What is the difference between being an adult child and a child? Age. Our minds fill up with our life experiences and we develop self-esteem and inferiority based on our upbringing, and carry childhood attitudes for our whole lives.
My cousin sent me a yearbook photograph of my mother in 1946, and she looked beautiful. Nobody could tell that she’d been burned from the waist up when she was five years old, and suffered through twelve years of hospital time as a plastic surgery experiment, growing artificial skin and receiving grafted skin moved from her leg to her neck. My mother never saw herself as beautiful, yet she was.
I was a fat pre-teen and kept that low feeling inside me all of my life, even during my prime looks. I was not going to be good enough, ever.
It takes work to change one’s self-esteem. One technique is to challenge “Automatic Negative Thinking, or ANTS” coined by Dr. Amen, a celebrity psychiatrist specializing in brain disorders. Regardless of what people think of Dr. Amen, the ANTS suggestion works for me, and I’m passing it on to you, because my automatic thinking by asking his questions has helped make me a more positive thinker.
Amen suggests we start the mental process by first recognizing a negative negative thought. ‘I am ugly.’ We then ask ourselves “Is that true?” and try to answer. We ask again, “Is that REALLY true?”
Amen’s idea of asking the second question changes brain rhythm. For example, I say to myself, “I am ugly.” My brain automatically states that concept as fact without question. Asking “Is that thought true?” attempts to prove the negativity, but it can’t. It doesn’t really convince because it isn’t true. Asking the same question a second time with emphasis on REALLY, goes beyond assumption. IS IT REALLY TRUE? challenges the habit and the rhythm of our negativity.
I’ll take any technique that works if it helps me grow. Amen’s ANT is one effective tool to change really fast. No matter how old we are or how much work we need to do to get happy, questioning negativity is a vital place to start.
I seek a happier life and connection lineup of my body, mind and spirit. Hopefully Amen’s tip will help you as much as its practice has helped me.
Thanks, Pru – New tools are always welcome.