We all have a story. And more specifically, we all have a vivid memory of at least one event in childhood that scared us. Or maybe it made us feel like we weren’t enough – like we were wrong or bad. And this memory may still haunt us and make our heart hurt for that little child that endured the moment and wasn’t able to comprehend what was really happening. At the time, all we really wanted was to be happy and loved and to give love and happiness right back.
When these moments happen to us as kids, we often find ways to cope. And sometimes that may mean suppressing a part of ourselves, sometimes without even realizing it.
When I was a kid, my trait was my sweetness. I was the sweetest little girl. My mom tells the story of how when I was 3 and my Grandma was in the hospital, I tried to give my teddy bear to my Grandpa to make him feel better. I was obsessed with my bear and thought if it made me feel better; it would surely make him feel better too!
But over the years, my sweetness was bullied out of me. I was teased relentlessly for how I looked. And because of that, I learned how to build up walls around me. I lost my ability to be vulnerable. I became the funny girl – to get attention and to be anything but the sweet girl. Being the sweet girl meant pain and I wasn’t about to bring on any more pain then I had already experienced.
So imagine my surprise when several years ago I met a guy at a party on New Year’s Eve who told a mutual friend of ours how sweet he thought I was. My initial instinct was an audible laugh. I remember telling some of my girlfriends what he said about me and they all laughed too. To me and to my friends, “sweet” was not the first word that came to mind when describing me.
But something about hearing this struck me deep. It awakened a part of my authentic self that I’d buried away. It was shortly after this that I started on my journey inward, part of which was reclaiming that sweetness. And now when people tell me I’m sweet, I say thank you, because I know it’s true.
I share this story because I’ve found that many of my clients have had a similar experience of denying a part of themselves because of a negative experience early in their lives. But when we can unearth these pieces of ourselves that have been hidden away, we can claim our true selves and discover a whole new freedom in our lives.
So I ask you – what part of yourself have you locked away? Are you ready to reclaim it? Share with me in the comments below!