Last time I touched upon the subject of childhood and the beliefs we form as little children. Beliefs that are very often unaligned with our truth and distorted by the immature minds we possess at very early age.
In this post I’ll strive to explain better what that means and how it happens. I draw my conclusions solely from my own experience and the realisations I’ve made during my journey of better understanding myself. My hope is that you will be able to find your own truth in what I have to say!
I’m sure some of you are familiar with the concept of inner child work and healing the wounded child within us. What it basically means is that every one of us is still hosting deep within the child we used to be. We grow up and forget nearly everything from our early years but it is never erased – it resides in us till our very end. Often this child has been hurt emotionally; even more often – the hurt was never intended or meant. Also, oftentimes the child’s interpretation is exaggeration or contortion of circumstances.
After pondering, reading and searching a lot, I came up to this simple explanation:
Very much of what we are like now and the way we behave is based on some decisions we’ve made about ourselves and others when we were young.
Not everything could be explained by our early childhood experiences. But if you’re finding yourself struggling with feelings of low self-worth, lack of self-respect and feeling that you’re not enough and/or loved, what you’re experiencing is general disconnection from your true self.
This lack of connection between who you think you are and who you truly are is the result of you designing a sort of veil in your mind as a young child – a web of thoughts and beliefs about who you are. And this web is woven simply by trying to understand and make sense of the world around you. And, as you can image, the mind of a 3,4,5 or 6 year old is not fully developed or equipped to interpret a complex array of interpersonal relations and the emotions hidden in between.
What I mean is that a young child cannot fully comprehend the different emotions and behaviours of the people around them. Very often complex situations are reduced to simple explanations in order for the young mind to make sense of it all. But here comes the lapse of the human mind in general – in order to put everything in order so it isn’t confused, the mind goes out of scope and makes up certain stories. Stories that are being incorporated in the way we think about us and others and regard the world around, and turned into our point of reference every time we experience something new. A vicious cycle is created.
Something that a very young mind came up with in order to become organised (in control) is fostered to later become our belief about the workings of the world. Misinterpreted messages fester into feelings of never being enough, never feeling fulfilled or satisfied.
By that time we are so entrenched into the veils of our minds that we’ve completely disconnected from our hearts. We’ve lost ourselves – never got in touch with who we truly are.
Even after years of life experience we still operate from an extremely basic level of understanding. We continue to re-live the beliefs we’ve formed at that very fragile age. Over and over again – a vicious cycle as I said. The worst is that we never get to feel true joy. We chase dreams and ideas only to feel utterly empty at the end. We’re confused, we feel alone and misunderstood, we’re hurting. Just like the little child you used to be. Only that, even with all the explanations we’ve designed, we still don’t know why we feel like this. Our minds fail us.
That’s when you stop trying to make sense of the world (you surrender) and you start looking into your emotions and feelings. You put your focus on your heart and little by little you start realising that who you think you are is a made-up character. It isn’t who you truly are. In fact, you don’t know who you truly are simply because you never got the chance to meet this part of yourself – your soul that resides in your heart.
When I say that we’ve formed false beliefs based on messages, situations and circumstances in our lives, I refer to our parents and family. What we think about ourselves and others is usually a reflection of what our parents unconsciously showed to us. You know that for a small child, his parents are the world, and how they act, not only on a physical but on an emotional level, is how we start regarding our environment. In a very similar manner, the way our parents react to and mirror us, is how we start thinking about ourselves.
But what we don’t know as small children is that our parents were this very entangled mass of mixed up emotions and experiences, conscious and unconscious, result from the many up and downs of their own lives. We couldn’t possibly grasp that! And in a response – we thought that our parents are the way they are because of us! We’ve internalised many of the faults and flaws in the relationship with our parents, thinking it’s us that screwed up.
While it isn’t my intention to put a blame on anyone, the only fault our parents have is that they didn’t notice (or maybe they did but didn’t know what to do) what was going on with the internal world of their children. Perhaps that’s because their own internal worlds weren’t stable as well. Or maybe they noticed but they weren’t able to respond appropriately.
The scenarios are endless but the point here for us as adults is to understand that we aren’t what we thought we are as children. Our understanding was limited and we made our stories based on that inadequate knowledge. And although our minds continued to develop and make sense of everything around us, few core beliefs stayed with us all along.
Building a coherent story out of our early childhood experiences is the first step towards emotional freedom and reclaiming our wholeness.
Have you explored your childhood memories? Have you uncovered some false beliefs for yourself that you still hold on to? Are you willing to hold your parents responsible for those?
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