Yes, Your Childhood Matters – Even as an Adult!

Childhood is a magical time – but not every moment is like a storybook. By the time you get to adulthood, memories and possible traumas accumulate – and that baggage can feel like the weight of the world on your shoulders (or your subconscious!). The trouble is that the past rarely stays in the past. If it’s not addressed, it can affect the present and the future.

According to the fields of neuroscience and psycho-neurobiology, our childhood plays an important role throughout our life because it’s a time when we receive foundational messages. These form the building blocks our self-esteem and self-concept. The only way to change the trajectory of your life is through a process of self-discovery, in which you take a healing journey to comfort that inner child.

The Rule of 40,000

A newborn’s brain makes 1 million new neural connections every second. At that rate, you can see how our experience of the world through a child’s eyes can either inhibit or enhance proper brain development.

So, imagine a child who is surrounded by fighting, yelling, and negativity versus one who is in a loving, comforting, and positive environment. You see, these dissimilar environments not only foster different childhood and adolescent outcomes; they also set the stage for either success or struggle in adulthood.

When it comes our early years, you can’t judge a book by its cover. That is, even the wealthiest and most successful people (on the outside) may be secretly lonely or deeply insecure. In fact, it is all too common for high achievers to struggle with addiction or self-destructive behaviours. The ‘Type A’ perfectionistic personality can be a response to childhood trauma, as the individual attempts to control the environment and prevent future trauma (an impossible goal). This insatiable drive can crowd out the individual’s authentic self. Without addressing the root cause of these unhealthy behaviors, happiness (or perhaps “self-wealth”) can be fleeting.

A Journey of Re-parenting

By studying the messages that you received as a child and being conscious of the messages that you send to your own child, you can create a healthier self-concept and more robust interpersonal relationships. Not only that, but as you begin to comfort your inner child, you will discover a more authentic version of you!

Here are some simple tips to guide you as you begin your journey to re-parent your inner child and become an even better parent to your own children:

  1. Adopt an attitude of nonjudgmental compassion: As you encounter your inner child, keep in mind that this process is not about assigning fault or blame. No matter what you find in your past, you can leverage what you learned to move forward – and be stronger and wiser.
  2. Be willing to be vulnerable: Find someone you can trust to confide in as you explore your past and all the emotions associated with it.
  3. Meditate on your childhood: Take time to think about how you felt as a child. Look at old photos to stimulate your memory.
  4. Carve out time for playtime and self-care: Coax your inner child out of his or her hiding place with some much-needed rest, relaxation, and playtime. Just like children, adults need playtime for optimal mental health. Also, think back to activities or hobbies that you enjoyed doing as a child and make the time to do them again.
  5. Reduce unnecessary stressors: Often daily stressors inhibit deep healing. If possible, do your best to manage or reduce stressors through lifestyle changes or simply by breathing deeply throughout the day.
  6. Emanate warmth and love: As much as you can, take steps to build a warm, nurturing home and work environment. Not only will you benefit from this approach to life, but so will everyone around you!

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