Studies show that every child comes into the world without self-concept. Every concept we have of who we are, we had to learn while we were growing up. When a child is born, he has an extraordinary high needs for love and touching. A child learns whether or not he is lovable or worthwhile or intelligent or talented by the way he is treated by his parents.

Psychologists believe that children need a constant, continuous flow of high-quality love in order to develop healthy personalities. Children who do not receive high-quality love in the first three to five years will develop deficiency needs. For the rest of their lives, they will try to compensate for their deficiencies rather than realize their potential.

It is believed that a child comes into the world with only two fears. One is the fear of falling; the other the fear of loud noises. All other fears had to be taught to us as children. “Children are totally unafraid of trying anything.” We are born totally spontaneous and uninhabited. Our natural state is to be completely unafraid and completely uninhabited in our relationship with ourselves and with other people.

In the formative years, research further indicates, children learn in two ways. The first way they learn is by imitation, usually of one or both parents. Many of our adult habit patterns and characteristics come from straight imitation of one of our parents in our formative years. The other way children learn in the formative years is by moving from discomfort toward comfort. “Of all the discomfort a child can suffer, the most traumatic is the withdrawal or the threat of the withdrawal of love and approval by the parent. That threat causes psychic trauma and deep psychological scars that create deficiencies that adults spend the rest of their lives trying to compensate for.”

Very early in life, children learn inhibitive habit patterns characterized by words “I cannot, I cannot.” These patterns are formed when children are subjected to punishment and told over and over. “Don’t,” “Get away from there,” “Stop that,” “Leave it alone,” “Put that down,” “Don’t touch that.”

Later in life, when the child or adult is asked to do something that entails risk or involvement or trying something new or different, the instinctive reaction is “I can’t, I can’t.” The inhibitive negative pattern habit pattern leads early in life to the fear of failure; which, Tracy believes, is the greatest single obstacle to success in adult life.

The compulsive negative habit pattern is characterized by the words “I have to, I have to” and is learned when the child is made the recipient, or the victim of conditional love. Conditional love occurs when parents make it clear to the child that he is not loved in and of himself, but only when he does what the parent approves of. “This compulsive negative habit pattern leads early in life to the fear of rejection, which is demonstrated or manifested in adult life by a preoccupation or obsession with what other people think.”

There is a tremendous difference in functions between the conscious and subconscious minds. The role of the conscious mind in to take in information and analyze that information to decide whether some action should be taken. The conscious mind is always making a decision that is either yes or no. whenever the conscious mind says yes to a piece of incoming information, the subconscious accepts it instantly and reacts instantaneously.

The key to success is to take full control of the conscious mind, keep it totally on what we want to accomplish. The role of the subconscious mind is to make sure that we always think, believe, and perform in a manner consistent with the information that we have accepted as true in the conscious mind.

The acceptance of total responsibility for our lives is the chief hallmark of mature human beings. The acceptance of responsibility means that from then on life, we have no more excuses. There is a direct relationship between accepting high levels of responsibility, experiencing positive emotions, and the feeling of personal freedom.

All negative emotions are ultimately manifested as anger either inwardly directed or outwardly expressed. Our negative emotions are within us, the negative emotions we experience are our reactions to situations, and are not contained in the situations themselves.

We cannot suffer negative emotions unless we can justify ourselves that we are entitled to them and unless we identify with them personally. We experience negative emotions when we blame someone or something else for a situation that we find unsatisfactory. The instant we stop blaming, our negative emotions stop.

The average person starts off in life with very few negative emotions. As he goes through life, negative emotions begin to accumulate like souvenirs. It is impossible for us to realize our full potential unless we leave our negative emotions behind.

Tracy opines that negative emotions begin very early in life as a result of two factors. The first of these factors is destructive criticism. Destructive criticism inflicted on a child prior to the age of six has an indelible effect on the child’s subconscious. The subconscious stores the criticism and begins to make all the words and actions of the child in the subsequent years fit a pattern consistent with the negative impression.

The second cause of negative emotions is lack of love. For a child to grow up feeling truly loved, Tracy suggests that three conditions are necessary. First, the parents must love themselves. It is not possible for a parent to love a child any more that the parent loves himself or herself. The second requirement is that parents must love each other. Children, who are brought up in environments where the parents do not love each other, grow up not understanding what it is to be part of an adult loving relationship. A third requirement for a child to feel really loved is that the parents must love the child.

If the child grows up the victim of destructive criticism as well as a lack of love, he begins to feel, deep down, that he has done something fundamentally wrong. These feelings of guilt then begin to grow and to permeate the child’s personality and flow into adult life. “Guilt is one of the worst of all negative emotions. Guilt is the cause of more insecurity, more negative feelings, more failed marriages, failed relationships, and ruined personal ties than anything else.”

A person who has been brought up with feelings of guilt feels inferior, inadequate, and undeserving, especially of good things. Another adult manifestation of guilt is that the individual engages in destructive self-criticism and criticism of others. A third manifestation of guilt is being easily manipulated by others. A fourth characteristic of individuals who have been brought up feeling guilty is that they are continually trying to make other people feel guilty. A fifth characteristic is that the person who has been brought up feeling guilty uses victim language.”

If we have been raised with this destructive negative emotion, Tracy professes several things we can do to eliminate guilt from our feelings and from our lives. The first thing we can do is to stop destructive self-criticism. Never criticize yourself for anything, and never allow anybody to say anything about you that is destructive or negative. The second step is ridding ourselves of feelings of guilt that have arisen since early childhood is to refuse to be manipulated by others. The third step to eliminating feelings of guilt is to refuse to use guilt or blame with anyone. The fourth and perhaps the most important of all, is to forgive.

The only way we can realize our full potential is to learn to forgive and forgive readily: our parents, everybody else, and ourselves. And if we have wronged anyone else that causes us the feeling of uneasiness, we should be humble enough to offer an apology.


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