Hello friends. This weekend, I led a workshop on discovering your truest self. We explored our core values, our personality type, and our archetypes. One of the things I was struck by was how our childhood experiences shape how we respond to the world for the rest of our lives, and that our teenage selves become warriors for our truth.
I asked the participants to recall significant memories from 3 periods of their life: the imprint years of birth to age 7, the formative years of 8-14, and the coming of age years of 15-23. You might want to do this for yourself — what are the positive and negative memories you have? What messages did you receive about yourself and the world during those times? What connections do these have to your values and the way you interact in the world through your career, relationships, interests, and self care?
Each person was able to see a direct correlation to aspects of his or her adult life. As humans, we tend to emulate the positive experiences we had and we find ways to moderate the negative ones. Sometimes, we avoid the thing we didn’t like (they teased so I’m not going to tease) and sometimes we do the exact opposite (they never talked about conflict so I am going to tackle it head on). This is where our teenager was kicking butt and taking names.
These new behaviors were really important for us to learn at one point because they helped us overcome a challenge. But sometimes, we can be hindered by patterns that once served us but may no longer be necessary. For example, it may have been quite vital that you learned to tackle conflict head on in your birth family, but is that approach the most effective at work? Or with your life partner? Do you need some more nuanced tools in your toolbox? Like being able to ask great questions that help others see the conflict without you being the one to lead the charge? In other words, does your inner teenager need to mature?
I know for myself, my inner teenager learned some really great skills for being seen and heard and she’s awesome at detecting bullshit. But she’s not very subtle at calling it out, and that doesn’t always jive with the mature working professional and mother I aim to be. My challenge is to listen to her when she’s tweaked without giving her the reins so that I can find a way to address the BS while keeping cool. So spend some time getting to know your inner teenager. She or he has some interesting things to tell you and I bet you could provide some great mentoring on maturity.