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Changing Perspectives, Same Little Kid

Christina grew up with an alcoholic parent. Today she is a mom to two awesome children who teach her more than she ever thought possible.

Mirror Image: Sometimes, What You See In Your Brain Doesn't Match The Mirror

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Growth Takes Work

With apologies to RuPaul, when it comes to growth, "you betta werq!"

Seriously. Getting past personal obstacles - even if some of those obstacles involve your past - takes a lot of work. It's really easy for anyone of us to say that we don't know any better about something (say, our behavior), or that we're grown and can't change because we're adults.

Saying we don't know better because we're grown is a convenient excuse thrown out by people afraid to make a change in their lives. Realizing that on its own, though, is hard. We embrace our pasts like a warm blanket, sometimes, even when it's perhaps emotionally uncomfortable to do so. We know that the mindset that didn't work needs to be changed, as well as our own set demeanor, but we cling to the familiar out of habit instead of feeling safe.

The problem is, as we grow and become the people we are destined to be, we sometimes aren't sure how to overcome our own pasts in order to have the mindset we need for success in the future. It's easy to behave as we always did and then decide that somehow we are deserving of the misfortune that results. It's easy to hang on to past ways of thinking because we have lived through childhood traumas, whether that be parents who are addicted and say and do things that they otherwise would not if sober, or treatment by friends and other family members that can only be described as abusive in one way or another.

It's easy to hang on to our pasts, because the past is familiar, even if it hurts. It's like putting on a favorite pair of shoes even though there's a hole in them; we are somehow insistent that the shoes are fine when in reality they should have been disposed of long ago.

However, as humans, we are designed by nature to strive for constant growth. I'm not talking just physical growth - that's a given - but our emotional growth is critical as well. We should be able to stop ourselves from hanging on to prior mindsets that no longer serve a function and move forward.

That's not to say that when we're working on that we don't or can't slide into prior habits. It's like a smoker trying to quit; the smoker might be doing just fine for weeks, but then stress might get too high, or they might be in an environment where they're used to smoking, and they might have a smoke. That doesn't mean that they are forever destined to be a smoker, and it doesn't mean that you're forever destined to think or view yourself only in one way if you slide back into old modes of thinking.

It takes a heck of a lot of work to change your mindset. You might have had years where you've looked in the mirror and believed every last negative thing about yourself. Finally, that first time you saw yourself and thought you looked great, or that you could handle whatever life could throw at you during that day, there might have been a piece of you shocked by that sudden, positive thought.

Here's the thing, though; once you realize that you've had a positive thought about yourself, it's not so hard to build on that. Not that your ego is suddenly blown up by the change, but all of a sudden, you're able to realize perhaps you're not necessarily as low as that negative mindset might have tried to convince you. It doesn't mean your life is suddenly perfect and that things are great, but it does mean that perhaps you can start pushing away negative thoughts.

You can start working towards ongoing growth and realizing that you can change your headspace. You can start realizing that you do have the strength within and that you don't have to live as a victim to the past that impacted your headspace and ultimately, your worldview.

Regardless of what happened to create that core belief that you should believe negatively about yourself, it is possible to work beyond that and grow past that dark headspace. It takes work, and patience, and determination to not let that darkness win, but you can make it happen.

The child you once were will appreciate the change, too.