Do You Treat Yourself Like Your Parents Treated You or Themselves?

07/31/2017 08:01 am ET

If you are anxious, depressed, or are just not happy and peaceful inside, it may be because you are judging yourself as your parents judged you, or ignoring yourself as your parents ignored you or themselves.

Joe came to a 5-day Intensive depressed and stuck in his life. As I worked with him, it became apparent that Joe was highly judgmental toward himself.

"Who in your family was judgmental toward you?" I asked.

"Both my father and my older brother. I was never good enough for either of them. But today I have a good relationship with both of them."

"So now you are treating yourself just like your father and brother treated you when you were growing up. You have taken up where they left off."

"Right! I'm very hard on myself."

"Joe, ask your little boy inside how he feels when you judge him."

Joe went inside and asked. "He feels awful, just as I used to feel as a child. But I am afraid that if I'm not hard on myself I won't continue to succeed."

"Joe, you are succeeding in spite of the judgment, not because of it. In fact, it is making it harder for you because you feel anxious and depressed when you judge yourself. If you were valuing yourself instead of judging yourself you would feel alive and excited about life, which would make it easier to succeed. While you are here at the Intensive, try practicing accepting and approving of yourself and see how you feel. See if you feel more motivated or less motivated with self-acceptance and self-approval than with self-judgment."

By the 4th day of the Intensive, Joe was feeling happy, peaceful, and excited about his life. His anxiety and depression were gone. Of course, it is much easier to let go of self-judgment at an Intensive than in real life, so Joe needed to consciously practice Inner Bonding throughout the day after leaving the Intensive to make self-acceptance his inner way of being.

Marilyn had similar issues to Joe - anxiety and depression. Yet she came from a completely different kind of family than Joe.

"My parents were very loving and accepting with me. They always let me know how much they valued me."

"Marilyn, how did your parents treat themselves? Did they take care of themselves physically and emotionally, or did they ignore their own needs and feelings?"

"Both of my parents ignored their feelings and needs. My father worked all the time and didn't take care of himself at all. He just wanted to provide for the family. My mother took care of everyone else but never gave herself a thought. Taking care of other people was more important to both of my parents then taking care of themselves. Both of them believed that taking care of themselves was selfish - that loving was about being selfless."

"So, now you are treating yourself as your parents treated themselves and your inner child feels unimportant to you. No wonder she is anxious and depressed."

"But if I take care of myself, aren't I being selfish?"

"There is a huge difference between being selfish and self-responsible. You are being selfish when you expect others to give themselves up for you, and when you don’t care about the effect your behavior has on others. You are being self-responsible when you take loving care of yourself so that you feel happy and peaceful inside and can share your love with others. Would you have liked it if you had seen your parents taking loving care of themselves, or would you have seen it as selfish?"

"I would have loved it! While they treated me well, they were not happy people, and I always wanted to see them happy. It has been confusing because I was taught that giving to others is what makes you happy and I never saw them happy. I've done the same thing and I haven't been happy."

"Giving to others can bring great joy, but only when you are taking loving care of yourself. Otherwise, giving to others becomes a way of filling up from the outside rather than from the inside, and is just another addiction. Your inner little girl needs for you to learn to open to Spirit and bring the love that is Spirit to her, which is what happens when you practice Inner Bonding. During this Intensive, try attending to your feelings with a deep desire to learn with your Child and with your Guidance and see what happens."

Like Joe, Marilyn's anxiety and depression disappeared as she stopped ignoring her feelings and needs and started to take loving care of herself.

You might want to practice noticing if you are treating yourself like your parents treated you or like they treated themselves.

Start learning to love yourself with our free Inner Bonding eCourse at

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