Some childhood experiences can haunt us in our adult life; what should be our take?
I have heard my friend share this concern of his with me in the past, quite a few times. I was also clueless as to how to help him or what could be the possible solution for it. Many times, in the past I also felt he was only seeking solace and not solution. But this time it was different. It made me think about the ‘why’ behind his worry.
For reasons unknown, he feels insecure that his wife might give birth to a special child, while there was no such family history associated with him.
When I started investing more time with him, started interacting with his family and people at home, I understood that his father is his icon in life. Obsession with perfection is what has made his father who he is and helped him in creating all the success in his life. This quality is so ingrained in my friend, that in anything he does, more than wanting to excel, he seeks perfection and takes undue pressure on himself and others to achieve it.
The same quality is also causing the uncertainty and fear in him about ‘what if’ the child isn’t perfect according to his definition (or his father’s definition) of perfection? This thought of compromise is what rattles him the most and stops him from taking a decision.
Sometimes we aren’t aware that the demands on us from our childhood are the ones to influence our adult decision making. Because of the strong pull for perfection from his childhood, he was churned for reasons he couldn’t understand. Childbirth being dependent on factors much beyond his comprehension, puts him at risk of failing in the eyes of his perfectionist father. This feeling of possible failure, being inadequate and disappointing to a parent had stopped him from taking a decision.
I realised, if he can be made to understand the difference between striving to excel and not valuing things unless they are perfect, he will move away from fear and indecisiveness and become ready to receive the gift of God.
The emotional pull from our past though seemingly invisible, when we feel confused with conflicting thoughts, is more powerful than logic and reasoning of our mind in the present moment.
Having said this, here is also an opportunity to consciously turn the focus of this childhood association from negative to positive. Am sure each of us have our own times and places when we felt absolutely secure as a child. Those people or places or things leave a deep impression in us creating an association with those, further leading to a feeling of the same security whenever we get in touch with them.
This could also be something as simple as irresistible delicacies like a bar of chocolate or a sweet that generations can identify, a swing in the backyard or the smell of a soap that you enjoyed in childhood or the tangy tasting stick ice outside the school… Anything that connect memories with.
If we can recall and get hold of most of our positive associations from our childhood, then we can consciously recall them and start creating more of positive assertions within.
Many of us still fall asleep or feel deeply relaxed by listening to a particular song because this could have been the song that instilled the confidence and a sense of security in us in our childhood.
So, the key is in turning the focus and becoming aware of our childhood associations which are positive and repeat it in our minds again and again. This would recreate the beautiful experience in one’s mind and the association with the positive feeling would get deepened through this. Holding on to the sensory triggers like happy photos or creating the specific aroma or visiting those places will go a long way in recreating those beautiful moments.
Without this awareness, much of our adult life will be dedicated in repeating our not-so-good childhood patches on an attempt to repair our deep childhood hurts and longings. We may reduce ourselves to believe neither us nor life has the capacity to change anything of us, not realizing we still have the power of choices to create a life of our dreams.
What are you waiting for? Stop reading for a moment. Close your eyes. Go back to a wonder-filled moment from your childhood. Re-create this in your mind by involving all your senses – What you saw, what you heard, what you smelt… Deepen the positive feeling and see the magic this past experience can create in you.