Continuing from the last post in this series:
Day 299: The Origin of Anger in My Life Part 5: Beginning of Self Image Continued
“What I identified in looking at the kinds of experiences that I ‘took to heart’ the most in these years, is that the kind of things I would ‘feel bad’ about, or feel sad about, or feel confused and frustrated about, is things where I’m being seen as not good enough, or as stupid, or as ‘misbehaving’.
And what I found in looking at why I took these kinds of things personally so much, is that I had always seen myself as a good person, as a talented person, as a likable person, as a nice person. These things were like, big parts of my Self Image. Oh and another point of Self Image that started to take a hit at this stage in my life was that of seeing myself as a smart person. I mean I had always enjoyed school and done well up to that point, but in middle school is when I started to experience a struggle to understand a lot of the math and science subjects in particular, and within this starting to compare myself to the other kids who were doing better than me and so, all of a sudden I didn’t feel so smart anymore, lol.
So going back to my earlier childhood, I’m going to continue in the next post with looking at where these Self Image points started forming in terms of, how did I act, what did I do and say, and what feedback and values did I receive and accept from people in my environment, that caused me to start defining myself as a ‘good person’, and as a ‘nice person’, and as a ‘smart person’, and as a ‘talented person’.”
So I’m going to start with the self-image point of being a nice, likable, good person, in looking at how I came to define myself as such.
When I look back at my early childhood, when I was quite young I took violin lessons, and interestingly enough, the method that the particular violin school used, involved teaching students certain ‘performance etiquette’ such as bowing to the audience before and after a performance. Now, as a child I was obviously taught things like ‘please and thank you’, and was learning to say things like ‘good morning’, and stuff like that. And, I guess you could say something of and in my beingness like, took to being ‘polite’, and ‘well mannered’ quite naturally. There’s this funny story, which I remember quite well, of how one time my mom’s relative was staying at our house maybe when I was 3 or 4 years old, and this was around the time I was taking violin lessons actually. Anyway one morning I am in the hallway by the foot of the stairs, and my mom’s relative, Liisa, appears at the top of the stairs. So I proceed to place my hands at my sides, execute a small bow and say ‘good morning Liisa’. lol. And, I remember this quite clearly. Looking back at my childhood I can remember in general being perhaps, more ‘well mannered’ than the average young child, and this has been confirmed through my parents as well, lol. It simply was something that came naturally to me.
Anyway, within this, over the course of time obviously such behavior gets recognized by one’s parents and other adults, and basically what I see is that at a certain stage I began to see myself / experience myself as being a ‘good boy’, and a ‘polite boy’. And I clearly see a positive value judgment placed within this kind of behavior, where – such behavior became like, a point of pride for me. Now I can see that within this I actually enjoyed the experience of receiving positive feedback / recognition from my parents, and eventually I see I even started comparing myself to my brother and sister, and seeing that I was more ‘well mannered’ and ‘well behaved’ than they were. And, this point of comparison and judging my ‘well mannered behavior’ within a ‘positive light’ is something that I started to, consciously in my mind define myself within. It became a point of Self-Image – that which I See myself as. That which I define as ‘me’.
Now it’s important to recognize within this that, though at first such behavior may have been ‘innocent’ – without any comparison or judgment of it being ‘positive’, I eventually, even at a very young age, began to define myself through the whole package of the behavior along with the positive feedback and recognition from my parents, where – I felt good about myself / proud of myself for ‘being polite’ — and it became a personality; something that I would deliberately do in a calculated way in order to receive positive feedback and reward from others in my environment.
In the next post in this series I will explore further dimensions of this personality / self image point, and then we’ll get into the next self-image point.