Rewinding Our Mental Tapes

When I was a girl, my mom used to tease me that I was going to wear out the REWIND button on my stereo.  I couldn’t get enough of my favorite songs like Elvis Presley’s Burning Love and Elton John’s Crocodile Rock.  Instead of listening to the whole cassette tape and just enjoying my favorite song each time it came around, I’d keep rewinding the tape and playing it over and over again, sometimes ten or twelve times in a row!


Unfortunately, these weren’t the only tapes I was in the habit of rewinding and replaying over and over.  I also had mental tapes that I replayed… tapes that reminded me of all my negative attributes… tapes that brainwashed me into believing things like:

*  I’m unworthy of living.

*  No one wants to be around me because I’m ugly.

*  I don’t deserve a man’s love.


As a mature adult woman, I now recognize these thoughts as complete lies that robbed me of my confidence for too many years.  However, when I was younger, I couldn’t always discern between the truth and a lie, and I usually found the lies much easier to believe.  I think most women do something similar – we latch on to random lies about who we are, and we allow these lies to negatively affect our self-esteem and rob us of our confidence in life.  And does that impact our sexual confidence?  You bet it does.


It is often helpful to trace certain lies back to their origin so we can recognize where they came from and how they got started in our minds.  Then it is easier to realize their falsehood and re-record new mental tapes – tapes that reflect the truth about who we really are. 


Perhaps you never made the connection between the negative messages embedded into your brain as a child and the inhibition you feel in the bedroom as a grown woman. Indeed, our sexuality is shaped by the world we live in, but more importantly, by the home, we grew up in.


Our fathers communicated to us through words and actions (or lack thereof) whether or not we are worthy of the time, attention, and affections of a man.  Our mothers communicated to us how we are supposed to behave and interact as women of worth and value.  But so often that baton of confidence never gets passed.  Why?  Because parents can’t give what they don’t have.  If their emotional tank was empty, you probably felt rather empty as well.   


These childhood feelings of worthiness or worthlessness spill over into our marriage and family relationships. We often expect our husbands to fill the cavernous void left by an emotionally unavailable father, or we look to our daughters for the connection and fellowship we missed out on with our mothers, sometimes smothering her in the process.  Rather than grow impatient with everyone else for not satisfying your emotional needs, learn to satisfy them yourself.  As an adult woman, self-confidence can’t be bestowed upon you by anyone else.  It now has to come from within.  Learn to give yourself the gift of self-acceptance.  Give yourself the gift of unconditional love.  Laud attention and affection on yourself by treating yourself gently and with special care. 


Most importantly, rewind those old mental tapes.  Erase them if necessary, and record new affirming messages that you deserve to live, love, be loved, and to be happy with yourself.


by Shannon Ethridge. Copyright 2008.  All Rights Reserved. Published by Random House Inc, New York, NY. Used by Permission. Not to be copied without Publisher’s prior written approval.