The term arrested development is used to define physical growth that is not complete. The increased work that psychologists are doing now on the topic of the ‘inner child’ proves that a myriad of adults are suffering from a psychological arrested development. Do we ever really grow up? Are we all suffering from Peter Pan syndrome and just don’t know it? Iyanla Vanzant is famous for her work on Oprah’s OWN channel, with her series Fix My Life. She often asks the client to retrace the steps of their lives to find out where they have gone astray. Like any good mentor or psychologist she helps the person to discover where they are, how they got there and how they are going to get back on track. “In all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3v6).
Traumatic experiences can stunt your growth mentally but do facing these demons make them go away? We all deal with negative experiences I think its all part of the balance of life. As a teacher whenever I see children making fun of others I sit back and watch in the hope that the bullied child will stick up for themselves. I know this sounds horrible but I see it as a learning curve, I see it as an opportunity to grow. This world can be harsh and they need to develop thick skin, its sink or swim. That may not always the best method and anyone that knows me knows that I’m always an advocate for the underdog, but just like how you build muscles in a gym, we also need to build up resistance from the lessons in life. I do think that going back in time and reviewing our mistakes are helpful, but one thing that we all have and that is new every morning is choice. “…I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse; therefore choose life (Deuteronomy 30v19). The Chinese practice an ancient religion called the Tao which literally means “The Way” and its philosophy is all about submitting to the natural path or way of life. If you don’t go against it everything shall flow. Its when you go against the way that life becomes hard.
Anyone can play the blame game and point fingers at parents, friends and even exes but in life we all have a choice. I heard a story once that I’ll never forget as long as I live because it changed my life, it was about twins who had an alcoholic father and when they had grown up one was an alcoholic and they other never touched alcohol. When someone asked the alcoholic twin why they drank they replied “My father was an alcoholic, the other twin was asked the question “Why don’t you drink?” and they replied “My father was an alcoholic”. This ultimately sums up what I’m saying in a nutshell, we all have choices, some people beat their children because they were beaten and some don’t for the very same reason. What choices do you have before you today? Are you going to allow the things of the past to stunt your growth or are you going to change the misfortune to fortune?
Sometimes we look at people lives and think wow how did they get into such a rut, or downward spiral? Sometimes its a series of bad choices, sometimes its a series of unfortunate events that was no fault of their own, but they still have a choice in how they view the situation. Will it make you or break you? Its the stories and testimonies of people before and after your existence that encourage you to succeed and push forward in life. Working on your inner child is great, but recognizing the choices we have on a daily basis is even better.