Earlier today, I realized I made a mistake on FB yesterday and today, I’ve to spend an equal amount of time to delete what I wrote and redo it properly. For a non-techie like myself, this is a whole day's worth of work. Furthermore, inadvertently, this mistake might even have created a conflict with someone I have never met. This, after have been online for the past 3 years.
But that’s not the real issue. The real issue is how I spent the past few hours mentally berating and kicking myself. I feel quite depressed about this.
This experience helps me understand why I’ve been resisting - unbeknown to myself - doing certain things that might have helped me expand my presence online, establishing trust with my online followers and increasing my on-camera confidence.
More interestingly, it has less to do with my current adult self and more to do with my younger self, my inner child.
Yes, I’m about to get into pop psychology wisdom.
My parents were/are very demanding, critical and forbidding (as not to say abusive). Growing up, I didn’t receive positive feedback or support. It didn’t help that I wasn’t wanted as a baby. Just like many other Vietnamese parents (or East Asian parents for that matter), they wanted a boy as they already had a daughter. It also didn’t help that I was a shy and quiet child (any introvert reading this?)
My parents didn’t allow room for mistakes. Everything I did had to be good - if not perfect.
Whenever a mistake was made, the consequences were dire punishment. The criticism was harsh and endless, to the point of rejection. But as a child, I didn’t know that was not the right parenting. I took it as ‘normal’. Unbeknown to myself, I was so scarred by that kind of upbringing I became traumatized.
One of the results of that kind of upbringing was that I became afraid of making mistakes. In the mind of my younger self, making mistakes equals being severely punished, criticized and rejected. It’s too painful to make a mistake.
It took me more than 45 years to understand the negative impact of that detrimental upbringing. For years, I didn’t see myself as valuable and enough. Nothing I did was to my satisfaction or that of my parents. Heck, after 3 years of #healing, I still struggle to remember I’m valuable and enough just as I am.
So, today, when I realized the mistake I made, despite being equipped with effective and practical healing modalities, it took me hours before I got myself out of the victim’s pool of self-pity & self-criticism and onto applying the therapy to myself and move on to soothing myself.
I’m not healed by any means. Gosh, if it was that quick and easy, wouldn’t we all be healed from the #trauma we suffered in our #childhood?!
What happens now is I learn to differentiate myself from the upbringing I received from my parents. I learn to redefine my choices which have been influenced by them. I learn to differentiate myself from them. They’ve helped me become who I am today. However, as much of my today’s self is made up of their influence, I am unsure how much of me came from my own choices and how much of me is what they wanted me to become.
I’m not saying what they wanted me to become is a bad thing. I’m just saying as an adult, I’ve got to know what I truly want for myself, not what they told me I should have or want. In the same token, I also learn to parent myself, to be okay making mistakes, and create space for myself to be a good parent. As a parent, I don’t want my daughters to be traumatized by my parenting skills.
I still have much to do and learn as an adult, a self-employed person and as a parent. However, I’m grateful I live in a safe and supportive environment that provides plenty of opportunities to improve.
How has your upbringing influenced you? Do you allow yourself to make mistakes? How do you view mistakes?
Photo by Kat Jayne via canvadotcom