The origin of wonder
We spend the first 7, somewhat, years living from a place of curiosity, wonder and awe at how amazing the world is. We are fascinated by the mysterious and love spreading our wings. Babies laughing at the ripping of paper. Toddlers fascinated by puddles of rain. Young children playing superheroes or creating a world of possibilities up in a tree house.
And then we turn 30’sh and have long forgotten how to be joyful, trusting, creative and in love.
People ask me how they can ‘change’ their ‘angry’ or ‘worrisome’ nature. What I would like to show you is how you are not what you think you are. None of these emotions you have been carrying are yours. You have learnt to make them your best friend and they may have even worked very well for you. For the longest time, you may not even know who you are without them. I am here to share with you why I believe you are not defined by those emotions and how you may change.
A Psychoanalyst’s Perspective
In 1956, Erik Erikson (developmental psychologist and psychoanalyst known for his theory on psychosocial development of human beings) presented the Eight Stages of Development, he referred to as ‘The Eight Stages of Man‘. Each stage ends with a “psychosocial crisis,” which would demand resolution before we embark on the next stage. Kind of like the architectural structure of a solid house. Each floor has to have a solid grounding to be able to hold up the next floor.
Essentially, where Freud was the id psychologist; Erikson was the ego psychologist.
In a nut shell, here are the main themes for each theoretical stage:
- Hope: Trust Versus Mistrust. From infancy to the child’s second year, trust becomes the most important emotion to be certain of. If not nurtured, the child experiences his first psychosocial crisis and becomes insecure and mistrustful.
- Will: Autonomy Versus Shame. Between about 18 months to 4 years of age, the child begins to develop his or her identity. This is usually around the time they learn to say no and assert themselves or defy rules. That is a good thing ;), it means they are flexing their muscles. If the child is crippled, co-dependence sets in and marks another psychosocial crisis.
- Purpose: Initiative Versus Guilt. This stage revolves around the pre-school years. Here, children learn to broaden their skills, play with others and cooperate, lead as well as follow. Guilt, on the other hand, will stunt their growth, limit their expression and deepen their co-dependency.
- Competence: Industry Versus Inferiority. This stage may last all throughout high school, where children are taught the basic principles of life: rules, structure, mastery and accomplishment. A mistrusting child will become doubtful and cynical about what the future holds. A guilt-filled child will experience defeat and inferiority.
- Fidelity: Identity Versus Identity Diffusion. From 13-20 years of age, the child, now an adolescent, begins to ponder deeper into self-discovery. They try to break barriers and aim to acquire self-certainty and gradually develop a set of ideals. The major theme of this stage is experimentation across the board.
- Love: Intimacy Versus Isolation. This healthy young adult, who has experienced trust, autonomy, initiative… can experience true intimacy – the sort of intimacy that plays as a sharing of a personal expression with another.
- Care: Generativity Versus Self-Absorption. (Learn the meaning of Generativity HERE). The adult is now moving beyond self and looking at community and how to make a difference.
- Wisdom: Integrity Versus Despair. A healthy adult develops trust, independence and integrity. He works hard, has formed an independent identity, and knows who he chooses to be in the world. He can be intimate without guilt, he is proud of what he creates, he is expressive with his family, at work and expresses himself through passions (hobbies).
As you can see, it is a complex thing to grow into a healthy adult ;). That is why the core of any healing begins with love, compassion and connection. (More on that later).
The development of a healthy body, mind and soul takes place from the moment of conception. Every single moment of the child’s living experience is being imprinted, absorbed and stored within-it defines who that baby will become, how he/she relates with others as well as with self.
Did you know: that a mother’s genes carry belief systems and emotions. A child born to a mindset of a victim may inherit the victim mentality. Until a change is made in awareness, the manifestation of people, events and circumstances will play into creating a victim.
The field of Behavioral Epigenetics is all about that.
According to the new insights of behavioral epigenetics, traumatic experiences in our past, or in our recent ancestors’ past, leave molecular scars adhering to our DNA.
The Spiritual Perspective on Pain
Pain is very important in life, acting as our greatest teachers and catalyst for evolution. Watch how may people say they have emerged ‘stronger than ever’ as a result of suffering. When we are in the midst of the pain, it is not the time to think of the lessons behind it but to allow ourselves to feel the emotions and experience the feelings. This is where community and a support structure is paramount to a positive outcome. Unfortunately we live in a society that dwells on a facade of perfection and network of disconnection and isolation so we are all left alone with our misery.
There is no escape from pain since it’s an integral part of life. If we don’t know how to cope with it, it will consume us and we are unable to learn from it. The more we refuse to confront it, the more unbearable it becomes. The best way to deal with it is to accept it and watch it as a witness. A spiritually based perspective is to allow both pain as well as pleasure to guide you to unearth what is manifesting inside.
On a lighter note, let JP Sears share what NOT to do as a parent lol:
If you weren’t moulded by your parents during the first three to four years of your life, who would you be today?
P.S. Are we hooked up on Facebook? If not, c’mon over, hit the like button and introduce yourself! I’d love to meet you.