Reflections on my upbringing

I was not raised to question.  I was not raised to trust myself.  I was not raised to see possibilities or to color outside the lines.  I was not raised to truly feel.  I was not raised to imagine or dare. I was not raised to believe in myself.

I was raised to trust and obey authority.  I was raised to see in black and white.  I was raised to fear myself.  I was raised to see rules as ironclad, absolute, and unchangeable.  I was raised to leave behind everything child-like about myself after reaching a certain age.


I was raised to think.  And in thinking, I began to question, albeit not until after about 20 or so yrs of life.   And in questioning, everything began to change.

My mother has always chided me for being too trusting of people.  Today, I realized the irony in that critique.  In teaching me to fear myself and to NOT trust myself, what other choice did I have but to trust others?  Since they somehow knew more than I did or were better than I, as was implied.  This was how my fascination with others began.  I think part of the allure was that others seemed to have something I did not (since I was to rely on and trust them).  I think this is also one of the reasons why I looked to others to gain insight into my own self-perception.  In the end, it seems that I became the very thing my mother criticizes me for because of choices she made in teaching me how to view the world.

One of the ripples stretching out from how I was raised that has made itself known to me over the past few months is that of not being taught to believe in myself.  It is an amazing power – believing in one’s self.  I notice it every time somebody else pushes a minor boundary or a rule with innovative thinking that I never would have pushed, never would have even considered questioning.  Also, I am a natural leader, and yet, I have always stepped aside to let someone else take the lead, being content to follow.  Never believing that I could lead, that I was smart enough, good enough, etc. to do a good job.  Being able to follow is a very important quality, and over the past few months, during which I have assumed a handful of leadership roles, it has come in handy to be able to know the perspective of those I am leading.

I notice the obstacle of not believing in myself in my spirituality as well.   I have a hard time hearing my intuition because, though I ache for it to be better developed and can imagine what it would be like if it were, I have difficulty believing in my ability to discern what seems like a whispering voice.  Or, I hear it but then question whether that was really it and am left wallowing in uncertainty.  My disbelief in myself has drowned it out to the point where, although it could be screaming at me, I am just now beginning to hear its faint calling.

Now that I understand from whence some of the obstacles in my path have come, I am hoping that I can overcome them.  I think a very important part of that process is to revisit my childhood, rekindle the child within.  I also think it’s very important that I continually ask ‘Why?’.  I have started to listen and recognize the voice of my intuition, though it is definitely a work in progress.  In many ways, I feel like I am re-raising myself.  Being a single-parent in this regard is certainly challenging…


2 thoughts on “Reflections on my upbringing

  1. My self doubt has been one of the biggest obstacles or me, in all areas of my life and has put a strangle hold on my ability to truly listen and trust my intuition. I, like you, see it very much tied to the way I was raised.

    I was raised to believe I was not capable of doing anything, at least not able to do it well, or to trust my own opinions as they had no bearing outside of my own mind. That and having all feelings and emotions reduced to insignificant or unjustified made trusting anything that came from a source within almost impossible.

    Those kinds of wounds are some of the hardest to heal and overcome to where you can finally be able to trust that what you hold and carry in your depths is valid and worthy of the outside world.

  2. “Those kinds of wounds are some of the hardest to heal and overcome to where you can finally be able to trust that what you hold and carry in your depths is valid and worthy of the outside world.”

    Beautifully expressed and wonderfully accurate. At 26, I find myself re-parenting myself and nurturing all those areas that didn’t get nurtured the first time around.

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