Change starts from within!
Do you ever find yourself wondering how everyone else seems to know how to live their life, with the best decisions coming naturally to them and being in healthy relationships seeming easy? Do you find yourself wondering what others know and you don’t, what kind of secret they possess that’s being kept away from you?
Depending on experiences and the people that touched you, depending on your support network and internal resources, and depending on whatever has previously happened to you, you will have a different kind of life than any other.
Childhood experiences are constantly shaping who we are. If you never had much from a loving, accepting and caring other, if you were not empowered to fulfil your potential, if you experienced ongoing neglect or abuse, or if you were never seen or heard, then it's no wonder that you wonder how you can’t break through, how you always get stuck repeating the same patterns of relating to self and others. You might be angry at yourself, resentful, asking yourself with harshness why you never learn when things don’t go the way you want.
Stop for a minute and breathe! You're not doing anything wrong, and there is nothing wrong with you! You are doing the best you can at this very moment. The good news is that the way you act, based on your experiences, can be changed. Whatever happened to you is only a part of who you are, not who you are as a whole. You are not a little boy or a little girl, hopeless and helpless, failed by those who were supposed to protect you, to care for you, to love you. You are a different person today, and you can be in control of what’s going on in your life; you have options and choices. You are a different person, with a little boy or little girl crying inside, hurting, wanting to be loved and accepted. Learn to listen to the little one inside you - learn to love and nurture your inner child. You are the one who can make a difference, and self-love and self-acceptance are skills that can be achieved. Therapy is a good place to start.
The harsh reality might be that, even though you escaped the harshness of your childhood and those days are long gone, the harshness still lives within you. You carry around with you that critical parent who never believed in you, the teacher who disempowered you, or any significant other who told you one way or another that you are not worth it, that you are not good enough, that you have no potential.
Maybe the time has come for you to nurture your inner child, to love and respect yourself, to empower that vulnerable and young part in you that you dismiss, that you put down and try to intimidate; maybe exactly the same as the important adults in your life did to you as a child. Learn to be your nurturing parent and stop giving yourself inner critical parent messages. The change starts from within! You are not what you were told - you can be so much more! Give yourself the gift of therapy and start rewiring your brain with positive experiences and messages. Bring awareness to your life and take your power back from those inner critics.
Whatever happened to you can cause serious distress in everyday life. You might be experiencing chronic stress, anxiety or depression, you might find it hard to achieve your potential, or you might find it difficult to form meaningful relationships. In extreme circumstances, one might feel that life is not worth living, feeling exhausted, hopeless and helpless. One might turn to alcohol and drugs in a futile attempt to numb the pain, to try to forget, to try not to feel. Talking with someone about what’s going on with you and getting support in exploring past and present experiences, learning to respond and not react to stimuli, having a space where you matter, where your voice is heard, and your thoughts and feelings are validated, can make the difference between having control over your life or not.
Learning to be a nurturing parent to your inner child is a process; it might take time, it might have ups and downs, and it starts with contemplating how things can be different when self-love and self-care are part of you.
If you can imagine the changes that you might want to make, you have taken the first step towards healing. Your journey has started - keep going!
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About Gianina Ardeleanu
Integrative child and adult counsellor, with a special interest in adverse childhood experiences and in the parent-child relationship. No one was born with a broken heart, fearful, unhappy or sad. Relationships can be destructive, but also can heal. A counselling relationship can help you to mend your heart. Therapy is a gift & it can change lives