[teacher’s name]? Why was she so mean?” It never would occur to her to think that perhaps there was something wrong with her if the teacher was angry with her. In other words, once you form positive self-esteem beliefs as a child during the first five or six years, it is actually difficult to turn them into negative beliefs later on if others treat you badly.
Another reason our beliefs are usually formed in interactions with our parents is that during the first few years of life, we are always asking “why?”. Sometimes we ask our parents to explain things to us, and sometimes we ask ourselves, “Why am I being treated like this? Why is my life like this?” We answer these questions for ourselves during the first few years of life. Because our parents are the people who we spend most of our waking hours with, they are involved in most of the experiences that lead to our fundamental beliefs.
And what are those experiences in most households? Parents, being adults, generally like quiet; children are not quiet and cannot even understand why anyone would value quiet. Parents for the most part want their house to be neat; young children don’t even understand the concept of “neat.” Parents want to sit down for dinner when it is ready and before it gets cold; children are almost always doing something that is far more important to them and don’t want to stop doing it when their parents call them.
In other words, parents usually want their children to do things that they are developmentally incapable of doing. They want their young children to act like little adults, which they cannot possibly do.
The question is not, Do children frequently “disobey” their parents? Children are developmentally incapable to living up to most parents’ expectations. The only question is how parents react when their children are not doing what the parents want them to do.
And because few parents go to parenting school and most bring their own beliefs from their childhoods with them, their reactions range from annoyance and frustration to anger and abuse, with every possibility in between.
From our experience in working with over 13,000 clients, we have found that virtually every one of them formed their basic self-esteem beliefs from interactions with their parents (and rarely other caregivers if such people took care of them most of the time) during the first few years of life.
And yet, behavioral and emotional problems later in life are not our parents’ fault. By that I mean we are not affected by our parents’ behavior after we grow up and leave the house. They are no longer in our lives in the same way. What does run our lives as adults? The meaning we gave our parents’ behavior, which became our beliefs.
Because it is possible at any age to eliminate our negative, limiting beliefs, it is possible to leave our past in the past any time we choose to do so. It might have been nice if our parents had had better parenting skills and had done some work on their own beliefs before they decided to have children. Nonetheless, we don’t have to be at the effect of their behavior toward us. We can eliminate our childhood beliefs at any time we choose to. And when we do that and also understand that our parents’ dysfunctional behavior toward us was a function of their beliefs, from their own childhoods, we end up feeling compassion for our parents instead of anger.
Sorry, but if you choose to hold on to your negative beliefs instead of getting rid of them, you can’t blame your parents any more for what doesn’t work in your life today. Here’s the real choice we face: To hold on to the beliefs that keep us stuck in life and then blame our parents for being the source of them, or to eliminate those beliefs and be free to choose a life of bliss and success, realizing our parents did the best they could and are blameless for our lives today.
Which do you choose?
If you haven’t yet eliminated at least one of your limiting self-esteem beliefs using the Lefkoe Belief Process, go to htp://www.recreateyourlife.com/free where you can eliminate one limiting belief free.
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