Some people have lovely childhoods. Lovely parents and lots of great memories. Not many people do. Many experience broken parents and broken families. Maybe that’s you. What happens a lot is that people with that history, spend a lot of time, energy and effort dragging it around into the future. Carrying all the pain forward. This isn’t necessary! Last week I shared a little about how my past affected me. I had baggage of feeling worthless. Once I decided to quit carrying it, everything changed. This decision is powerful. And now my story is that I’m an amazing pearl! I’m not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but I have so much more peace in my life. I was blessed because I got to see my mom change her story first. She decided to lose the baggage- even though she didn’t know how or have an example to go from in real life. She, and many other women in her era, trail blazed. She also read stories of others who broke free.
Stories are powerful. We tell ourselves stories every day. I talk about this a lot. How we think about something and the story we tell around it is powerful. There are so many wonderful examples of stories of overcoming abuse, anxiety, poverty, and trauma. They give us hope. But if you tell a story that you lost out on your childhood and will never get it back, that’s depressing. It may be true, but it’s heavy baggage to carry around. It steals joy from today. Maybe the pain lasted 5 years, or 18 years until you left home. Why make it last any longer? Why bring the pain with you for another 5 years or 20 years? That only hurts you more!
‘It’s never too late to have a happy childhood’ is true! Marisa Peer, Britain’s top therapist and creator of RTT, says this all the time. Joyce Meyer, an author and speaker, had a horrific childhood, so as an adult she has stuffed animals in her office. She never got them as a kid so she has them now. I love this. I have clients who missed out on things as kids. Maybe a birthday party that was really important or a trip promised by parents who never delivered. It’s easy to get sad and stuck in those stories. Why not write a new one?
I have a friend who’s parents promised her a trip to the Grand Canyon as a kid and never went. They probably had good reasons, but she was hurt by that. She went last summer as a 50 year old and had so much fun thinking of keeping the promise to her younger self, enjoying the trip thoroughly. I had a client, who threw a big birthday party to celebrate herself as an adult, with lots of friends invited, because she missed out as a kid. You can celebrate yourself any time. Praising yourself for accomplishments. There are so many ways to do this. Just sit a minute with yourself and listen for ideas about how you can have a happy childhood right now.
Doesn’t that sound like so much more fun than grieving what you never had as a kid? I encourage clients to have fun with this. Go on a trip.Bring your kids to the zoo if you always wanted to go. Buy toys you’ve always wanted. Most importantly know that you can rewrite the story. One article that might help you re-frame is this one about how having a wonderful childhood kept the author ill prepared for life. It actually was harmful for this woman to have the best childhood! So you can be thankful if that wasn’t your story. I’m not talking about being stuck as a kid and not growing up here either. I’m talking about loving yourself well and having fun today, regardless of how yesterday was. You got this!
What are your thoughts or ideas about having a happy childhood as an adult? I’d love to hear from you!
And if you are struggling with your past and need help to move forward, please visit www.cyrinatalbott.com.