I talk a lot about early childhood programming and how a child’s consistent experiences form subconscious belief systems that then silently guide them throughout life. There’s always a big focus on how our actions as parents, practitioners and teachers impact children, but what about our own childhood programming and how that is now impacting us?
How we consistently felt as children, the messages that were given to us by the actions and words of those around us and any major incidents that we went through will have likely created beliefs within us that now subconsciously impact our actions, reactions and decisions. If we grew up feeling valued and empowered, there’s a good chance that we will look at the world through a lens influenced by this belief and feel (more often than not) this way. However, if we grew up feeling like we weren’t good enough or unimportant, we will most likely view the world and ourselves in the same light or find ourselves in situations that reaffirm this belief.
I always give the example of two people seeing a larger than life character who is dominating the room. One person might think they are inspirational and admire how they are commanding their audience. However, the other person might think they are ‘too big for their boots’ and be convinced that they were looking down their nose at them. Both people entered the same room but viewed it through a completely different lens.
Neuroscientists have done studies showing that up to 95% of what we do is completely subconscious. This means that most of the time we are on autopilot with our subconscious mind in the driving seat. One of its main jobs is also to keep us ‘safe’. Now, safe to you and me would be to make good decisions, to react well and to surround ourselves with good people. However, ‘safe’ to our subconscious mind means keeping us in alignment with our beliefs no matter if they are good or bad. If we have a belief that we are ‘not good enough’, it is more than likely that the world around us will reflect this. We might be surrounded by critical people or feel that others look down their nose at us. Either way, what we experience will probably link to this belief in some way, shape or form because that is what we are programmed to see or feel.
Although what we experience is our truth, it is also important to realise that it is not necessarily the actual truth or the truth of others because we are all seeing the world through our own unique lens. It’s like one person saying that 5 + 5 = 10 and being adamant that they are right. However, another person argues that they are wrong because 6 + 4 = 10. Both are correct, each of them is just seeing it from a different perspective. Just because we are right does not mean
Beliefs are created over time. However, two people who experience the same circumstances might react differently to the same belief. People who were put down a lot as children might get the belief that they are not good enough. However, one person might learn that they have to do as they are told and to acquiesce in order to get by, yet another person might learn that they have to be a bully in order to be heard. In my experience, in adulthood, we either mirror the main influencers that were in our life as children, or we rebel against them.
If we grew up feeling less than we might make a vow to never make anyone else feel that way and therefore conduct ourselves with kindness at all times. However, someone else might mirror what they experienced and become forceful and brash in a subconscious attempt to be someone powerful and significant. Either way, it’s important to try to understand our inner programming and to gain an understanding of how this can impact us as a parent, practitioner or teacher.
If we have a belief that we are ‘not good enough’, it is more than likely that the world around us will reflect this.
- Struggle to assert ourselves and set boundaries because we subconsciously don’t want to see children feeling sad
- Struggle to allow children to fail because we subconsciously don’t want them to feel like they aren’t good enough
- Struggle to follow through with consequences because we don’t want to make children feel bad
- Struggle to accept criticism of any kind because it hooks into this inner feeling of not being good enough
- Have a default setting that makes us feel that people don’t like us or judge us in some way
- Doubt ourselves a lot
- Put ourselves down
About the author
Stacey Kelly is a former teacher, a parent to 2 beautiful babies and the founder of Early Years Story Box, which is a subscription website providing children’s storybooks and early years resources. She is passionate about building children’s imagination, creativity and self-belief and about creating awareness of the impact that the Early Years have on a child’s future. Stacey loves her role as a writer, illustrator and public speaker and believes in the power of personal development. She is also on a mission to empower children to live a life full of happiness and fulfilment, which is why she launched the #ThankYouOaky Gratitude Movement.
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