Shadow of our parent figures: self-discovery can begin with people
We learn behavioral and thinking patterns from our parent figures during our upbringing on top of the first three or four formative years of emotional development. Healthy parent figures are more successful in raising emotionally healthy children, but most of people have deep unhealed emotional wounds carried over from their childhood, and they become parents—sometimes to satisfy their own unmet needs—and the predicaments, where children are neglected, degraded, humiliated and hurt, have been passed on from generation to generation.
Are you one of the people whose parent figures were simply dysfunctional? Did you have to grow up too soon to feed them emotionally? Did you spend your childhood without learning to have fun? Were you taught not to express your emotions because they are “bad”? Did you grow up, hearing double level messages (Examples: “You are free to go out anytime you want; I don't mind feeling lonely.” “I care about how you are doing and I don't want to worry about you.”)? Were you to blame when you were not responsible?
Have you been the one who does these to others, especially ones that are special to you? If so, now is the time for you to break the mold and become who you are meant to become.
Pent-up feelings are the sources of relationship difficulties. In homes where parent figures are dysfunctional and children need to “mature” too soon, their emotional and mental growth tends to be stunted. Our True Self is a spontaneous being who expresses his/her feelings without fearing abandonment or rejection, makes decisions for his/her own life, is assertive, is accepting and is trusting of others and of him/herself. It is not manipulative, fearful, distrustful, defensive, withdrawn and aggressive. How can we get in touch with our True Self?
Growing up, we had few people who validated our values and loved us for who we were—and our past remains with us—but this doesn’t mean that it should keep affecting our present and future. One thing we can do to validate ourselves is to help others. People need us. Your sick friend might want your visit. Your neighbor might need your help with carrying groceries. Somebody might need your smile. A bit of kindness shown can be of such help to others and when our focus is not on ourselves, we know we are not the selfish, “bad” people that our parent figures have labeled us.
Self-discovery is a challenge, but treating others appropriately will lead us to learning of ourselves.