008. It’s All in the Past Now
Let’s have a moment of reflection. Think back to your childhood. Think about all the happy moments cherished which are near and dear to your heart. Now take a moment to think about some of the not so happy experiences of your childhood. Think back to being a 16 year old teenage engulfed in “girl world.” Now think about age 13. How about 10? Or 5 years old? What is your earliest childhood memory? Why am I asking you to take this moment for a personal reflection of your childhood? Because, many studies have shown childhood experiences do have an impact on our adult lives. We develop certain characteristics as a result of the experiences we pass through in life. If a child was raised by an over protective family then she will develop fears and insecurities because of believing that the world is unsafe. Now when that child becomes an adult she will still have fears and insecurities but she will display them in a different way. Our childhood experiences affects our behavior and personality in adulthood even if we were not aware of the existence of this connection.
When we think about experiences of our childhood which impact our adult lives we tend to lean towards the common dysfunctional experiences of child neglect, physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, or of parents whom you’ve witnessed in domestic, alcohol or substance abuse situations. You may be thinking I had a pretty decent childhood I didn’t experience any of these situations. That may be true but I am sure there are experiences from your childhood that affect the person you are today. If you are not aware of this, these experiences are likely having an adverse effect on you and you may not even realize it. Believe, I was in the same boat until recently. I am a military brat, and I had not realized the impact growing up with a military father and moving for base to base has had on my life as an adult. And I am sure being in the military myself has had somewhat of an influence too. I am very structured and discipline in every aspect of my life, I like things a certain way. In addition, I have become somewhat of a nomad, if I live in one place for too long I get antsy about relocating and one location gets boring to me every few years. This is something that has affected me in building relationships and taking certain career moves because in my mind I am always planning for my next big move. I say all this to say that you should take time to understand the life you experienced as a child and how it can impact your life as an adult. Don’t let negative situations dictate who you are or who you are going to be in this life. You have the ability to be whoever you choose to be in this world. Don’t let your past dictate your future. I have heard people say, “Oh he ain’t nothing but an old drunk, his daddy was a drunk, and he son will be a drunk too.” I say to you NO SIR! You have power over your life! Regardless of who your father is, what your mother did, what happened to you as a kid, you are in control of what you make of your life from this day forward! Where you come from, how you were raised, what you’ve been through are all mountains of tools to prepare you for greatness!
You have the ability to take control of your life. Now. Today. Don’t assume my parents had financial problems, I will too, or your dad was angry drunk and that’s why you are one. Besides what does that mean for your kids, will they be drunks as well? Is that the lifestyle you want to leave for them? A tainted legacy? Today I want to tell you, you do not have to let your experiences of yesterday affect your today. Acknowledge the iniquities of the past and how past experiences may affect you and take that awareness to prepare yourself for the present. You are in control of your life.