“Three Ways to Lessen the Negative Impact of Childhood Experiences on Your Adult Life” by Joan Y. Edwards
Honoring Tom Boya’s request for a post about the impact of childhood experiences on your adult life, I wrote this article. I hope it helps.
1. Are the videos that run through your mind, fact or opinion. Make index cards with new positive belief statements. Look from a different point of view. Discover the facts.
In 1996, when I met my late husband, Carl, he was still trying to get over his father telling him that he was too slow. Over and over again, his father said, “Son, you are so slow.” His father said this to him continuously since he was five or six years old. It still made him sad. He still believed it when he was 54 years old.
I told Carl that when you are under the age of reason (usually seven years old), what authority figures tell you seeps down in your mind. Your subconscious mind believes it without question: “I am slow. I am always slow.”
You have no filter. You can’t tell fact from opinion. I told him, “Let’s try to put new belief statements in your mind. Reprogram your thinking. Look from another point of view.”
I pointed out to Carl that he had a job where he was in charge of sending out workers to repair gas lines. He also had to notify the city that there was a leak and get permission to dig in the streets. He had to call a locate company to locate the other lines in the area: phone lines, cable lines, water lines. He had to do all this in a matter of minutes by phone because it was critical to the safety of the people. I told him that no one who was slow could do his job. Yet, he couldn’t rush things and forget something either.
I told Carl that he didn’t do things as fast as his father wanted him to, but that didn’t mean he was too slow.
Carl got where he didn’t have his father’s words going through his head any more. He was much happier and accepted himself as he was. He was fine at his speed, not slow at all.
2. Discover the facts. Discard the hurtful opinions. Realize that “If God is happy with you, you don’t have to worry about anyone else.” It doesn’t matter what other people think. What you believe about yourself is what counts. Keep as positive as you can.
When I was five I had a baby brother, my mother and grandfather went visiting neighbors. Mother told me to rock my brother until they got back. When they came back, I was sound asleep still rocking my baby brother. Mother told me I was too obedient and didn’t have any common sense.
Again this was before the age of reason. Authority figure told me to rock the baby, so I rocked the baby.
As a teenager and as an adult, I worked hard to research things so that I would not only have common sense, but good opinions about many things.
As a teacher for 35 years, I sometimes got into trouble because I think outside the box. I don’t see through the window like many others do. But, I’ve learned to respect that it’s okay for me to be me. I was so happy when I figured out this, “It’s okay if others don’t like or approve me or my actions. As long as God is happy with me, I don’t have to worry about anyone else.”
3. Your emotional beliefs may be based on false ideas, but these emotions are real. They hurt as a child and as an adult. Look from another point of view. Do something to challenge or change that idea in your mind. Love yourself. Surround yourself with people who love and accept you as you are right now.
Sometimes as children, we misjudge things emotionally. For me, I believed I was alone…abandoned. That no one would spend time with me. My Daddy travelled most of the time, but, I really wasn’t alone. Everyone else in my family liked going out more. I was comfy being at home.
But something happened to change my thinking. I spent 3 summers as a teenager with my Uncle Vernon and Aunt Martha. They had seven children: Leonard, Billy, Pete, Thurman, Susan, Cheryl, and Millie. There was always someone at home. We played together. We did chores together. We laughed together. I didn’t feel alone there. I felt accepted and loved. We were cousins. However, they were like brothers and sisters and close friends to me. Some of them have passed away. But the memories are still treasured in my heart. I am thankful they were there for me and to those who are still alive and help me survive today.
I hope that you will find a way to ease the painful memories of your childhood and replace them with love and forgiveness for yourself and the others in your life. We are all human…imperfect but wonderfully made.
1. Joan Y. Edwards. “Three Good Childhood Experiences That Influenced My Choices as an Adult:” https://www.joanyedwards.com/2022/06/28/three-good-childhood-experiences-that-influenced-my-choices-as-an-adult/
2. Joan Y. Edwards. “Do You Need the Forgiveness Tunnel?” https://www.joanyedwards.com/2018/05/24/do-you-need-the-forgiveness-tunnel/
3. Key Differences.com. “Difference between Fact and Opinion:” https://keydifferences.com/difference-between-fact-and-opinion.html
4. Tony Robbins. “How to Let Go of the Past:” https://www.tonyrobbins.com/mind-meaning/let-go-past/
Please leave a comment. Share a life experience or resource that helped you let go of a negative experience.
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Joan Y. Edwards, Author
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