(Continued from “What motivates your choices?“)
If we are to create the life we want, we must look within and understand our early childhood tendencies that stay with us until we learn different behaviour. When we explore how we felt as children, we tend to see patterns present in how we related to our mother and father. Our relationship with our mothers generally shape our patterns towards our inner world, the world of love, nurturing, self-care and sustenance. Our relationship with our father usually sets the stage for our relationship with our career and outer, social life.
When we take a look at what went on in our childhood, how we felt in relationship to each of our parents, we can see the early seeds for what drives our unconscious choices that created our current life. For example, we may have felt abandoned by our mother, so we tend to recreate, unconsciously, situations in which we do not feel supported or nurtured. Maybe we felt aggressed by our father, so we tend to attract work or society situations that are dissonant with who we are or even abusive. Or maybe we just feel unwelcome in our work environment and become an overachiever or workaholic. Every person again will be entirely unique.
If you feel you want to look at aspects of your early childhood, I found personal therapy very useful. Finding a skilled therapist is like finding a torch to help illuminate our path. They do not do the work for us. We do our own work. But when we go into our inner basement, it is useful to walk with someone who has done their own inner work and can help shed light on our findings so we may integrate and heal.
I also found a couple books in particular helped me touch places in my psyche’s basement that I hardly knew existed. One is Alice Miller’s The Drama of the Gifted Child. She suggests that many children tend to develop aspects of their personality in reaction to their environment, and as such, lose aspects of their true selves. Because we want to please mommy or daddy, we do something that is not in alignment with our highest self and develop tendencies that eventually sabotage our deepest joys. The book suggests steps to move towards understanding, grieving and healing.
I also feel a lot of respect and love for Wayne Muller’s Legacy of the Heart: The Spiritual Advantages of a Painful Childhood. Muller suggests a gentle and mindful approach to uncovering our hidden scars, from which, we may find spiritual strength. This book is more spiritually driven, unlike Alice Miller’s more psychological approach.
In order for us to make decisions that will inspire lasting change, we must understand the unconscious tendencies that affect our choices and bring them to the light. So ask yourself, What are my unconscious tendencies that may be blocking my joy? Do I easily feel like a victim? Do I feel unworthy? Do I feel thwarted by life so that I feel the need to fight back? Do I give up? What drives your choices?
Looking at our early tendencies will reveal our inner saboteur, the aspect of our shadow that stands in the way of our fullest joy. Tomorrow, we will look at this inner saboteur and will provide a powerful exercise I use every day to help realize your dreams.
(Continued tomorrow with “Facing your inner saboteur“)