What is the difference between a healthy push and self imposed mental abuse?
Have you every heard someone say, "You really shouldn't be so hard on yourself"?
For many of us, our inner dialogue can be incredibly cruel, harsh, and relentless.
We mentally abuse ourselves thinking that is what is necessary for us to change, to do or be better, to succeed. It may be the only way we know. Self imposed mental abuse is a real issue. We constantly tear ourselves down with our internal dialogue and create emotional instability and insecurity within ourselves in the process. Our confidence and ability to trust ourselves is destroyed.
Of course we all want to be the best version of ourselves, but internal mental abuse is not the way to get there.
Learning the healthy push is the better way to go.
The difference between self imposed mental abuse and a healthy push is that one uses blame, shame, and guilt, and the other uses quality words of encouragement and inspiration. A healthy push comes from a place of understanding that we are all human doing the best we can in every situation and are always growing and improving. A healthy push uses quality words to encourage the best version of ourselves to rise to the surface. A healthy push is motivated by love. Mental abuse is motivated by fear.
Where does self inflicted mental abuse start?
What we witnessed from our parents while growing up determines if we adopt mental abuse or the healthy push as adults.
You may have heard your parents being hard on themselves for mistakes, blaming themselves repeatedly, or even calling themselves names. Maybe when you made a mistake, you were met with blame, shame and guilt, and heard, "why did you do that?" "That was dumb or that was so stupid of you!"
In that moment of hearing those words as a child, your impressionable mind was listening.
When we are young, our mind behaves like a talking parrot. Whatever our parents say, our parrot repeats. When we grow into adults, our parrot comes with us. When we mess up, our parrot speaks the words of our parent.
I witnessed an example of the blame, shame, and guilt model while traveling a couple of months back. I was on a flight to Indonesia in a window seat next to a 3 year old boy and his mom. He was restless as most 3 year olds are. He had slept most of the 6 hour flight but woke as we were about to land. He did not want to keep his belt on for the landing and in a last ditch effort to keep her child in his belt, this sweet, well meaning mom says, "if you don't keep your belt on I guess I can't be your friend anymore".
I cringed on the inside because I knew his parrot was listening and would turn on him with shame as an adult in moments where he wasn't doing what he "should" have been. This brief moment of stress and fear from his mom set him up to mentally abuse himself as an adult and teach his children to do the same.
How do we change this for ourselves and adopt the healthy push for ourselves and those around us?
Awareness. Understanding. Compassion. Encouragment.
Be aware of what we are doing to ourselves and others by using the old model of blame, shame, and guilt...motivated by fear.
Understand that we are all doing our best based off of our current level of knowledge and decision making abilities. We all mean well.
Remember that during those moments that don't go as planned, that seem to be mistakes, we can act from compassion...Compassion for ourselves and others.
Mistakes happen. We are all human. We are on the same team.
Meet those mistakes with objectivity and encouragement. Assess the situation. Collect the facts. See what we can change or make better. Put the time and effort in for that improvement. Accept the parts that we have no control over. Leave that mistake or event in the past. Bury it. It's no longer your business or part of your life. Move on in a positive and well informed way.
The healthy push is proactive and productive as opposed to mental abuse that only results in discouragement and lack of self confidence.
The healthy push moves you past those mistakes, armed and ready to improve and grow stronger.
Mental abuse will keep you stuck in the past and destroy your confidence and your ability to move forward and improve.
I think if we could learn to be the best coaches and motivators, to ourselves, our children, and those around us, everything we touch would change for the better and we would never find ourselves stuck ever again.
All of life is a game of balance. Energy in, Energy out. The better you are at keeping the energy balanced in all areas of your life, the more successful you are at the game of life. This leads to less worry and more happy.
Think about it:
Body-How's my balance? Am I putting more energy in that I am out? Am I even aware of how much energy I put into my body by way of food? Is it healthy energy or unhealthy energy? When you find your balance physically, your body finds it's natural weight, strength, and energy levels.
Mind-How's my balance? What am I doing with my mental energy? Do I focus on healthy topics or unhealthy topics? Whatever goes in tends to come out. If you constantly entertain thoughts of fear, worry, and confusion, you will act from fear, worry, and confusion.
Spirit-How's my balance? Can I even hear my spirit or my heart and what it is telling me to do? If the mind is out of balance, the answer will be no. If the answer is yes, I can hear or feel what my heart is saying to do, do you act on the guidance of your heart? If the mind gets in the way with fear, the answer will be no. Therefore you are out of balance.
Ignore one of these three and balance is lost.
To find and maintain balance, we must keep all 3 aspects at center stage. This means, you have to give each your careful attention and care each day.
What does your body need.. do that.
What does your mind need.. do that.
What does your spirit need.. do that.
Seem overwhelming? Undoable? Tried it before and failed? Just don't have the energy to do it? Don't want to even try?
It's your life and you matter!.. Do not give up on you right now no matter how bad you may feel. Reach out. Grab a friend who is in the same boat. Join a support group.
Whatever you do, don't just sit down and give up.. ever!!! Happy can be yours!!! It's just a game of balance! We got this!!
This is my personal focus this year. If you need someone to hold you up while you practice your balance..join me at https://www.facebook.com/groups/30DayHealthReboot/
for daily tips and support on finding and maintaining balance in body, mind, and spirit.
..Let's do this together:)
by Angie Johnston
What does love really mean?
Before we define love it’s important that we first look at the two different aspects of ourselves because each aspect has a different view and need of love.
Let’s make this simple to understand by looking at ourselves as the child part and the adult part.
Some people refer to your child part as your ego or inner child. We all have one. It is still with you even after your body grows into an adult.
The child part tries to feel loved, gain love, deserve love, be worthy of love, and make sense of love because it desires a sense of connection in order to feel safe.
Many times we think we are looking for the feeling of love but what we are looking for is safety.
When a child feels safe, it can fully relax in the presence of another creating a feeling of connection. It then feels free to be it’s truest self without the burden of constantly trying to gain safety or love through altering its behavior. Our first priority as a child is obtaining a sense or feeling of safety…to know that we are ok and fully accepted and embraced, as is. If we don’t feel that, we begin the unending search of the right formula of behaviors that will give us that acceptance so we can know we are safe or loved.
The adult part is the part of you that emerges to continue the care of the child part. This is the part involved in self love and self acceptance. Your adult part tends to use the parenting techniques of it’s parents. If your parents or people in your life met your child self’s needs of connection and safety, you will know how to give yourself love and acceptance and keep your child self feeling calm and safe. If those people did not know how to meet those needs and wounded the child, you will need to learn reparenting skills.
If you have the burning question of “What does love really mean?”, it is your child part that wants to know. Therefore, for the purpose of this article, we will focus on your child self.
How important is the child to my life experience?
The child controls how you feel moment to moment, and how you react to things or how you behave. Your daily experience of life will depend on the stories the child is told and how well it is cared for and soothed by your adult self.
An abused child that doesn’t feel safe will act out. If you find yourself having moments of behavior that you regret later, your adult self has yet to learn how to properly care for the child and help it to feel embraced and fully accepted and therefore safe or loved.
If you are feeling any emotion other than peace and calm, this is a result of your child reacting to a scary story being told by your adult self.
What does the child need?
The way the child feels “love” is through being seen, heard, fully accepted, embraced, not judged, not shamed, not blamed, and not guilted.
So you could say, the child defines love as being fully embraced, seen, heard, understood, accepted which results in feeling fully connected to another person and therefore feels safe.
The short answer is what the child feels as love is the ability to feel completely safe with another person.
When these conditions are met, the child feels connected to another person and loved and safe. Since it is incapable of giving this to itself, an external source, another person must meet all of the conditions in order for it to feel loved.
What if the child was wounded?
What if no one in your child’s world was able to give it full acceptance and non judgement? What if it was met with constant blame, shame, guilt, judgement, never accepted, rarely seen, rarely heard, never understood, rarely embraced? What if it never felt safe?
If the child within you never received the feeling of connection which caused it to feel safe it will now search endlessly for this feeling.
Now your child has wounds and it’s stories of love are scary, confusing ones.
You will carry this child with it’s scary love stories into adulthood.
As an adult you may experience insecurity, anxiety, codependency, love obsession, and may constantly search for love in the same type of people involved in those past confusing, scary love stories.
You will encounter the same type of people who don’t know how to fulfill the child’s definition of love, mostly because the child of those people never experienced it either.
We can’t give what we have never received. We can't teach what we have never learned.
The child will tell itself to just be better, be different, do whatever it takes to be accepted, leaving you as an adult without a clue of who you truly are because who you truly are wasn’t accepted or good enough in the past.
This leaves the person with such an internal pain of feeling unsafe, disconnected, alone, and separate.
How do we get better?
In a perfect world where every child is shown the actions of love, no wounded children would exist. The child would receive love by the adults surrounding it and learn how to give these actions to itself in adulthood. The adult aspect would care for its child in the same loving way taught to it by the adults in it’s life. The adult self would show the child self full acceptance and non judgement.
Love to the part of you that is asking, is safety. Safety is found through full acceptance and non judgement. When your adult can give this to your child, the search for love can end and peace can begin.
Angie Johnsey is a speaker, author and world-renowned Mind expert. A hypnotherapist and psychiatric nurse by trade, Angie assists clients all over the world to become aware of their mental and emotional patterns, bring clarity and peace to lives that were once full of stress and suffering, and choose the feelings they would like to have to transform their lives.