor to their feelings of unworthiness.
If I’m talking to you, let’s try a smidge of inner-child/re-parenting work to see if we can shake loose a bit of that harmful childhood program. This is just a casual dabble, of course, but what have you got to lose by going on this little imaginative trip with me?
Reprogram Your Self-Sabotaging Beliefs
1. Take a few deep, calming breaths, and make yourself comfortable and relaxed. Let your mind wander to a time in your childhood when you felt judged by a parent or other important person in your life.
2. What is the first word or phrase that comes to mind to represent their judgment of you? Maybe it’s “stupid,” or “incompetent,” or “unlovable,” or “selfish.” Take a few moments to figure out what one word or phrase might sum up your unworthiness best. It often comes from our parents, but it can also come from a sibling, teacher, or friend. You know you’ve found it when it triggers an inward cringe—an instinct to push it away. Call it forth instead.
3. How does this word feel to you right now? Chances are you’ve spent much of your life trying to prove yourself to be the opposite of this word. But there’s also a good chance that you secretly, or perhaps subconsciously, fear that you do possess this trait. Look to see if that might be true for you, even if your first instinct is to deny it. If you feel any energy around this word—if it triggers discomfort—it’s active for you.
4. As vividly as you can, imagine the whole scene from your childhood, as it played out in one particular instance. Who leveled this insult? How old were you? If you don’t remember a specific incident, make one up. Whatever you imagine right now will be fine for purposes of this exercise.
5. When you have the scene pretty vivid in your imagination, pretend it’s a scene in a movie and you’re sitting in the audience, watching. How do you feel as you imagine watching this scene unfold? Does the audience buy into the insult at all, or is the audience feeling love and compassion for the child in this situation? Isn’t it clear to the audience that this accusation says much more about the accuser than it does about the child? There’s no truth to the accusation, is there?
6. Now imagine a new character strides into the scene. It’s Present-Day You, dressed exactly as you are dressed right now. Present-Day You is the child’s ally. Yay! The audience is relieved! Present-Day You tells the insulter to never call Child You that again, and the insulter stomps off screen in a huff. Then Present-Day You gets down to eye-level with Child You and the camera zooms in for a big, warm hug.
7. In your own words, let Present-Day You comfort Child You and assure Child You that the insult has no bearing in reality. Sing Child You’s praises, and promise that you’ll be there from now on to protect Child You and make sure Child You knows how intrinsically wonderful and special he is. Soak up all that loving energy oozing around the movie theater now.
Do you feel any loosening of the resistance around your trigger word from doing just that one super-simple process? You may need to repeat it several times to get to the deep feeling place where this wound can be unwound.
If you still believe that the trigger word accurately applies to you in any way, it probably means that you’ve created some evidence in your life to support it. If that’s the case, I want you to consider this crazy truth: the belief you had about yourself—whether conscious or unconscious—is what led you to create the evidence. The evidence is only there because of the belief. Allowing the belief to remain would only cause you to create more similar evidence. Working now to unwind the belief will lead you to create the opposite kind of evidence from this point forward.
It’s up to you to love you. There’s no point in complaining about having been treated poorly if you continue to treat yourself the same way. Be your own hero, your lover, your best friend. Lavish loving attention on that imaginary Child You and watch your miracles start to unfold.
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