“Give me a child until he is 7 and I will show you the man.” Aristotle
Let’s get honest about negative emotions. We’ve all had them and in many cases, we are all still having them. We all have had reactions to experiences we didn’t like. Look at how children react when they are not getting what they want. They’re crying usually because it’s their way of communicating that they are not happy. When babies grow up the crying changes to screaming, then from screaming to yelling and they oscillate between crying, screaming and yelling. All reactions to their circumstances that they deem negative.
The crying, screaming and yelling are learned behaviours because babies know that this is the way they get attention. Depending on parenting skills and a few life determinants the child then learns to speak and so then they can explain why they are not happy.
Determinants are the experiences you have had that have moulded you into the person you are. Your attitudes and perceptions and who you identify as comes from your environment which includes your home, your parents, siblings, clothes, the food you were served, school and town. All of these influences determine your choices to how you navigate life. Understanding this fully, you can get a handle on why you have turned out the way you have. This is an important step in transforming you from the old you and becoming what you want to be.
The saying the sins of the father, and the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree refers to the traits picked up by the child that was similar to the parents. The parents learned from their parents, and we go back and back into our ancestry, or lineage of similar traits. You may think you verbally taught your child how to act and learn, but they actually learned from what you did and not usually from what you told them to do. This is why reflection is so important. The child will mirror the behaviour of their parent or guardian.
Even though their own personality comes out, there is still particular traits of the child that are directly related to the actions of the parent. This becomes apparent usually once the child is a mature adult. Cause let’s face it, we all say we are nothing like our parents, especially the parts we don’t like. Then we eventually realize we do similar things when we’re older. Humble pie time.
As adults, we can see how the emotional support we received as children has not been as desirable as we’d have liked. From grade school to college we’ve already run through many situations where our emotions and feelings were tested in major ways. Were we up to the task of coping? Did we have the skills needed to endure bullying, humiliation, a few bloody noses, hair pulling and name-calling? Did you ever hear the bell ring for home time and say: I mastered another day? Most likely it was an endurance test.
All of these experiences are part of life and it’s very likely these incidences create imprints that will stay with you for many lifetimes ahead. The question to ask now is, having lived through all of this and survived, what sort of an adult have you become? What did you learn? What characters did you create to cope with that period of your life? Are you still coming to terms with how to handle these experiences?
Through your formative years, if you did not learn how to be confident and assertive, kind and gentle, humble and brave, you are likely struggling to be a happy and balanced adult now. It’s more likely you are dealing with aggression, depression, anxiety, selfishness and a strong desire for self-protection because of lack of trust.
At this point of self-reflection where you realize you are not the fabulous human being you were born to be, it is an easy out to blame your parents. In fact, most people do this. Let’s face it, we have copied them and been influenced by them so of course, it must be their fault. Remember the sins of the father – they are doing what they were taught and back and back it goes.
It’s likely at some point in your self-realization journey you will come to understand why your life turned out the way it has. Meaning your parental influence is understood and you forgive them through a level of acceptance of how you got to be the way you are. This is a big step to take and is the first of taking ownership and being responsible for your own life from now on.
However, what we don’t see is our behaviour and the characters we formed still playing out. These traits have formed part of our subconscious behaviour. Example, at work the boss is acting like a bully and being too aggressive with his demands. The only way you knew to behave when someone was aggressive was to act as a church mouse and do what you were told. You are still not able to rise up and speak assertively and say that you don’t wish to be spoken to that way. You may not have been taught how to defend yourself or align to actions that result in you not being respected. So your work life becomes as miserable as your difficult childhood, but you keep doing it to pay the rent.
There are many reactive behaviours that we hang onto without realizing. I used to be very jumpy and get a fright easily when I was startled. If something was dropped on the ground and made a loud nice I would gasp in fright. I did this many times in many situations. I was not in danger in any of these situations but I got a fright nonetheless. When I finally caught myself doing it and asked why am I startled, why am I gasping at these things? This is when I was able to see the learned mannerism from childhood traumas. I was then able to stop it because I could see I was not in danger, I was reacting to noises that reminded me of the past.
Another example which is very common is the inability to receive compliments. If your upbringing was such that you were not treated well and nothing you did pleased anyone, in your experience, it is likely you felt like you didn’t matter. This results in beliefs that nobody cares about you, nobody values you and you end up with low self-esteem. Someone comes along and gives you a compliment about the clothes you are wearing and you don’t know what to do with it. You’re uncomfortable and coy and feel like an idiot. Or you did a great job at work and you earn an award for achievements, there is a presentation on Friday in front of all your work colleagues, your face goes red and you feel like squirming away from all the attention.
You may have a fabulous professional character who is valued by the corporation because you are efficient and responsible and reliable. You will always be an asset at work, liked and valued, yet you are terrible at social occasions. You live alone and find it hard to make friends. You learn to love work because it’s where you feel useful and things work. But you are likely to never find a partner because your social life sucks.
Hmmm. I didn’t want to leave this article on a downer but sometimes it is worth sitting with reality for a while so you can get a clear picture of your creative coping mechanisms. There are ways to overcome our shitty childhoods where you don’t create yet another coping mechanism which will mask the past. It is true that difficult experiences make you toughen up. However, they can also send you spiralling into depression and anxiety and a refusal to trust anyone with your sensitive soul ever again. If you are not able to sort yourself out in a balanced way then you end up unbalanced. Seeing the world situation at the moment you can see how collectively unbalanced we have become.
There are those among us who are able to successfully leave their past behind and move into self- empowerment. Sadly, there are those of us who struggle to do this because the past has not been resolved. How can one understand caring if they have not felt cared for? How can one be happy if one has not known happiness? How can one be loved when one has not experienced what it is to be loved?
There are many who cannot stay in a meditation space long enough to gain any benefits because the discomfort is too much. If this is happening to you it is a clear sign that you need to source and get clarity of your past wounds and let them go so you have a chance of being at peace with yourself. As the adult, you are now in charge of your life and you can make choices to change so the past no longer controls your future.
Part 5 will cover the significance of not carrying the weight of past wounds into your future. This will show why getting a resolution to your past helps you move into a life worth living instead of a life of enduring and struggle.
I have created the Essar Program to work with you one on one to assist with overcoming your fallen ego. Do you know who you are becoming? The focus of the program is on self-awareness and awakening at a deep level. You will be guided toward changing your perspective and identity so you can move toward your higher Ego. Awareness entails seeing where your challenges are in life, your difficulties, and your struggles. As well as dismantling what no longer works for you, together we will reveal the true essence of who you are. The strengths you have will be highlighted and brought out in real terms in a practical way to help you navigate more confidently in the world. Do you know who you are when you are at your best? What would life be like if your happy moments happened more often?
Essar is an angelic presence who is on this journey with me. Together we will guide you to finding your true self to make your life better? Contact me for further details.