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.”

4 comments

  • Gwen
    Gwen
    Sabrina, I think your interpretations of your family's expressions of love is right on for many families. It has been going on for years where men worked outside of the home & women took care of the men & the home, etc. That was just the way it was in the '50's, '60's, '70's & less into the '80's & '90's. I also think men had a hand in promoting this belief - keep the little woman barefoot & pregnant, comes to mind, too! However, with the women's movement and especially, the economics of living, women are valued more & more as equal partners/people in life. This is good. We place much to much importance & emphasis on money & not enough on family and people. Life will never be perfect but we need to all make peace with our pasts so we can go on happily with the present & into the future. It's never too late to be happy but it's up to you and no one else! And, especially for you - when it comes to going after what you love in life, don't ever take no for an answer! I see you as a strong woman who will succeed at whatever she does. Take care, good luck & we miss you!!

    Sabrina, I think your interpretations of your family's expressions of love is right on for many families. It has been going on for years where men worked outside of the home & women took care of the men & the home, etc. That was just the way it was in the '50's, '60's, '70's & less into the '80's & '90's. I also think men had a hand in promoting this belief - keep the little woman barefoot & pregnant, comes to mind, too! However, with the women's movement and especially, the economics of living, women are valued more & more as equal partners/people in life. This is good. We place much to much importance & emphasis on money & not enough on family and people. Life will never be perfect but we need to all make peace with our pasts so we can go on happily with the present & into the future. It's never too late to be happy but it's up to you and no one else! And, especially for you - when it comes to going after what you love in life, don't ever take no for an answer! I see you as a strong woman who will succeed at whatever she does. Take care, good luck & we miss you!!

  • Jo-Anne
    Jo-Anne
    Thank you Sabrina for sharing & helping to realize that none of us were alone with our ideals as children growing up. Many of us are not brave enough to write it down, truthfully and honestly. Wonderful words :)

    Thank you Sabrina for sharing & helping to realize that none of us were alone with our ideals as children growing up. Many of us are not brave enough to write it down, truthfully and honestly. Wonderful words smile

  • Gayle Jones Moore
    Gayle Jones Moore
    Sabrina.....a girl who can sing, and writes wonderfully! I have read what you have written. Most of what you have written is me....still trapped in that man? women difference...still wondering why we are retired and hubby sits on the couch and I am still in the kitchen and still hate it and don't know how to change it but I am trying. It is causing pain and frustration in my house because I am slowly going on strike! I remember being a little girl and feeling just as you did...the difference? I could never express it as well, and articulate it as you have! If you write a book I will buy it! I remember when you were a little girl! Beautiful and smart and bright and the sunshine in your parents world! You were and are lovely and smart and it is a pleasure to watch you just keep on evolving! Great job Sabrina!

    Sabrina.....a girl who can sing, and writes wonderfully!

    I have read what you have written. Most of what you have written is me....still trapped in that man? women difference...still wondering why we are retired and hubby sits on the couch and I am still in the kitchen and still hate it and don't know how to change it but I am trying. It is causing pain and frustration in my house because I am slowly going on strike!

    I remember being a little girl and feeling just as you did...the difference? I could never express it as well, and articulate it as you have! If you write a book I will buy it!

    I remember when you were a little girl! Beautiful and smart and bright and the sunshine in your parents world! You were and are lovely and smart and it is a pleasure to watch you just keep on evolving! Great job Sabrina!

  • Mpho
    Mpho
    Posted on My mother had an aiffar with a co-worker when I was 11 and she and my father had been married for 16 years. They got through it and are still together but I remember when my father moved out of the house for a while. I thought it was so unfair that she cheated but that he had to move out. It was so hurtful and embarrassing for him. We're not a family that talks a lot about our emotions I imagine this must still hurt him though.

    Posted on My mother had an aiffar with a co-worker when I was 11 and she and my father had been married for 16 years. They got through it and are still together but I remember when my father moved out of the house for a while. I thought it was so unfair that she cheated but that he had to move out. It was so hurtful and embarrassing for him. We're not a family that talks a lot about our emotions I imagine this must still hurt him though.

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