I so want to blame my mother, my father, step-parents, brothers…whomever, to make my world “right.” Don’t you? How often do you blame your actions on your childhood? Have you gotten over the fight with Mom before the prom? The argument with Daddy about your clothes? The humiliation from a sibling or classmate? What do we have to do to “let it go”?
Most of whom we are comes from our formative years – birth to 17. Research found that we are whom we’re going to be by age 7. These years molded us – rightly or wrongly. In Marcus Buckingham’s book, First, Break All The Rules, he defines our personalities through filters. “You have a filter, a characteristic way of responding to the world around you. We all do.” He goes on to elaborate about how these filters are not only unique to our world, but also define us. “Your filter, more than your race, sex, age, or nationality, is You.”
What are these filters? Are you the oldest, youngest, middle child? Are you the only gender of your siblings? Are you an only child or one of more than four, five, six…? Did you grow up in the suburbs or the city? Did you graduate from a High School class of 56 or 556? Were you from a dysfunctional family? All of your answers describe you and your filters – how you view the world. You see the world as no other sees it, and as no other interprets it.
I tag myself as a “normal neurotic.” Now, don’t make me write a definition of it, just go with me. I’m from a pretty “normal” childhood even with its dysfunction and my rebellion, and friction – competition? – with my mother. But I was happy for the most part. I also was sent away to boarding school at 13. My rebellious nature came through within seconds from the time I was born – it only took :15 for me to come out screaming – and the time I took my first feeding.
Oh, I blamed my mother for almost everything when I was a teenager and maybe into my 20s, but then I found therapy. Wow, even without drugs – as Baby Boomers drugs weren’t given out on the street corner by the doctor looking for work. I realized I was making my own way and if I were going to continue on being miserable, I was going to get a PhD in pathetic. So, to therapy I ran. I now look back on my childhood and realize how blessed and fortunate I was…still am.
We make or break our world with our decisions and actions. We were molded by our childhood and formative years, but we can either recognize them for their learning curve or we can curse them – and ourselves – for the rest of our lives. What’s not to appreciate about today? Even with all its groodiness, life’s amazing. Do we all have yukco days? Absolutely. But, I hope that those days are far outnumbered by the good days.
Every night when I get into bed, I reflect on the a minimum of five blessed aspects of the day. The first is that I work up healthy in mind, body and spirit. Then the other four – or more – come about because of what did or didn’t happen during the day. It may be something as small as that I have two wonderful cats; it may be something as big as getting a check in the mail or a new client. You decide why you are blessed that day. It’s a wonderful and peaceful way to fall asleep: five positives swarming around your heart and head.
We can’t change our childhoods. We can change our mind set about it and our behavior. It’s our choice. Choice is a winning lottery ticket when we believe in it and move toward a more positive way of thinking and acting.
I know, it may sound simple, and I also know, it’s not easy. Give your childhood a break – your parents did the best they could with the information they had at the time. Whether a brilliant, boorish, or somewhere-in-between childhood, it’s today and you have the power to focus on what you can do, not what you can’t.
Celebrate today as if it were your birthday – it is in one aspect. Focus on what you want to have happen; paint your future with child-like glee. It will make a difference…I promise.