Reading the CEDRIC Core Beliefs Handbook, it’s no surprise to me that by looking to the source of my inner diminishment, my childhood, I am able to put the finger right on the basis of CEDRIC teachings. Core Beliefs are really the foundation for any psyche and as I learn to reshuffle my personal priorities and internalized understandings, the difficult issues of low self-esteem and lowered self worth in my past are deeply ingrained and something I must focus on overcoming everyday. Here’s how I’m working through this:
Putting oneself first is no mean feat when I’ve spend the last twenty plus years putting the needs of my children ahead of myself as they grew up, as it should be. The danger here, though, is that there is a tendency to hide behind distractions such as letting the priorities of others become a deterrent to our dealing with our own needs. Eating right and regularly contribute to maintaining a holistic lifestyle, but when one is unable to ascertain what one needs because historically the needs of others have overridden our personal needs, unhealthy habits become the norm. Habits like snacking, caving to temptations, and unintentional imbibing that is a knee jerk response to frustration all contribute to harming one’s body and one’s body image and as a result, one’s self esteem faces a downward spiral.
Finding the balance has always been the trick for this Libran, who’s scales are always teetering and rarely level. Striving for harmony and harmonious surroundings is much easier now that my life has changed so much. Not a parent any longer, nor am I a student. My newfound identity as an independent woman finds me in a loved relationship, both within, with myself, and without, with my hubby, which distracts me much less now.
Tina’s Journey – ‘Skiing’ all year
The Core Beliefs handbook suggests one should look to where in their childhood they first felt blindsided and their delicate self esteem began taking abuse. Its easy for me to pinpoint this. As a child, I grew up in a home where my mother was oblivious of the impact of her callousness on her two daughters. It wasn’t until after years of counselling and self work that I have learned to not assign blame in my mother’s direction however. She was and always will be a victim of World War II, having grown up in Germany during the war years as the oldest girl in a large family that was headed by an authoritarian father who had no business parenting, and who had no idea how his corporal attitudes would reflect on his grandchildren when his children became adults and had kids of their own.
My mother dismissed counselling, denying it of any value, believing it was for ‘crazy people’. As a result, the Russian soldiers who caused her family so much grief are still winning – still there in her mind with their long-ago abuses reflected through all her daily actions.
When Anthony Robbins, the famous motivational guru, talks about people’s emotional winters, I think of my mother, who exemplifies the role of eternal victim. Unlike her, I am a survivor, excelling in spite of my life and history, not because of it. Tony Robbins says that when people face their emotional winters, face their core challenges, some people go skiing, some choose to freeze to death. Mom chose the latter, but in my best interests, I’ve not only learned to ‘ski’, but I’ve raised my children into adulthood with the skills needed to face their hardships in the affirmative – to take the lessons presented by the current challenges and ski with them.
My mother, as a result, was very hard on my headstrong and precocious self. Her constant diminishment, her tendency to hit and scream without warning, caused me to have extremely low self esteem until well into my 30’s, when I began in earnest, to rectify this, through counselling. The hard work has paid off, as I now have a fairly solid self image that I and noone else has defined. In spite of this, though, it’s ironic that the ingrained, ancient self perceptions planted by my mother have caused my ‘Drill Sergeant’ to have my mother’s soft, clipped voice with its germanic/British accent.
I can say, encouragingly, that as one becomes more skilled in handling challenges, in staying in the love, in staying positive, that Drill Sergeant’s voice becomes much more sporadic and definitely less vehement. Now, when I hear that internal critic speaking to me in a voice that my close friends would NEVER use towards me, I take it as a sign that I am tired, overworked, out of energy, hungry or just needing to change my focus from one of outwardly dealing with the needs of others, and instead, begin considering what my own needs are.
One priceless counselling experience really helped me address the tendency of my Drill Sergeant’s callous opinion of myself to blindside my confidence which often contributed to causing me to second-guess myself. This innovative counselor listened to me as I outlined some of my history and after thinking a bit, she replied, “When you hear that internal dialogue of self-diminishment, instead of giving it undue energy, just acknowledge it… just try responding minimally by saying to yourself ‘There it is.’ and then return to whatever you were doing.”
That suggestion has proven to be pure gold. The old me was prone to stop in my tracks and take on the Drill Sergeant’s barrage of self-critical input, disrupting my confidence. By applying the simple words ‘There it is’, and consciously choosing to not let it get to me, I circumvented a very old knee-jerk response, and ultimately, it changed my life.
It wasn’t easy at first – old habits die hard and the Drill Sergeant doesn’t give up without a concerted battle. I perservered with repeated applications of the ‘There it is’ exercise, and like new muscle using repetition, I was able to mute self-deprecating internal dialogue much more easily. By identifying where my personal perspective of core esteem began, I can lay those blue meanies to rest, redeem myself for the valid and capable person I have become, and move ahead.
Maybe that’s the lesson to glean from this whole challenge. The red flag that flies up when I hear the Drill Sergeant now, tells me not to listen to the words of the DS but to the existence of my personal state changing to one of more accumulated stress than I can bear, and to start to focus on myself immediately.
I hope my insights around core beliefs have a positive effect on your process. As we journey together towards wholeness, we need to know that those who try to diminish us exist (that’s self preservation). We should pay attention to how they operate and where they come from, but we don’t need to give them energy, and that goes for the ‘Drill Sergeant’ as well.