We learn a lot from our parents. We learn that we should brush our teeth twice a day. We learn to say please and thank you. We learn how to tie our shoes. But, what if we didn't learn those things? What if the only shoes you could wear were velcro- and you are now thirty years old. The selection of velcro shoes might be slim pickens. They are less likely to come in the style you want or be geared for the activity you want. Imagine having to miss out on things as a result of not being able to have the shoes you need. It might be hard to not feel a little bit like something was missing. It might be hard not to feel like others 'got' something you didn't get. It might be hard not to at some point start to feel a little defective.
Imagine if instead of talking about shoes we were talking about an internal information system about yourself. We are all pretty familiar with what an external information system might be. That is what helps us hit the brakes when we hear a horn as we are moving through a parking lot. It's also what tells us to grab a raincoat when we feel drops of rain on our skin or see them out our window. Our external information system uses our senses to give us information about our external environment. We have an internal information system too. That tells you how to care for your emotional self.
Our parents are in part responsible for how this internal information system gets put together. As we move along developmentally we have an opportunity to 'tune in' more and more to our 'self' voice. That
tells us what we like and dislike. That tells us that when we are alone we experience sadness. That tells us when we run and play we feel joy. That tells us when someone hurts us we feel pain and that
pain tells us how close we want to be to that person. But, what if you weren't allowed to hear your 'self' voice? What if you were told you aren't lonely, or happy, or hurt?
If this happened, you likely learned that your 'self' voice can't be trusted, which means there is a short in your internal information system- in essence, a hole. People who were taught that they had a faulty internal information system look to others for their sense of worth. They are frequently over-achievers who strive for the hand claps of others to know they are okay or they are under-achievers who feel nothing will ever be good enough to change the hole.
The hole that's missing isn't your self-worth. That's innate. It's just given by right of birth. The hole that's missing is your emotional connection to that 'self' voice. The good news is that 'self' voice can be trusted. While it may take some time and some work learning to decipher it- listening for your internal information system can help you feel whole, not with a hole, and you can discover how to protect yourself from the emotional elements better. Now, where's my rain coat? It's starting to rain.