Limitations Part One: The Looking Glass Self

Chapter one of “Wishes Fulfilled” talks about changing how I see myself and what beliefs and limitations I hold that limit my own wishes being fulfilled.  I'll explore this concept further as I get deeper in this book I’m sure but for today I’m going to start to explore my own limiting belief systems.  I am a university grad – yay for me – and I was lucky enough to study sociology as a major so I am plenty aware of how the world around us programs us to live what Wayne Dyer calls ‘an ordinary life.’  As a female who was raised in a certain place in a certain era in a certain class, my sense of what it means to be a woman in society was programmed by my environment. 

For example, I grew up believing that I was ugly and not very smart.  I don’t know exactly where these beliefs came from and I’m certainly not here to point fingers and cast blame.  Besides, overcoming the programmed limitations have really helped me grow as a person so I am grateful for them all.  Anyway, I remember being in elementary school feeling lesser than everyone else.  I often felt invisible. I think that I was born boy crazy, as my mom called it,  and just had to have their attention at all times so not being popular was very hard on my sense of self. I seemed to, at an early age, need outside validation to feel loved.  Now I know that what I needed was to learn to love and accept myself and to know that people’s reactions to me had more to do with my own feelings of worth than their current feelings about me.

This reminds me of Cooley’s concept “The Looking Glass Self.”  What he claims is that we gage how we see ourselves through how we interpret how others see us. It’s quite profound now that I think about it.  Hmmm… I’m going to leave this point for now, but it’s very exciting to me.

Another belief that I had was that men were more valuable than women.  My home as a child was very traditional.  My mom and dad both worked.  My mom mostly worked part-time, but she would do all the housework, yardwork, childcare and cooking.  My dad would work.  He did work very hard but so did my mom, but when he got home, he could relax in front of the TV while my mom kept working.  I thought that the entire world was like this and that women were merely servants.  This did feed into my sexuality but I’ll get into that later.  Sigh…

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that this is terrible and that my parents messed me up. To the contrary, I am grateful for being part of this incredible life lesson.  My mom’s expression of love to my father and us kids was to take care of us, to nurture us, in her unique way.  My dad’s expression of love was to work and make enough money for the family to live comfortably. Both are necessary and create a beautiful reciprocity, a circle of giving.   I see that now, but at the time what I saw was that my mom did all the lame jobs, waited on my dad, and my dad worked outside the home – cool job. I saw that my dad made money and my mom didn’t.  What I interpreted from this was that women and ‘women’s work’ were less valuable than men and ‘men’s work’ and, therefore, I was less valuable in the world.  I thought that this was the way that life was.  I still battle with this thought sometimes in my own life. 

So, my intention for today is to really focus on feeling loved and valuable and being loving in my own unique way.  I am going to focus on feeling grateful for having such wonderful parents who took care of me because they loved me so much.  I’m going to focus on my own acts of exchanging love and caretaking. 

My affirmation for today: “I love and approve of myself and I exchange love freely.   I am limitless and am one with everyone and everything.  I am love.”