Your body and mind are magnificent.
When you were born, you had one simple survival strategy: Someone (most likely your parents) had to take care of you. Otherwise, you would be lost.
So from a very early stage, you instinctively searched for love from your closest person(s).
If getting love meant that you had to be a certain way, you would change to be that way.
That is clever, right?
This happens to everybody.
The only difference is how much each infant and child have had to ‘change’ to get love. Put very simple (even though this is not a simple topic):
The more you have been loved and accepted for who you are through childhood, the higher sense of self-worth you have.
The more you have had to adapt to get love, the lower feeling of self-worth you have.
To increase your feeling of self-worth you need to work with awareness of who you have learned to be in your childhood. You need to discover when you have felt understood and how you have been treated.
Closing down parts of ourselves, because they are not appreciated, always foster grief. A grief because we feel we are not fully worthy of love.
We learn that “it is not everything about me that is good enough!”
It helps you on your self-worth journey to understand which parts of yourself you have hidden away.
Are you ready for todays exercise? Let’s start.
Put your phone on airplane mode to avoid distractions for the next 8 minutes.
Find a piece of paper or something else to write on and a pen.
Or you can use your phone.
This exercise will help you think about when and how you experienced love as a child. Answer the below questions to help you reflect.
Write all your answers on your paper or on your mobile.
It is up to you how much you will write down.
You are the only one who will see it and you know your stories. So it can be enough to write a sentence like this: “that time when mom took me to my favorite book shop”. You know the meaning yourself. You know the story. So write just as much as you feel. You cannot do this wrong.
Try to picture yourself as when you were a child through this exercise. Or even better: Have a look at a photo of yourself as a child.
- Did you know that you were loved and that you were good enough?
How did you know (was it shown, said directly/indirectly, were you kissed, etc.)?
- Did you felt understood? When and how?
- Was there any room for your feelings? E.g., which feelings were accepted, and which were not?
- How have you experienced communication? Was communication closed, open, harsh, ironic?
- When did you get praised as a child? E.g. strong, sweet, intelligent, brave, friendly, helpful?
- When did you get criticism as a child? If you were dominating, angry, sad, afraid, weak, goofy, other?
- What have you been told about yourself? Which words have been used to describe you? E.g. sweet, stubborn, mature, sensible, sensitive.
Now use a little time to think about your parent’s self-worth (or the ones who raised you).
You learn a lot from the primary adults in your life.
Reflect on them. How do they treat themselves? Do they love themselves? Do they treat themselves with love, respect, and care?
Write down what you have learned from their behavior.
What do you feel now?
Whatever you feel this very minute – know that it is OK!
Maybe you do not feel anything. That is OK.
Maybe you feel empty. That is OK.
Maybe you feel relieved. Maybe you have old feelings you need to process: sadness, disappointment, or anger.
Either way, make room for you. It is OK.
Be good to yourself. Comfort yourself – you are good enough whatever this moment is offering you.
Write down how you feel – even if you feel nothing or if you felt this was too difficult to do. Maybe you do not remember much of your childhood.
This is an extra assignment if you feel any unreleased feelings.
Take your time to comfort yourself. Do not abandon yourself with these feelings. For some, it can be hurtful to go through childhood memories.
Respect if this was a tough assignment for you.
Be your own loving and caring mother or father for a moment.
Close your eyes and take a deep breath.
Picture yourself in nature. Somewhere beautiful. Somewhere safe. Picture that your inner child is there as well.
Watch her/him and let her/him come to you.
What does your inner child need right now?
Is it a hug? To play around? Maybe she/he needs to be with you in silence?
Maybe to hear you say that she/he is loved?
Feel what kind of support your inner child needs. Picture yourself giving your inner child what she/needs.
STEP 5 – Ending:
The last of today is to assure yourself that you are good enough.
You ARE good enough!
Be gentle to yourself.
Say this (preferably out loud) to yourself and to your inner child:
“Dearest [your name], I love you, and I am here for you.
You are exactly as you are supposed to be. You have your own meaningful place in the world. I love you.“
Say this as many times as you like.
You can change the wording to something you feel works better for you.
But be comforting and supportive to yourself. If English is not your primary language it might feel better to translate this into your own language.
You have done a magnificent job today!
Well done! You are done with today’s exercise.
Please remember to give yourself some well-earned respect.
It is not an easy task to remember, to feel, and put words on your childhood.
Be very proud of yourself for trying and for doing as much as you could!
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