ACEs may have everything to do with you and the life you are leading right now. You see, when you were a child, your brain was like a sponge taking in the world around you. Its function was to help you learn the language, the cultural and social norms, as well as your place in the family and society. Your parents, teachers, priests, ministers, police officers, dentists, doctors, nurses and every adult you came in contact with left an impression. The exchanges may have been positive, or they may have been more difficult. Those that were difficult or scary or heartbreaking may have left you with questions and in some cases maybe even residual fear. It’s possible that the resulting emotions are affecting the way you live right now—many years later. Let me explain.
The other day in an interview, a journalist asked me how it was possible I had been unaware of how ACEs had continued to play a role in my adult life. I can honestly say that I had no idea. I was aware that I had some challenges, and I did counseling around my “not good enough” issue. But it wasn’t until I started writing Let My Legacy Be Love, A Story of Discovery and Transformation: TracingAdult Issues to Childhood Hurts, that I understood and was able to come to terms with the root of my challenges.
Exploring the personal stories that I’ve included in the book was an incredible journey. For instance, there is one story where I tell my uncle that my mother wouldn’t be bringing me to my first day of kindergarten because she didn’t like me. In my adult life, the impact of that childhood narrative around my relationship with my mother was that I struggled in close relationships with women. By digging in to peel away the layers of that story, I was able to understand that it wasn’t that my mother didn’t like me. Instead, with ten other children, she didn’t have the time necessary to get to know someone who was so unlike herself. The healing came by changing my thought pattern from “poor me” to “poor mom.” She missed out on truly knowing her daughter.
There is another story that chronicles the positive impact my third-grade teacher had on me. Because she repeatedly told me I had “potential,” and that I would always be okay because I had motivation and drive, I believed in myself and my abilities from then on no matter what anyone else said.
So, now it’s time to talk about you. Is there an early-life experience that might be impacting your behavior? Could an incident and the story you took on be preventing you from living the life you desire? How might a childhood experience be influencing the way you behave around the young people you come in contact with each day?
Whatever you feel is not working in your life, you can change. You have the power. Honestly, I can’t tell you how many times I heard those exact same words before I stepped up to the challenge. Was it easy? Not really. But the resulting peace and forgiveness are worth the efforts of the process. When you’re ready, let me know. I would love to help you.
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