Most of us find little use in dissecting our past and dredging up old childhood memories. We wonder, “What does that have to do with the mess I’m in today?” “What good can possibly come from talking about my childhood?”
For many, their family life growing up was less than ideal, and brings up painful memories that have long since been buried. Or so we thought.
Much of our life today, from how we handle stress, how we interact in relationships, to the things we believe about ourselves, about others, about God is directly shaped from our experiences within our families growing up.
We cannot outrun it, we cannot forget it. We are powerful to heal the wounds from our past and move past them as we learn to come face to face with them. Here is an excerpt from my new book, Peace For a Lifetime, that shares the importance of dealing with our childhood wounds so that we can build a life for ourselves and our children, that is uniquely different, emotionally abundant and peace-filled.
From the time we open our eyes in the morning, we are constantly coming into contact with people—whether they share our bed, our house, our neighborhood, our office, or our church. At the point we make contact, something unique happens. A spark ignites, a reciprocity of energy is exchanged, and a dynamic is created.
Our best understanding of relational dynamics comes from the system of dynamics set up in our family of origin. The family style where we were raised carries a powerful force where individual members learn to connect with one another in unique ways that are mutually affecting. Patterns evolve whereby each member adopts a certain role within the family that allows the system to function as a whole.
Family systems form the basis for all our human interactions and relationships because the role we adopt within the family system is usually carried into all of our future adult relationships. These roles become a stable, though sometimes unconscious, part of our identity. Because family systems are driven by a process called homeostasis, the tendency to maintain stability or equilibrium, they are therefore usually resistant to change.
Have you ever had the experience of going back home to visit after having been away and feeling as though you were fifteen years old again the moment you walked through the door? That is the power of homeostasis at work within the family system. Some people might resist returning home because of the incredibly strong dynamics that leave them feeling child-like, helpless, weak, or even angry. Avoiding home may seem to provide the best solution.
While there are some extreme situations where home was physically, emotionally, or sexually abusive, and being cut-off provides the option of last resort for survival and health, most of us experience the fullness of our relational healing by returning home, figuratively speaking. This means our healing becomes complete the more we can understand our role in the family system, learn how to unhook from the homeostatic force that wants us to stay the same, and begin to differentiate ourselves well enough to interact with others, even our family of origin, from a place of peace and EA. The power of returning home frees us from our historical role in the family system and allows us to carry this freedom—this new, solid self into all of our adult relationships.
Interestingly, we can at any time, from any place, with any person begin to exercise EA in our relationships. No decision for EA is ever wasted. The muscles that we strengthen in one relationship can be translated into other relationships. Please note, the goal is never to change or fix someone else. The goal is to heal, understand, and grow ourselves so we can engage in any relationship and experience peace for ourselves as we connect with our loved ones.
It is never too late to heal and to grow. Our relationships will flourish as we are able to understand our childhood influences as well as feel and manage our emotions effectively so that we are better able to express them in a healthy way to the people around us.
The results are worth it. You are worth it. You don’t have to remain chained to the same old ways of dealing with life that you’ve been using. You are not destined to “be” just like your father or mother or others from your childhood. God has a unique plan and purpose for you. He wants you to be free from those chains so you can embrace your God-given identity and destiny.
In my book, Peace For a Lifetime, I share simple, practical life steps that can help you understand the life God desires for you. This material can help you create and experience an indestructible peace – not just for today, not just for tomorrow, you can experience peace…for a lifetime!
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