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Letting Go of Childhood Limitations

Affirmation:  I let
go of my childhood limitations.

How can one be over the age of 50, 60, 70 and still be restricted
or controlled by emotions and concepts that influenced them as they were
growing up?  How can one not?  I’m speaking about those emotions and
concepts that deter us from true joy, that interfere with our ability to
completely savor and embrace life.  And, is it even possible to release
oneself, to become an adult in one’s own right?  Is it possible to grasp
the positive qualities that serve us and our loved ones and let go of those,
perhaps at least acknowledge and appreciate the experience but then let go of
those concepts that are damaging us?

Part of the creative process encouraged in Julia Cameron’s The
Artist’s Way
, is an examination of what one felt was lacking in their
childhood.  I was a lucky person.  Looking back on my childhood I remember a lot
of freedom and amazingly, even with all that freedom, I never experienced any
trauma.  My mother and my father worked
very hard and while my grandparents lived below our one bedroom apartment for
the first ten years of my life, that was about the extent of our family.  My father was an only child and my mom’s
siblings were more than a decade older than her and did not live close.  I grew up in Jamaica, Queens.  When the city was preparing for the 1964
World’s Fair, they took down all the trees along my street, Grand Central
Parkway, and I could actually see the Empire State Building from my house. 

It was not an inner city neighborhood but it was close.  Most of the houses were attached brick homes
with the driveway in the back alley.  We
had about ten square feet of lawn in the front and my dad paved over the back
yard so we had room to park our cars.  My
mom had a clothes line that went from the second story kitchen window to a pole
out back and she hung most of our laundry out to dry.  I would head out to play early in the day and
wouldn’t return until the street lights went on.  We played hard.  We skated, rode bikes, climbed walls and
trees.  We played tag, jumped rope and
played stick ball.  In the winter we ice
skated several miles from the house and rode our sleds down the back alley
driveways.  No one ever seemed to come
look for us and if you can imagine, we didn’t have cell phones!  We were free. 
We had a lot of choices.  I grew
up believing I could do anything.  I
wasn’t sure what that was or where it would lead me, but there were no
boundaries for me as a child.  I assumed
there wouldn’t be any for me as an adult. 
Oh, I was well aware of the fact that I was a girl but when it came to
running, climbing and skating, I was equal to any boy.  It wasn’t until college that I discovered
women were expected to only follow certain paths. 

After Julia has you examine what you thought you lacked as a
child, she then encourages you to find ways to parent yourself, to nurture
yourself.  You can’t begin to let go and
to heal until you recognize what it is you were missing.  Maybe you never felt loved enough.  Maybe you never felt valued enough.  My parents were so busy that I never felt I
received enough affection.  Of course, so
much of our childhood memories can be so skewed.  I once heard the story of a young woman who
recalled a fainting episode to her mother. 
She was shocked to learn she hadn’t fainted at all, it had been her
sister!  But, whether or not our feelings
are based on reality or perception, doesn’t matter.  They are our feelings.  I can still recall childhood incidents that
make me feel sad or happy or frightened and my childhood ended more than half a
century ago.  And now life moves
onward.  There are times when you need to
let go of any junk you feel about your childhood.  At some point if you hope to be healthy and
happy you simply need to “get over it.” 

I am my mother’s main caregiver.  I am very blessed because
at 90 she is still extremely healthy and independent.  I’m the oldest of
three and mom chose to move near me over 15 years ago.  She made the move
all by herself.  She likes to be independent and self- sufficient. 
It empowers her as it probably does most of us.  My prayer for Mom is that
she will continue to have joy and maintain dignity as she finishes out her
life.  I only want to love her and enjoy her presence. I want to be the
“good little girl” and make her happy.  I want to take whatever
steps needed to help her feel better, to make her happy.  I’m 66 years old
and the child in me still wants to please my mother but I know, this is a fact,
that no matter what or how much I do, I cannot please her long term.  I
cannot make her happy.  Sister Mary Margaret from A Place for Women to
Gather says, “Happiness is an inside job.”  There is only one person who
can make us happy, us. 

That’s why I create affirmations.  It’s all up to me what I
think, how I perceive life, how I feel.  I cannot remain the good little
girl and live frustrated and sad because of anyone. I must let go of ALL
my childhood limitations and embrace my own adult determination to create my
own happiness.  Have you looked at your childhood limitations?  Are
they interfering with the quality of your life?  Can you too release
them?  Do you want to?

A reporter went to interview a man who was very down on his
luck.  He had lost everything dear to him
and had fallen into a chronic alcoholic state. 
“Why do you think your life has turned out this way?” he asked.  The man shared with him that his father was
an alcoholic and he never held out much hope for himself.  Then the reporter went to interview the man’s
brother.  He was surprised to find him
leading a very happy, successful life. 
He decided to ask him the same question, “Why do you think your life has
turned out this way?”  The brother said,
“Well, for heaven’s sake, my father was a chronic alcoholic.  I watched him all through my childhood and
decided my life was never going to follow that path.” 

Life is all about our choices. 
We get to choose what lessons we want to learn from our childhood.  We get to decide if we’re going to carry the
sad, remorseful feelings with us into adulthood and let them weigh us down or
if we are going to learn the lesson, release ourselves from the limitations and
grow up healthy and happy.