Early Influences on Self-Concept
1. Find a quiet place and time where you can be relaxed and free of distractions for 15-30 minutes. Start by breathing slowly and deeply, eyes closed. Think back to earlier times in your life when you were a young child, when you were a teenager, and even at an earlier time in your adult life.
2. Try to identify people in your life who were important influences on you and important in shaping how you feel about yourself, how you perceive yourself in relation to other people, and how you perceive relationships with other people. These may be parents, grandparents, relatives, teachers, neighbors, friends, or your partner in a previous relationship(s).
3. For each individual you have identified, think of the positive and negative characteristics of that person, and list them, separately for each individual, as follows:
Person ..... Positive Traits ..... Negative Traits
4. Now, complete this sentence: What I wanted most as a child/teen and didn't get was...
5. Now complete this sentence: As a child/teen, I had these negative feelings over and over again...
Adapted from Harville Hendrix, Getting The Love You Want: A Guide for Couples. HarperCollins, 2001.