Looking at your own lost innocence 

I’m working on a program called Recovery Nation.  The most recent exercise basically asked me to look into my own eyes when I was a child of 3, 4, or 5-years old.  When I do this, I already sense possible roots of my problems.  Even back then, I lacked confidence, confidence that I am still working to develop.

I remember feeling weak and fearful when I was in kindergarten.  I was embarrassed by those feelings, but did not try to overcome them.  Those feelings made me want to look away from the other kids, to not interact in the same world with them unless they interacted in ways where I did not feel inferior.  For example, when the kids engaged in imaginary play, I joined them.  But, when they slid down the pole of the jungle gym, something I was afraid to do, I walked away, retreated into my own world, and just wished things were different.

I think the theme here that I carried forward in my life was the problem of retreating into my own world and wishing life was different, rather than courageously facing my fears. Given how I was truly afraid of, for example, sliding down the fire pole, I really can’t imagine what I could have done differently.  I also can’t imagine what my parents or teacher could have done differently.  I guess the important thing is that now I am conscious of things I can do differently, today and going forward.

As an aside, I’m curious to know the point of this exercise.  Is it to encourage me to care for myself?  If so, I wonder whether that is really a problem. It seems to me that my years of lying and cheating came from failing to care about other people, not from failing to care about myself.  On the other hand, maybe the point of the exercise is to identify some coping mechanisms I have used since childhood.  In my case those seem to be retreating into an inner world and wishing my struggles away.

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