What you learned about pain in childhood is likely showing up in your body and relationships as an adult.
For example: my mom became terrified any time I wanted to explore the edge of a cliff or run into the ocean as a child; I learned that my adventurous nature could be deadly and she would prefer that we avoid anything bad happening. Polarizing her, my dad’s idea of teaching me to swim was literally to throw me into the deep end of our pool when I was 7, yelling “Your options are: learn to swim, or drown!” I immediately became an expert doggie paddler.
(Before you go thinking my dad was heartless and cruel, I’m actually grateful for this side of him! It taught me to be resourceful, and it created a middle ground where my mom was concerned, because he seemed to have no fear at all of me getting hurt while doing something brave or adventurous).
My mom got so freaked out when I injured my arm in gymnastics at age 7 (I fell off the balance beam and slightly sprained my arm) that she took me out of the sport and I had to beg her to let me go back at age 10.
The first lesson (my mom’s reaction to me falling off the beam) was: pain is to be avoided; it’s better to shrink your world and avoid potential pain than to risk injury by engaging in sports.
The second lesson: I have to really, really want something bad enough to override the installed belief that pain should be avoided. (I think I’m still working this one out believe it or not! For example, the only sports or activities I engage in are ones I can’t imagine living without, and I haven’t allowed myself to pursue new sports or injury prone ones like skiing. I avoid sports that could hurt me if they’re new to me and the risk is higher than sports that are more familiar).
I hope my examples are helping make sense of this for you!
Our orientation to pain as adults was first ingrained or “installed” in us like a program when we were little.
Our response to those experiences, the meaning we gave to each powerful experience, shape how we respond to pain now as adults.
In order to FREE yourself from the patterns that your family, friends or teachers imprinted on you when you were a child, you have to first become aware of them. Then, you have to create your own beliefs about pain. And, give yourself permission to continue evolving those beliefs.
The video contains more concrete examples and questions I ask to get you in touch with the patterns that were imprinted on you in childhood. I hope you enjoy this one and find it useful! Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.