As humans, we love to share our stories. We share stories about our past, our current life situations and what we hope for our future. We identify with the stories and chapters of our lifetime - it’s how we make sense of our lives. It’s who we think we are. The stories about our past, especially our childhoods, can have a significant effect on how we show up in our current lives. The life experiences from our childhoods, both positive and negative, can influence our adult life perspectives, our self-worth and overall emotional, mental and spiritual health. Research has proven that negative, traumatic and stressful childhood experiences may have lifelong implications that can interfere with adult functioning. In fact, psychotherapists today are often more interested in asking their patients, "What happened to you?” Instead of “What’s wrong with you?” We recycle and re-traumatize ourselves with the negative feelings attached to our stories any time we share or remember our childhood events and experiences, whether it’s conscious or subconscious.
We have a choice of being empowered and learning from our past hurts, or continue to focus on the negative, blaming others and remaining in pain. So, are you someone who’s tired of dragging around your old childhood baggage? Do you find that when you tell stories about your childhood or just remember them in your mind, you replay a sad list of grievances that keep you burdened, disappointed and angry? Is the younger version of You interfering with your happiness? There’s good news! You are not stuck. While the facts or events of your childhood experiences cannot be changed, you can shift how you perceive them and release your pain. You can choose to unpack, rewrite and begin to heal any “childhood baggage” by re-creating new perspectives on how you share and interpret your personal story.
Start by following these 3 steps:
Leave behind the shoulds, the expectations, and the Hollywood Version of what your childhood was supposed to be like. All of us make assumptions on some level, about the experiences we thought we would have had with our parents and our families. We may have had specific expectations about the roles each family member was supposed to play. Maybe there was a TV family you fell in love with and craved for your own? This kind of thinking can lead to disappointment. Consider reframing the expectations you had of those in your childhood who you feel have hurt you. Soften your heart by shifting your perspective and believing that everyone did the best they could with what they had… (everyone’s “best” looks different….including yours).
The opportunities to heal by looking at the lessons you’ve learned from your childhood experiences that can empower you and expand your personal growth . How did it make you stronger? What did it teach you about acceptance, forgiveness and re-negotiation? Focus on what’s good in your life and what you are grateful for instead of what you think went wrong in the past. How can you help others because of your childhood ?
The past is over and the only thing you can change about it is your perspective. It’s all in the spin. Doing your best to make peace with your past childhood wounds allows you the ability to participate in the flow of life. It can help keep you engaged with the present and optimistic about your future.