There are those who, on the first signs of trouble, take to their beds and disappear down into a depressive funk. And their are those who would thrive on this same trouble. What is it that makes the difference?
The easy answer lies in how well we’ve been equipped for life during our developmental years. If wrapped in cotton wool, cosseted and pampered during childhood, we might grow to be fragile and overly sensitive to stress and worry.
Compared to someone who has grown up knowing little other than drama, stress and violence (physical and/or emotional) it’s certainly likely – the cosseted – will be less well equipped to deal with this side of life.
As strange as it may seem, a difficult childhood can leave us better equipped to deal with the inevitable stresses, of life. With this in mind, it’s true that children must be protected with appropriate boundaries and sensitive parenting, however, at the same time, we mustn’t overprotect them. We must find ways to equip them for the ups and downs of life in the best ways possible.
There are always alternative consequences to consider.
If we find ourself scarred, as a result of being inappropriately exposed to the violence of adult problems during childhood, rather than equipping us, we can develop conflicts that cause us to shift uncontrollably between emotional states. Sometimes we’re strong and on top of the world, and yet at other times, fearful and incapacitated.
So a childhood that can equip, can just as easily disable. It’s a little like the child who sees a negative comment from a teacher, for example, as confirmation of their poor self-belief, or uses it as a means to strengthen them. It can go one way or the other. Or is there an alternative to this black and white viewpoint?
Perhaps the ideal is the child who has the ability to remain indifferent to those who don’t actually understand how to love them. Consider the words: “You’ll never amount to much” are they based on fear or love? I feel the words: “Once you’re grown you’ll be free to choose” sound far more loving and empowering.
Coming back to the individual who’s likely to take to their bed at the first sign of trouble, we must understand, that this kind of behaviour is rooted in the past. It got them something then and the belief is it’ll get them something now. We could also call this a scar that has resulted in childish behaviour being echoed in adulthood. Conversely, if stress is seen simply as being part of life, then surly we’re able to simply brush troubles away, that would debilitate the adult-child.
Solving depression and developing a worry-free mind can seem complicated. The conditions and symptoms of depression or anxiety are simple to spot, it is unraveling the root causes, that are a little more complex. One thing is for sure, once we see how the present often echoes the past, we’re able to break away from behaviour that belongs there. Put your feet on the floor, put your clothes on, and walk away from the past.
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