“Our most negative self-talk hides our most precious gifts,” says Lisette Schuitemaker, author of The Childhood Conclusions Fix. In this easy read she provides insight into how we can turn persistent restrictive self-talk around so we can shine in the gifts that lie on the other side of it.
Many complementary therapists, healers and coaches use early psychiatrist Wilhelm
Reich’s model of the five ways in which we protect our gifts, yet this theory never made it into a university curriculum. Lisette Schuitemaker learned about Reich’s work at the Barbara Brennan School of Healing in the US where she obtained a BSc. “I would actually have appreciated being given this insightful approach when I was young. I’ve always wondered why we learn the grammar of our mother tongue but not the one of the unconscious choices we make when we are little. It would have saved my friends and me years of speculating about ourselves and our unique gifts. I think Self-knowledge ought to be a subject taught in high school and Reich’s theory should be part of it.”
She first wrote her book about this revealing theory in Dutch, her own native language. Last year she updated it for the English version which was published by Findhorn Press. Seeking a kinder term than the forbidding ‘character defence structures’ coined by Reich’s students, Schuitemaker aptly coined the expression ‘childhood conclusions’. In doing so she subtly changed the psychiatrist’s defensive point of view into a positive and constructive outlook that can benefit everyone.
“We all come into this world bearing gifts,” she writes in the preface. “We are born with
innate capacities to be original, generous, creative, courageous and authentic. However, offering our treasures to the people around us is not without risk. We may be shunned or misunderstood and end up feeling rejected. As babies, tots and young children, we instinctively understand that we need the grown-ups in our lives to cherish us so they will keep us fed, clothed, warm and healthy. When we feel we have acted in a way that jeopardises our safety, we jump to big conclusions about ourselves and how we ought to be. The effects are huge as these childhood conclusions in turn give rise to endless self-talk on how we should be different than we are. This is how we begin to hide our essential gifts from the world – and eventually even from ourselves.”
In the order in which we jump to them, the five basic childhood conclusions are that we don’t belong, are not good enough, should keep our creativity hidden, should be in
control and be perfect. Through the course of our young life, inevitably we draw more
than one of these conclusions. Schuitemaker’s book is helpful in learning to identify the specific self-talk generated by each of the early life conclusions and turning it around. It also provides deeper understanding of our own reactions and those of others. Realising what causes family, friends and colleagues to react the way they do, helps in being able to respond with more clemency to previously incomprehensible ways they behave. Parents will appreciate the insights into the unavoidable conclusions of their offspring. Lisette Schuitemaker started, ran and sold her own communications agency before becoming a healer, life-coach and author. Having served on boards of several charities, she is the current chair of the Findhorn Foundation for everyday spirituality in Scotland. Drawing on her own life and professional experiences as well as on contemporary books, movies, talks and interviews, Schuitemaker gives clear descriptions of how it is to grow up with the childhood conclusions. She provides a way to turn habitual negative
self-talk around so our gifts can come to the fore.
Taking the test
Finding out which childhood conclusions you have predominantly drawn, you might like to take the test here. Go through the 25 questions quickly and intuitively rather than by thinking about each of the statements. Click the button at the bottom and the results will give you an impression of how each of the childhood conclusions operates in your life.
About the author: Lisette Schuitemaker founded, ran and sold a communications company before becoming a healer, life coach and personal development author. She studied the work of Wilhelm Reich as part of obtaining her BSc in Brennan Healing Science. She is the co-author of “The Eldest Daughter Effect”. Lisette lives and works in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
For more information see Schuitemaker’s website.