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Attacking the Roots of Rejection
It is important for anyone who feels as if he/she can’t measure up to get at the roots of the matter—to examine his life-style and discover how and why this continuous cycle of “unworthiness” got started. Once that is understood, the next stop is to realize that life patterns can be changed, and that new, constructive attitudes and actions can be put in place of the old.
You’ve undoubtedly heard the old saying “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Well, that’s not quite true, but it is harder to redefine and reshape the life-style once a person has reached adolescence. Personality is like wet cement up until age seven, then it gets progressively harder. But even after it’s hardened, there are steps you can take to change your life-style.
For the most part, your life-style is a product of your environment. It consists of the way you perceive yourself in relationship to the significant people around you. All men and women follow certain life-styles, established early in life, which may be positive or negative.
Although, it might not seem that way, each child in a family can be considered to be living in a different environment, and so each life-style will be influenced by different factors. The family environment changes with the birth of each child.
For example, Betty was the oldest child, the apple of her parents’ eyes, who always did well in school and never did anything to cause her mom and dad to be embarrassed.
Rhonda, on the other hand, was the perpetual little sister, the one who always stood in Betty’s shadow and could never do anything—or so it seemed—as well as big sister could do it.
Betty’s environment was shaped by her role as the “golden child” of the family, whereas Rhonda was a frustrated underachiever, who soon resigned herself to the fact that she would never measure up to her sister. True to her expectations about herself, she never has. Both girls grew up, then, in totally different atmospheres that shaped the way they will see themselves and live out their lives forever—unless Rhonda sees that she does not have to be trapped in her life-style of failure and chooses to do something about it.
The more years I spend as a psychologist, the more I am convinced of the truth of that old saying “As the twig is bent, so grows the tree.”
The things that happen to us very early in life will shape the way we live out the rest of our years. Even if they live to be 120, most people will be following the life-style that was built into them by the time they were four or five years old.
So what is it that makes you feel unworthy? Even now, you can make the conscious decision to throw that out the window and start fresh!