Come from an Unsupportive Family? How to not let that hold you back.

By Banana Oil from Shutterstock
Shutterstock by Banana Oil

When we are children, our parents are proxies, helping us develop characteristics, such as confidence, until we can take over the process and develop them ourselves. We can mirror them, and they can mirror us.

If they mirror us well, reflecting our joy, sharing in the excitement of our achievements, then we develop a strong sense of self-worth.

If they don’t, then we don’t.

There are two roads to developing a sense of self: mirroring/attunement or will.

If no one reflects back to you the characteristics that create a strong sense of self i.e., high self-esteem, confidence or belief in one’s abilities and value, then you can cultivate those things through your will.

You make the decision that you will see yourself as capable, you will see yourself as worthy, you will see yourself as loveable, you will see yourself as whole.

And you will become that.

With time. You will become all that you believe yourself to be.

It just takes a strong enough will to withstand the “slings and arrows” the world throws at you.

So, say that you have an unsupportive family and they never say anything kind or pleasant when good things happen for you. Rather, they ignore you or degrade your achievement.

You can do a couple of things here: you can identify with them, ie, mirror them and diminish your joy and excitement.

You can resentfully dismiss them and say ‘The hell with you!’ and ignore their painful lack of support.

Or you can stand in the midst of whatever they are saying or doing and inside your head think something like, ‘This thing that happened was terrific! I’m terrific! And I don’t care what you think.’

And not only do you not care—or you care so little for what they are saying, that you can’t even be bothered to resent them. You see them for what they are: unsupportive. And you accept that.

While at the same time, you lift yourself up by holding onto your excitement and your good feelings about yourself.

No matter what, you do not let their words or actions diminish you.

And in this way, you instill in yourself an unshakable sense of self-worth, confidence, and appreciation for who you are.

That’s how we can overcome the shortcomings, lack of mirroring/attunement, of those around us; those whose positive presence and regard was meant to uplift us and help us create our sense of self but who were unable to be that for us.

We each have been given will. Use it.

Use it to make yourself into the person you want to be. No matter what.

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