We live in a time of rapid change. Adjusting to that change requires self-confidence in our ability to rise to the level of new demands. While technology can be helpful, it can also add to our stress levels as we try to adjust to the accelerating pace associated with rapid change.
It is a good time to ask yourself what things from your past have been helpful and how can I use them again? Our past influences the choices we make today. Taking time to reflect and explore our roots can help separate the negative from the positive.
What messages did you hear growing up? Were they hurtful or encouraging? How did the events and people in your past help “shape” and “mold” you into the person you are today? Reflection gives us the opportunity to consider how those growing up experiences continue to make either a positive or negative impact on our way of interacting with the world today.
Here are three reasons why it is important to take a journey back to our growing up days. First, revisiting our past can bring resolution to traumatic and difficult events. The brain constantly reminds us of threatening or intimidating experiences so they can be resolved. It doesn’t take long to form a habit that always looks on the negative side of life.
Second going back to our roots can give us a clearer picture of circumstances. While we can’t change our past, we can use new understanding to rewrite the ending moving forward. As a child we have limited ability to interact in our defense and put into perspective what is happening.
And third, reflecting helps us remember all the good times as well the not so good. What was happening when you were relaxed and having fun. What were you doing? Who was having fun with you? Did you find contentment and pleasure in exploring, creating, or just hanging out with friends?
We are a combination of genes and traits and experiences, some positive and motivating and others hurtful and discouraging. The family we grew up in played a role in how we interact with others. There might have been unfair comparisons or we were lost as a middle child. Our school years may have been punctuated with bullying incidents, peer pressure and unhappy alliances that continue to leave a residue on our lives.
Many occurrences, interactions, words and deeds combine to help “shape” and “mold” us. While many may be unpleasant, there will be moments of intense pride and pleasure as well as special relationships. Looking back helps us to remember equally those times.
We are not stuck with one premise, one way of looking at the world. Each of us has the ability to grow and improve, conquer and overcome. We can choose to look at today’s world with fresh eyes in whatever circumstances we find ourselves.
Affirm your strengths – accept your vulnerabilities.
A quick exercise
Take a blank piece of paper and draw a circle in the middle. Put a smiling face on it and add your name. Draw lines that extend outward from that circle like the rays of the sun. On each of those sunshine spokes write the characteristics, traits or features that make you “you”.
- What traits or strengths would you assign yourself? You might see yourself as upbeat or depressed. You might see yourself as strong and determined or shy and hesitant
- What qualities or defining features do you believe you have? Ex: thoughtful, contemplative, unselfish, introspective, charismatic, etc.
- Describe your social traits (friendly, shy, aloof, talkative, engaging, etc.)
- How would you characterize your appearance and physical condition (tall, attractive, weak, muscular, strong, frail, thin, shapely, etc.)
- What talents and abilities do you possess (artistic, computer savey, athletic, etc.)
- What is your typical emotional state (happy, pensive, anxious, angry, compassionate, cheerful, fearful, etc.)
- What is your dominant way of thinking or mindset? (Suspicious, dependable, trusting, courageous, independent, reliable, competent, motivated, adept, etc.)
We are influenced by our DNA, personality traits, childhood experiences and the fundamental beliefs we put in place while growing up. We have untapped potential that may have been obscured by earlier unpleasant life events. Each of us interprets life in our unique way. At any point in time we can expand that interpretation, accepting the not so positive as well as the strengths we have. Celebrate all parts of you.
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