Is Your Childhood Keeping You Stuck?

Do you remember your childhood dreams? Of what you wanted to be when you grew up? What excited you then? What would get you excited NOW in what you’d like to create in your life?

shlomit wolfAs children we were born into the world innocent and full of the potential for joy. Yet often, we may have experienced some trauma or difficulties in our childhood that made us take on meanings about ourselves that were false and untrue. Even if we were brought up in a loving environment, sometimes things happen to us when we’re younger which we interpret through the mind of child – and as a result we take on an inaccurate interpretation and internalise limiting or false beliefs about ourselves, about others and how the world is, or how life or the world works as a result of these experiences.

Examples of this could arise due to family circumstances growing up and the attitudes of our parents or siblings towards us, or other influences such as teachers at school. We may take on a belief that there is a limit to what we deserve, or that love and abundance is in scarce supply, or that we must work really really hard and strive and struggle to achieve what we want.

Often many people feel that they’re not good enough, or feel flawed or that they’re not okay on some level and this is usually as a result of something that happened to them when they were younger to cause them to feel that way. It may have only been an isolated incident, yet it can still leave a deep impression – which the person may or may not be aware of, if it’s playing out at a subconscious level. Yet these are just learned beliefs – that we’ve often picked up in childhood but then they tend to be reinforced or re-triggered through our adolescence and in adulthood when we experience similar feelings and emotions, or encounter similar situations or circumstances to whatever happened in the original incident.

Those beliefs then became ingrained and ‘hardwired’ into us as at a deep inner level and they become connected with our feelings of love, safety and belonging. That’s because as children, we develop our personal identity and sense of self, based on what we learn from the people around us and our childhood experiences form and shape our beliefs, perceptions and view of ourselves, others and the world.

If these beliefs and views are dysfunctional in any way and we try to move forwards in life, then subconsciously, our sense of love, safety and belonging may feel challenged or threatened on some level so we may resist making positive changes or find ourselves acting in self-sabotaging ways.

It often feels easier to stay stuck and keep with what we know (like an elastic band pulling us back to what’s familiar), rather than face ‘losing’ our sense of love, safety and belonging.

This explain why, even if we really desire change, we can feel stuck if our resistance is playing out very strongly at a deep inner level and causing lots of anxiety and difficulty.  In order to make successful changes, we need to reassure the different levels of our brain that it’s safe to proceed.

Most neuroscience and brain research agrees that as humans evolved as a species, our brain structure has also evolved with different levels of function and capability. The earliest, most primitive aspect of the brain is the brain stem (our ‘Reptilian brain’).  As we’ve evolved, the human brain also developed the Limbic System, a complex system of nerves and networks in the brain, concerned with instinct and mood. It’s this that controls our basic emotions (fear, pleasure, anger) and our needs and drives (hunger, sex, dominance and care of offspring).  We’ve also developed higher order cognitive capacities as a function of the development of the neocortex (our thinking, rational, logical brain). So it’s the Limbic system within our brains that regulates our stress response (fight or flight), eating and hunger, sexual impulses, raw emotion (whereas it’s the neocortex that does the job of mitigating and controlling our emotional response), plus it’s our Limbic System that is also focused on ensuring our survival.

Current trends in neuroscience and brain function research also focus on theories of connectivity, derived from work on neural networks – understanding how the neurons in our brains that ‘fire together, wire together’.  Through this we can learn how habits and patterns get established when we repeatedly think about the same situation or person or experience the same emotions over and over again. So we can use all of this knowledge and insight to understand how survival patterns and beliefs and perspectives get created and why there may be resistance occurring and then work with this understanding to achieve lasting, transformational change.

To do that, firstly, we have to cultivate awareness of what’s going on and then we need to reassure and persuade each part within us that it’s okay to move forwards. The part of ourselves that is focused on safety and survival, the part that’s focused on love and the part that’s focused on belonging.

MindFlame’s coaching works to engage with ALL of these aspects to ensure that everything is aligned in order to get the ‘green light’ within each level of your brain and reassure your inner self that it’s okay to go ahead and that it’s ‘safe’  to make the changes you desire and let go of any survival patterns that are keeping you stuck or in resistance.

When these internal patterns or deep seated beliefs are ‘running your life’, it can lead to self-criticism, self-doubt and a constant inner dialogue that feels anxious or fearful – but we’ll teach you different self-supporting beliefs that you can deeply embody to know that you ARE okay, exactly as you are.

I’ve found that many of my clients want to move forwards in their life and understand intellectually that this is possible – yet there may be something still keeping them tethered (like the elastic band mentioned above) and they can’t let go.

That’s because that younger feeling self that still lives within each of us may sense that our safety, love or belonging will be compromised on some level if we change. That can arise if there’s a dysfunctional, rather than a healthy pattern – ie. we have been conditioned to believe that love has to be hard and painful, or if we move forwards in our lives and careers, we won’t feel that we can relate to our friends and family anymore, or we’ll feel rejected by them if we no longer ‘fit in’ (if our sense of ‘belonging’ is then threatened).

Until we bring awareness to this and shift and heal those patterns and beliefs, we’ll resist moving forwards or may sabotage our success in some way to keep the status quo and maintain the ego’s identity in place. The ego is simply ‘doing its job’ as it believes it’s keeping us safe – rather than face or risk failing, feeling hurt, disappointed or rejected, the ego wants to avoid at all costs having to re-trigger that painful childhood memory or trauma, or re-feeling those emotions that were so hard to deal with the first time around.

Jake MelaraYou must learn one thing.
The world was made to be free in.

Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.

Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
to learn

anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive

is too small for you.

—- David Whyte
from The House of Belonging

At MindFlame, we don’t see your emotions as a ‘bad’ thing – acknowledging your feelings can be a useful barometer to gauge wellbeing and tune into what feels most in alignment for you to determine the correct course of action.  We encourage you to love every part of who you are – ego, intellect, body, spirit – every aspect of yourself is perfect.  We encourage you to cultivate an attitude of mindfulness – practising noticing your feelings and thoughts, rather than getting overly ‘identifed’ with them and practising self-acceptance, rather than judgement.

By working on our ‘inner game’ and re-connecting with that younger feeling self within and addressing their concerns to reassure them that we are safe and loved, we can create a new healthy inner environment and ecology and provide a firm, renewed foundation of love, safety and belonging – but this time without the limitations!  This will allow us to move fowards powerfully in life – without those self-imposed limits or inner glass ceiling keeping us stuck.

Our genius, joy and creativity often resides in this aspect of ourselves, so by taking the lid off what’s been holding us back, it also drives and sparks inspiration and wellbeing as well.

Shifting and strengthening this inner environment and establishing safety means we can lead, innovate and create changes in ourselves and others from a more empowered state as well.

Without making these changes, we can often find ourselves living out repeating patterns and recreating similar situations in our lives over and over again, with different people and in different sets of circumstances. This tends to happen to ‘prove’ to our unconscious that we are correct in our original interpretation – eg. we may find ourselves in a relationship or job or life situation where we feel unworthy or flawed or not good enough as that is what we still believe about ourselves at a deep inner level – until we do the work to shift and TRANSFORM those beliefs, once and for all and replace them with more empowering ones.

Contact us now to learn more about our Life Transformation, Resilience and Wellbeing Coaching Packages if you’d like help in releasing these childhood imprints and want to move forwards in your life with more freedom, peace and joy.

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