Two Cookies with Love
When you’re a child, if you get two cookies with love, two cookies will always be enough. If you get two cookies without love, no amount of cookies will ever be enough (paraphrased).
Of course, the cookies are metaphorical for affirmation and nurturing. Our childhoods are formative years as this is the time we need validation the most. This period sets the stage for self-cohesion and a positive self-image. Inadequate nurturing and criticism leads to poor self-esteem and neediness.
It is important to note that our natural disposition (i.e. how we are hardwired) has some influence our self-esteem as some people need more affirmation than others. But even those with the most self-sufficient dispositions would have a hard time emerging from a heavily critical parent without some emotional dents to bang out as an adult.
So what do you do if you didn’t get your cookies with love? Rather than spending your life constantly chasing after more cookies, you have to find another source of validation. Some may find it by embracing their faith, for others it may be a long road of building confidence through progressively significant accomplishments. Some people can find healing through meeting the needs of others. Whatever works for you, the idea is that you lose the pattern of trying to feed an insatiable appetite for validation and progess to accepting a new positive image yourself that you help create.