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Making Peace With Our Own Imperfect Childhoods

Updated: Nov 27, 2021

“Although we may have suffered misfortune as a child, it is never too late to re-live our childhoods and reconnect to that childlike side of ourselves. When we take responsibility for our happiness in life, we have the power to feel safe, heal ourselves, and create greater wholeness. This gift can never be taken away from us.” ~ Aletheia Luna

Childhood trauma can lead to an adulthood spent in survival mode, afraid to plant roots, to plan for the future, to trust, and to let joy in. It’s a blessing to shift from surviving to thriving. It’s not simple, but there is more than survival. – Unknown

All children, from babies to toddlers to kids to teens, deserve the experience of being unconditionally loved, protected, and supported for exactly who they are as individuals. They deserve the experience of relational safety and being nurtured in all ways. But in reality, nobody has a perfect childhood and receives what they really deserve to get.

While some of us had more halcyon childhoods than others, experiencing pain growing up is inevitable. The range of difficult childhood experiences is wide, ranging from disastrous to disappointing, from being physically or verbally abused to being totally ignored, from living with engulfed parents to unavailable parents to growing up with parents whose own emotional needs were so large that they overshadowed our own so that most of our childhood was spent taking care of our parents instead of them taking care of us.

Our childhood becomes a life living with a continual succession of losses; loss of unconditional love, secure connection, safety, feeling important, worthy, and adequate. We enter adulthood with grudges, habits that don’t really serve us as an adult. Things we missed out on as children become voids in our lives. We feel stuck in these voids and experience sadness, anger, anxiety, rage, and resentment. We wish for something different to have happened to us. Our grieving for our lost childhood seems endless.

What we need to know is that healing involves grief work. We need to give ourselves the permission to grieve the childhood we never had. When we start our healing journey and grieving for our lost childhood; what happened to us and what we didn’t have, there are moments that take away our breath in its intensity. However, as we move forward in our healing journey and work on our childhood pains, the grief may change. It may always be there, but it will be less acute.

The first step in the healing journey is to allow our feelings to come up without diminishing or dismissing them. Dealing with our unprocessed childhood feeling is not easy. To survive our childhood experiences, we might need to numb or block our emotions or even replace them with another emotion that is safer to feel, for example, anger instead of sadness. We need to understand and find our real feeling. The more we allow ourselves to feel and process the feelings, the more the feelings will move through us and ultimately change. We might need a therapist to help us go through this and process our emotions.

The process of healing requires radical empathy for ourselves, acknowledging and empathizing with our lost self. We need to replace the old critical internal monologue with compassionate and loving talk. We need to figure out how to parent ourselves in a positive way and remind ourselves that our feelings are valid, given the childhood that we had. The turning point in our healing journey is to take responsibility for our self-worth. We need to decide what kind of person we want to be and what kind of life we want to have, and we need to start working towards it. We are the support for ourselves.

Leave a comment and describe what you to yourself to supports yourself and your feelings when you get triggered and feel sad about your childhood?

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