Updated: Aug 28, 2019
Most of our emotional habits are formed by the time we are age seven. Those first experiences in our life, from womb to our parents' embrace to our earliest friends to our first steps in school, all have a role in shaping our beliefs about the world. That time your friend canceled plans with you to play with someone else. That time your father forgot to pick you up from school. That time your mom sighed and said "Sometimes, I wish you could take care of yourself." All of these childhood events, while seemingly small and insignificant in nature, shaped the very lens through which we view the world.
In adulthood, we may intellectually reject those beliefs, but the emotional seed may remain. This means we go through great effort to wipe our lens clean, only for the cloudiness to return because the child in us is hurting. A new acquaintance cancels plans with you and you feel a familiar pang of rejection, but you reason she is busy and you had hoped for time to work at home anyway. Your partner falls asleep while waiting for you to arrive for a date and doesn't hear you ring the doorbell, and you feel all alone as if you're a small child being forgotten again. You feel overwhelmed by life's responsibilities, but instead of reaching out for help, you resolve to fix it yourself because you never want to feel like a burden again.
Our logical brain attempts to guide us in these situations but is largely swayed by our emotional brain. You can reason that your acquaintance is busy, that your partner was tired, and that you just don't need help right now, but the child within you is reliving painful events and sending you on an emotional roller coaster. Often, the people closest in our lives see the pain still living within us and can be quite confused by our responses. Someone who has denied their own emotional pains from childhood and beyond may be less inclined to see your response as the emotional trigger it is and be more apt to blame you for overreacting or blame themselves for causing such pain. These responses can make us even more confused as we get rapped up in their emotions while we are still reeling within our own.
As we navigate our lives, we trigger others unknowingly and they trigger us. It can leave us absolutely bewildered and feeling trapped if neither party becomes aware of the deep-seated sources of pain that are warping the reality of the situation at hand. These emotional sores from childhood remain unless we recognize them and rewire our brains for healthier reactions. One way to do so is through emotional release work. It allows us to soothe and love the child within so that the wisdom of adulthood can take the reigns. We learn to apply understanding and empathy towards the principle actors of our childhood, like our parents, and in doing so learn to love ourselves. But we must feel the emotions first in order to release them and to reach this place of understanding.
We, as humans, will go through great lengths to avoid feeling alone, lost, sad, stuck, or failure. It is in childhood that we learn what causes us to feel these emotions, and our teachers are many. Our behaviors are born out of our survival instincts to protect ourselves in a world full of adversity. It is in adulthood that we learn to question these beliefs and their teachers.
Are you ready to reexamine your childhood and release the beliefs born out of survival and emotional protection in order to redirect your future? What behavioral patterns no longer serve you that you are ready to rewire? Are you willing to love the child within you who yearned only to keep you safe?