Are You Full of Garbage Messages or Flower Messages?

What messages do you send to others? What messages do others give to you? What about the messages you tell yourself in your own head? Are these messages promoting self-growth or self-destruction?

Imagine yourself as a large basket given to you at birth. During your early years, you collect information from the world around you that gives you energy, hope, skills, desire, and good feelings about yourself. These are called "Flower Messages". These are positive messages that make people feel better about themselves. For example, "I'm really proud of you today". This 'flower message' gives someone a feeling that they are good and contributed in a good way to someone around them.

You also collect messages that make you feel inadequate, small, guilty, and afraid. These are called "Garbage Messages". These messages make us feel bad and unloved. For example, "Don't say anything if you can't say something nice." Although this concept is thoughtful and helps people filter through how to communicate to others, it also teaches someone to hide their true feelings and avoid all conflict. This garbage message causes someone to not be real with something that is upsetting or uncomfortable, and it also tells them it isn't ok to have boundaries with someone. Remember when you do have something negative to say to do so in a constructive way that expresses your feeling and your need. This will help the other person hear you better.

All week we will be sharing more flower messages and garbage messages with you. Pay attention to how you are filling others baskets around you. You might realize you are carrying around more garbage in your basket than flowers. If so, it's time to make a change! Keep reading tomorrow for more!

Written by Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC

Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Teri enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Teri also does family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.