A tick is a tiny little insect, so tiny it’s hard for me to compare it to the size of our bodies. My easiest analogy is that it’s about five times smaller than my left fingernail. That’s small! Yet this minuscule menace has the power to befall even the mightiest of people.
I know. Earlier this summer, unbeknownst to myself, I got bitten by a tick and ended up feeling sicker than I ever have in my life. Chills, fever, brain fog, and extreme lethargy. Fortunately, I had a tick-borne disease that was easily curable, and a strong round of antibiotics knocked it out of my system for good.
The worst of these slights are the ones that happen to us in childhood because these are the ones we hold on to the deepest and stay with us when the memory of the original incident has long faded away.
The point of this is that it shows the power of even the smallest of things to wreak havoc on our physical selves. Well, the same holds true for our mental selves. Something said to us can hold a power over us that can make us feel insignificant, create negative self-images and shatter our self-confidence. The worst of these slights are the ones that happen to us in childhood because these are the ones we hold on to the deepest and stay with us when the memory of the original incident has long faded away. Some examples of this are when a mother foolishly says to her child, “You’re getting fat”. The child hearing this doesn’t process this as meaning that her mother doesn’t want her to eat the second piece of cake she’s demanding in a tantrum fit. She takes it to mean that her mother loves her less for this and that she should do everything in her power not to gain weight. As she grows up, this could result in everything from negative self-image all the way to severe eating disorders like bulimia.
We shouldn’t blame the mother for this as she most likely said these words out of loving concern for her child. Yet even if she did say the words in malice, the child doesn’t have to see this one-time tiny negative criticism as a life-long sentence.
As adults, we have the power to choose to decide what messages we want to believe and which ones to discard.
The young girl hearing these words as a child can, as an adult, reject them when she realizes where they came from. The same holds true if a child gets a message that she translates into “I’m not good enough”, “I’m not lovable”, “I’m clumsy” or any of the many slights we get faced with when we’re young.
The problem is that most of us don’t realize where our negative thoughts originate. While it’s possible to conquer our self-limiting beliefs without learning this, they are easier to “cure” with this knowledge. For me, the fastest way to uncover these truths is through our dreams. We can ask ourselves before going to sleep, “Why do I feel so…” and fill in the blank with whatever negativity you wish to transform. If you’re an active dreamer, you’ll have a dream that night that will give you meaningful clues. If you’re new to remembering your dreams, it might take you longer. But asking that question over a series of nights will result in new insights into habits and beliefs you thought would never change.
Or if you need help remembering or decoding your dreams, I’m here to help. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.