How the Little Girl Learned to Love Herself

by Anna

Every Monday morning, the teacher of an elementary school would allow time at the beginning of the class to give pupils the opportunity to share experiences they had over the weekend. One day, a little girl wanted to share her exuberant joy of having seen a group of bunnies crossing her path on the way to school this very morning. She raised her hand so high she thought it would fall off would she raise it any higher and impatiently moved around on her small chair. Her little heart beat faster with excitement with every child that finished their story expecting to be the next to be picked. But her turn never came. She felt utterly disappointed and in her mind she made a crucial decision: If my teacher isn’t going to pick me despite of me raising my hand so high, I am not going to raise my hand again ever. And however strong the urge was to raise it and participate thereafter, she fought the urge and stuck with her decision.

This little girl was me when I was about six years of age. And the believe I made twenty-six years ago has ever since stopped me from participating in groups. I would begin a new school, new course, new group full of joy and interest only to slowly retreat form thereon, unable to raise my hand or voice in front of a group. It also massively impacted on my school marks, especially oral participation, which made up a third of the mark resulting in me not achieving entry levels needed for higher education.

In line with my blog about the power of thought, this shows how much of an influence a single thought can have over our whole life!

Today I found out that nowhere in my heightened awareness did I have a space to keep my positive experiences, compared to the massive pile of negative experiences which can be found neatly filed away in a safe part of my consciousness.

How did that even happen?

I have recently come to the conclusion that I do have the tendency to focus on negative aspects more than I probably should, but with the healthy intention to make them better. This doesn’t always work though and in the end I realised that it would technically make me a negative person. The thing is, however, that I don’t particularly think that I am all that negative. In fact I thought that I was very positive in the way I was leading my life and influenced others around me.

My mind is set out to see possible futures. I see numerous steps ahead from any given point in time which, to other people, appears insane. Besides it not making any sense to them it would be thought of as ludicrous since it doesn’t confirm anything and thus would be considered mere guessing and daydreaming. Numerous times have I been told to stop asking silly questions, only because I wanted to know what to do in case one of my possible futures would come true. But the other person thought of it as an entirely different matter which had nothing to do with the current topic only because they couldn’t see that far ahead.

I believe that by working out the worst case scenario I would be safe because I could work around it and thereby avoid it. And possibly help others to avoid it too. However, I once again find myself back at thinking about negative stuff!

Now, today I figured out why I would predominantly think in negative terms. Not only to be prepared for the worst that could possibly happen, but because I didn’t have anywhere to store positive experiences. Turns out that when I am in a truly happy and positive state, I really live that moment, suck it up with every pore of my body, but evidently didn’t have a space set out for storage of this experience. So once I had savoured the moment it would slowly disintegrate into the ether. Or so it would seem. In actual fact, unconsciously, I would re-file it into the negative part of my collective consciousness. This is because I couldn’t find another appropriate place for it to stay. The positive storage space hasn’t been set up yet and in my attempt to share my happiness with other people I would either encounter envy, plain non-interest or would be ridiculed. I also felt that it wasn’t acceptable in our society to openly proclaim that I was a fantastic person or that I did a really good job. It seems to be good to be highly thought of by others but not to announce it in public. So I would transform it into a negative emotion merely due to the fact that I didn’t feel I could openly express it and hence it got filed under the negative experiences since that was the only option of filling any of my experiences.

All the self-help books that proclaim how much positive thoughts will change your life and how important it is to love oneself, it doesn’t go anywhere if there isn’t a space for it to go to. This is at least true for myself. All the mirror exercises looking at myself, saying nice words didn’t have any lasting effect. I was aware of the effect they had, but couldn’t hold onto it for long before I began to feel foolish and let down again. And so the circle would carry on. This has been having an impact on every part of my life and has  also been partly influencing my self-esteem. I would clearly remember the negative experiences on a long-term basis and only temporarily live the positive ones.

I have now created a brand new space in my consciousness in which I will file any future events that have a positive effect on me. Interestingly it is impossible to re-file the negative emotions into positive ones so I have to start to build up a whole new array of ideas and believes. The first one will be that “I am a truly intelligent woman”. Replacing, or rather counteracting, the imposed believe that I am stupid.

The believe that the little girl was stupid has been meticulously worked into her psyche by her teacher over the following seven years following the morning she saw the bunnies. There is a lot to work through, but for now I will rejoice in filling my new found storage space with beautiful new things.