So you had a challenging childhood.
One that still impacts you deeply to this day.
To the point that it affects your self-esteem, your relationships and so many other areas (both big and small) of your life.
Chances are good that at some time you’ll have heard, or read, that you should “just get over it”.
That you’re an adult now so while you had no control over what your parents did when you were little, you do have full control over your life now.
A popular spiritual text (one that contains much wisdom) has a section entitled “The past is over. It can touch me not.”
And in a lecture I was listening to recently, those were the words offered in response to a woman who’d asked how she could heal from the painful childhood which still haunted her: “The past is over. It can touch me not.”
If only it were that simple!
But it isn’t. As in, really isn’t.
So in this article I’m going to cover:
- Why you can’t “just get over it” and should never expect yourself to;
- The most powerful perspective you can adopt regarding your challenging childhood;
- Five things you can do to accelerate your healing.
Let’s dive in…
Little children are like sponges, and as children we absorbed all of our experiences into our psyche.
Good or bad.
Positive or negative.
Feel-good or frightening.
And the sum of those experiences determined whether we developed a nervous system that predisposes us to feeling happy and at ease in the world.
Or one that predisposes us to feeling anxious and never good enough.
I know I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: no single factor has a greater impact on a woman’s level of self-esteem than the way her dad interacted with her as she was growing up.
Because of this, if your dad’s default way of relating to you was abusive, or even “just” distant and disapproving, chances are you’ll find many things in life – and especially relationships with men – challenging.
And because this runs to the core of your being it’s not something you can “just get over”.
So am I saying that if you had a challenging childhood you should give up hope of ever healing and finding happiness?
Not. At. All.
But I am saying treat yourself with great kindness and compassion.
I’m also saying, resist the temptation to ever compare yourself to anyone else, especially if the outcome of that is feeling inadequate.
Now, does there come a point at which dwelling on all the ways your dad hurt you and let you down becomes counterproductive? Absolutely.
But the people who heal most fully are not those who deny their pain.
They are those who face it square on and take concrete steps to heal it.
So…to accelerate your journey down the healing superhighway I offer you the following five takeaways:
- Be realistic about what happened in your childhood and how it’s affected you;
- Also be realistic about your capacity, as an adult, to grow and to make your life better (hint: that capacity is much greater than you might think);
- But never listen to anyone, ever, who tells you you should “just get over it”;
- Know that this isn’t a linear process. There will be bad days as well as good, and sometimes you’ll feel as if you’re moving backwards instead of forwards. Be especially kind to yourself at those times;
- Commit to small daily actions that support your growth and healing. This is where the rubber meets the road and it’s how you transform your life. That’s another article in itself, and a topic I’ll be writing about on here soon 🙂
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