Rescuing Our Inner Child
Families are complex. But, it is in these early dynamics that we learn to be and relate with the outside world.
Most of the things we learn while growing up are good; love, forgiveness and solidarity. Unfortunately, we also inherit some of our parents’ unresolved issues, our interpretation of them as well as our position in the family. Once grown up we go out into the world – without realizing – repeating the same learned dynamics over and over as an effort to resolve our hang ups.
For many different reasons I’ve always played second fiddle in my family. The result of this experience is that I’ve ended up with a serious case of low self-esteem.
I left home, Brazil, at age eighteen and moved to New York City where I spent many years putting myself through bad situations to somehow diminish the guilt I was feeling for having left my family behind. But more than anything else I was actually looking for a relationship where I was loved and respected for who I was – curious, strong, independent – instead of left to my own devices because of who I was.
It took me decades to understand – what I unconsciously was trying to do – would give me the result I was looking for. My childhood had already happened and the family dynamics I was trying to repeat with others would never change that. After much hurt and pain I realized that love and respect for the person I am had to start with me. I had to love me enough so I could stop trying to fill up the hole inside anyway I could. Last night, I had a chance to once and for all, rescue myself.
I’m at my parents’ home in Rio de Janeiro visiting. Again a situation came up where the old dynamics of me being pushed aside came up. The old wounds cracked opened and I was emotionally taken back to when I was a young girl and didn’t have my intellect to help protect my heart. And so I sobbed. I cried for all the hurt I still had within me from those days and all the hurt I had created because of them. When I realized my tears were not of pity but of compassion, I laid down on my bed, and replayed my entire life. I spent hours going through the original pain and everything I had done to quench it. It was a deep and difficult process but in the end I had embraced the child within me with love and compassion and had made her know she will never feel alone again.
I’m sharing this very personal episode in the hopes of inspiring others to take the journey within and rescue that which has and continues to cause pain in your lives today. We cannot change what has already happened but we can change how we feel about it. And we can learn to love and respect the people we’ve become.