For example, one who's opened himself up to love is betrayed and never trusts anyone else completely. His guard is always up lest he be fooled again, and he never allows anyone to get close.
One whose father has left blames herself and thinks that she wasn't good enough for him to stick around.
If only she'd been smarter or prettier. She becomes a people pleaser, always fearing that she'll be abandoned if she says no.
Another young child draws a picture that she's proud of and shows her parent, only to be ignored or laughed at. She never attempts to draw again.
Look back into your history and find those defining moments that resulted in your self-limiting labels. You most likely will still have a significant emotional charge when you think about these moments. When similar things happen today, it might trigger those unresolved emotions and reinforce your label.
This is who or what you think you are.
Of course, if you were consistently encouraged, accepted and loved unconditionally, your self-image would most likely be positive.
For those of us who weren't, there is good news: Those defining moments can be neutralized and released so they limit you no more.
There are a wide number of therapies that can assist you in leaving that negative self-image in the past, and you can be at peace and comfortable in your skin.
JANET BERG is in private practice in Mason and does individual sessions and corporate/group workshops on EFT, Reiki and more. Contact her via www.janetberg.com.