Thankfully, our brains remain extremely flexible, thanks to something called brain plasticity or fluidity, which refers to the water like abilities of our brain to keep changing and adapting even as we get older - which is why we can learn new skills at almost any age.
Now it is important to keep in mind that changes to your behavior or thinking style as an adult is going to take a lot more effort and time - because while your brain can unlearn old ways that are no longer making you happy and replace them with new, healthy ways of life... the base template, the anchor for the change is still rooted in those early life experiences, and you're going to have to take one step at a time, with A LOT OF patience and self-care.
If you're embarking on this journey, then you're already setting yourself to do something that most people never dare in their lifetime. The only way you're going to be successful in this process, is if you make a choice to be compassionate towards yourself, and being patient with yourself. Put the capitalized words for emphasis on the screen.
So let's talk about two ways in which you can start changing the impact of your childhood, and start redefining how you live your life as an adult.
Identify what you want to change and why?
Visualize the change - Your brain can't achieve something that it doesn't know what it looks like. You want to change - great! But focus on what you want instead, not on what you don't want. If you keep thinking about you don't want - then that's all the context your brain has.
Try to define - what would be different in your life when you achieve this change? And how would you know when you are there? You could even get more specific - how are you thinking differently then vs. now? What are you doing differently then vs. now?
And this is the magic potion - visualize!
Find a role model
Someone who has what you want - put your jealousy or envy aside for a moment, and find someone who is where you want to be.
How do they think about things? How do they act in situations?
This will not only help you with the visualization, but will also help you figure out what are the first steps on the path you would need to take to get to those goals.
Now this role model could be someone you know - maybe an elder, maybe a friend or a colleague, or could even be a celebrity or a fictional character from your favorite novel or a movie.
It doesn't matter. What matters is that you have a role model to look up to.
Now stay with me because I want to share two potential pitfalls in this process, that you definitely want to watch out for to make sure that you succeed in this process, but first - let me know in the comments below which of these 3 steps do you like the most? I'm curious as to which of these are your least and most favorite! Pin the question on top of the comments section
And here is a bonus tip for you - when it comes to the impact of our childhood relationships on our adult social and romantic life, there's a whole another layer of something called attachment styles.
A potential pitfall to watch out!
Approach this process, one step at a time. Evaluate the next step when you have completed the first step - it's good to have a long-term vision, but not to have the whole journey mapped out
Because what you plan now will likely change - will hopefully change. With each step, hopefully, you'll look at things a little differently, you will think about them a little differently. And that will impact the path you're carving out for yourself at each step.
Watch out for your desire to believe that it's in the past. Maybe it is, or maybe it will be someday. But your strong desire to believe that everything you didn't like is in your past, and you have "moved on from it" and it "no longer impacts you" can keep you trapped in that denial, where you don't see how it might still be hurting you - so be sure to visualize your end goal, and check with that periodically to make sure that you really are past the finish line.
And this exactly that compassion for yourself and your journey comes into play. So be sure to be kind and patient.