Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sometimes You Have To Go Back To Go Forward......

 In the process of changing and getting control of our thought process we first have to look at how our thought process was formed.  Well, we looked at in the last post how childhood experiences form many of our thoughts about ourselves, relationships and the world in general.  We all have positive things that we learn from our family of origin and we all have negative things.  What we have to do is number one make sure we have let go of any anger, bitterness or unforgiveness from our family.  That frees us to move forward - then we need to examine what negative messages we may have received and held onto.  Some of these negative message were made directly to us but most where given to us in modeling.

We tend to tag our kids with something that may have been negative for you or even a positive that then became an unrealistic expectation of you - she is the smart one, or he's our problem child, or she is our shy one, he's the one that I always depend on. You may need to let that tag go.   Personality and Birth Order ties in to this also.

Some examples of negative messages or examples are:
  • How conflict was handled in your home
  • Was your home one of peace and stability or an unstable household with people who always let circumstance control their moods.  
  • How people communicated their feelings in your home
  • How secure was your home, did you feel safe, did you feel loved, did you feel taken care of 
  • Did your environment promote confidence in yourself, where you encouraged and affirmed
  • Was there healthy discipline and structure in your home
  • Did you have fun and laugh
  • Where you emotionally, physically or sexually abused
All these factors and more contribute to how we think about life, ourselves and our relationships.  Of course the most damaging are the abuses but no matter what messages you were given you can reprogram the computer of your brain. You can replace the lies with truth.

Again a reminder, this is not to blame but to understand and to make sure we are not repeating the same mistakes in our families.  Once you look at the negative messages you have been given then you need to begin to see if any line up with God's truth and His Word and if they don't then they are a lie and need to be replaced in your mind with truth.  If conflict was not handed well in your family of origin then you begin to learn how to handle conflict in a healthy way - this is a process of changing your thinking.  Insecurities in childhood lead to low self esteem and lack of confidence so you know those are lies - you begin to see yourself as God says you are.

I have a list of affirmations that I give my clients and have them say them everyday until they begin to reprogram their thinking.  If anyone wants some copies just email me at and I will send them to you. 

As you forgive and understand your family of origin and the experiences you had you then need to look at all the positives you received from them and there were many, in fact God placed you in that family to make you the person he purposed for you to be so begin to acknowledge the negative messages and let them go, replace them with truth then embrace all the positives that came from your family.  As you do this you will look at your childhood in positive terms, because you will have a positive mindset with better thinking patterns. You will look at your childhood, your parents and family with an air of forgiveness and gratitude for all the experiences they have brought to you.

A few tips that may help the process:
  • Acknowledge that you are different from your parents and that it is OK.
  • Accept that your parents aren’t perfect (and neither are you).
  • Take responsibility for who you are today. Acknowledge what was troublesome about your growing up experience, accept it, and move on.
  • Realize that your parents are a product of their own growing up and life experiences.
  • Know that as an adult you are entitled to your own choices, opinions and decisions, even if they turn out to be mistakes. How else can you learn?
  • Understand that today you have the power to influence your relationship with your parents in a positive way, even though you’re still “the kid.
  • Stop trying to change your parents. Instead, think about how you can change your behavior so as to create better interactions with them.
  • Avoid old, toxic topics that are never resolved, and which only bring you pain.
  • Develop and enjoy interests and activities together, where you can participate as equals.
  • When issues come between you, treat them as problems external to you both, not as character flaws or as a battle to be won.
  • Notice and acknowledge the good things they have done, and continue to do for you. Thank them for these things.
  • Even if relations are strained, try to remain in contact, if only through notes, e-mail or voicemail.
 In rare cases even these steps won’t be enough. The pain you experience as a result of continued contact with your parents may be greater than any benefit you receive. 

"For if you forgive people their trespasses (their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go and giving up resentment) your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive others their trespasses (their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go and giving up resentment) neither will our Father forgive you your trespasses."  Matthew 6:14, 15

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