“Children are born loving their parents, and they’re born assuming their parents love them. Their relationship with the family they are born into is their first taste of human connection, and thus, their first taste of love. It doesn’t matter if we in our adult perspective look backwards and say: ‘That was NOT a loving household…’ A child does not know any different than this version of love that exists in their home. Because of this, they associate love with home. The way that they felt in their home and in their relationship with their parents becomes their definition of love” ~ Teal Swan
The first six years of a child’s life are the most important. Not only are they most transformative in terms of growth and development, but from a psychological standpoint, they are the years that set the child’s ‘programming’, which will determine their personality, how they deal with life, how they define what love looks or feels like, and how confident they are in the world around them, amongst many other things.
Since the first years of life are spent mainly with our parents or caretakers, the relationship formed with them in these formative years sets the tone for how we behave in our adulthood either in relationships with others or just for life in general.
Every child, including those from the happiest or most functional of homes, experiences some level of rejection, sadness, or “trauma” (no matter how big or small).
Although we may think that any real or perceived childhood hurts were left in the past or when childhood ended, we may not realize that unless these wounds were properly healed we are most likely still carrying around with us in our subconscious.
Until these emotional wounds are brought into our conscious awareness they will manifest in our outward life, which means we will keep finding our self in the same “problems” in our relationships with others until the light of awareness, healing and love is brought to the inner child inside of us that never got tended to.
Since the inner child experiences pain, hurt or rejection in reaction to something the parents or caretakers have done to them, healing the inner child properly will require us to dissect the relationship with our parents to the point that we can find it in ourselves to empathize and forgive them for what they did, or for what we perceive they did to us as a child.
“The past cannot be changed, forgotten, edited or erased it can only be accepted.” ~ Unknown
Intellectually we know that the past cannot be changed, but many people are still holding on to memories from their childhood in which they experienced some negative emotion.
Some may replay these scenarios over and over and re-experience the pain every single time or they may try to stuff it down deeper into the subconscious hoping it will just go away.
Although the time in which these emotions were experienced is long gone, the hurt and the pain we may have experienced from them may still exist. The only thing that will make the pain we experienced from these situations disappear is to bring them into our conscious awareness.
Once we have brought the memories back up, we can then accept them. We accept the fact that they happened, but we also accept everyone for the role they played in the experience.
If we realize that every person is only operating the best they know how from their own level of understanding and awareness, we see that even though as a child we may have perceived that our parents were angry because of us, or rejecting us, or manipulating us or whatever the memory is, that they were only giving us the best they could from their own personal consciousness level.
More often than not, our parents were parenting us in the same way they were parented. This is why in the most severe cases of dysfunctional parenting we will most likely find that abusive people were abused themselves.
As P.D. James said, “What a child doesn’t receive, he can seldom later give.”
Our parents literally gave us the best they could give given the tools they learned and received. Once we know this, we can find it easier to offer at least some sort of empathy as to why they behaved in the way they did, and eventually forgive them completely.
The great thing about coming to terms with our relationship with our parents and healing our inner child is that our parents don’t even have to be involved in the process.
By becoming the parent we never had or wished we would have had, we can actually address our inner child as if we were that perfect parent that we needed at the time we experienced the emotional hurt. We can then send unconditional love to this child and offer him/her the acceptance and kindness that we may not have gotten at the time.
Many people use things such as therapy or meditation to get in touch with the inner child inside of them that still needs to be loved and to tell that child exactly what it needs to hear.
By doing this we will find that not only will our relationship with our parents get better, (or if they are not in our lives the way we see them in our mind will be met with more empathy), but problems we have with people and circumstances in our adult life will start to heal themselves.
Our new found love and acceptance for ourselves and for the parents who helped us form who we are as a person will translate into healthier and more functional adult relationships, and also stop the cycle of pain and hurt. Once we have transmuted old hurts into love we are able to offer more love to all the people in our lives.
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