Thriving in the outer world depends on the knowledge of the inner world
Reference video: The One Subject You Really Need to Study: Your Own Childhood
Since childhood, much of our education has been focused on understanding the world around us. Generally curious by nature, we are able to observe the world around us, find patterns, predict outcomes, and even manipulate the environment around us to fit our desires. Systematic educational institutions further compartmentalize our observations into subjects such as math, science, language, the arts, and so on. From the time we exit the womb, we are observing and gathering information from all around us.
The further we go from infancy, the more we slowly develop an inner world, continuously shaped by our experiences and especially molded by our closest caretakers (or lack thereof). As we go through childhood and adolescence, much of the inner programming development that is happening, goes unnoticed and unaware from the child’s perspective.
While a “perfect childhood” is impossible, some of us may have integrated more maladaptive scripts that become the lens through which we interact with and see the world around us. Some examples can include the child who was chronically neglected and who will become the adult who has difficulties with anxious attachments and constantly blames themselves when faced with any social disagreement. As a child, one is unable to consider the possibility that maybe the caretaker is burned out at work, depressed, or just plain negligent. On the contrary, the script that is written will sound more like, “there must be something wrong with me,” “I am bad,” and “what do I need to do to make the people I depend on for my survival happy around me again?” Granted, the scripts are more felt than consciously thought out with verbose vocabulary, but the concept still stands.
Compounding year after year, feelings transform into unconscious inclinations, which transform into unconscious behaviors, which transform into unconscious worldviews. Volatile upbringings cause hypervigilance or dissociation, dramatically affecting how we interact with the world. An overprotective upbringing can contribute to difficulty bearing criticism and being able to engage in the process of discovery. The cycle can continue unabated through generations of people who are unaware of their particular skewed perspective or its origins.
But one of the advantages of becoming an adult, outside of being harder, bigger, faster, and stronger, is the ability to observe within. This is where we can start tweaking our lenses towards the world by introspective, neutral, non-judgemental observation of our inner thoughts, feelings, and childhoods. By being able to look into the past, we can start attempting to rewrite the scripts so deeply ingrained in us. And by rewriting the script within, we can gain the ability to fluidly shift between different perspectives.
The work can be exhausting and triggering, and there will be times where it will feel overwhelming due to the immense nature of the task. But by seeing our past as the reality it truly was, with all its various complexities as opposed to the traumatic imprints of our child self stamped in times of crisis, the better we can see the present world around us as the reality it is with all its complexities and maybe, after some time, its potential beauty.