When I was a child I used to get teased mercilessly. I was short, very skinny, and had teeth way too big for my mouth. When I was about 8 years old I developed double pneumonia and became extraordinarily ill. So ill in fact, that I was in hospital for over a week and my parents were worried they’d lose me. Thankfully the hospital staff did a wonderful job, and were able to stave of the infection with a mighty amount of penicillin. Unfortunately, that mighty amount of penicillin had a very unwelcome side effect. My two front teeth developed a distinctive yellowy-brown stain. Needless to say this made an already awkward kid even more self-conscious, and the teasing increased tenfold. I was so self-conscious that I rarely smiled with my teeth showing, and to avoid looks I would stay quiet and keep to myself most of the time. It wasn’t until high school that I was finally able to get braces (also awkward, but better) and bleach the stains.
When I look back on this time in my life it was a really pivotal moment in my development. I lost a lot of confidence in myself from an early age, which I didn’t really regain until I reached my early twenties. Although in my early twenties I believe I really just learnt to mask my low self-esteem. I masked it so well, that I believed I had become a confident person. But just like any other mask, the cracks appear eventually.
Over the years these cracks showed up as unreasonably emotional responses to comments that were directed at me personally. A work colleague may have had an unfavourable opinion of me, and I would go home and cry and worry about it for days. If my partner and I were having a disagreement I would cry on the spot as soon as he said something critical of me. And so on. These incidents would then spiral me into periods of low self esteem and self loathing. I would hate myself for being the way I was, and I didn’t understand where these emotions were coming from.
Eventually I would pick myself up by wearing clothes that made me feel good and “faking it till I made it”. But these are only surface solutions that achieve surface results. Eventually the cracks will appear again, and the cycle continues on.
It was only recently that I did some healing work, and “little Melissa”, that shy, awkward little girl came forward. I remembered all the horrible times she had, and I felt unbelievably sorry for her. All I wanted to do was give her a hug and tell her she was perfect just the way she was. So I did.
I spoke to ‘little Melissa’, comforted her, and told her that it wasn’t her fault. It was never her fault, and that I loved her dearly.
From that moment on something changed in me. I was truly comfortable with who I was for the first time since I can remember. I felt light hearted and smiled when I looked at myself in the mirror. I realised that most of my confidence issues stemmed right back to 8 year old me. I had resented her for so long that it had never occurred to me that she needed me. By healing those very first hurts I could finally let go.
If you take one lesson from my story I hope that it’s this. Surface fixes achieve surface results. No matter what the issue, whether it be confidence or anger. Go back to those first events that shaped you forever and make peace with the ‘little person’ inside you. Your little person was only doing the best they could at the time with the information they had, and they’ve been paying for it ever since. Tell them you love them, tell them they’re perfect just the way they are, and watch the magic happen.
Your little person needs you.
Love and blessings,