If part of who we grow into is based on genetics and the other part is based on how we were loved, then I’m not surprised that those who’ve spent the majority of their childhood feeling unloved never fully grew up.
Our parents or guardians are the first role models we’ll ever know. They decide how we lean on others, how we reciprocate kindness, and whether or not we give negativity the power to tear us down. Some might argue that having our support system yanked from under us in the times we need it most teaches us independence and self-reliance. And this may be true once we’ve established a solid footing in self-actualization, but if done too early, it can stunt our growth considerably.
How can we leave childhood behind if we were not finished learning the most crucial lessons of adulthood? If we have not been shown how to nurture, encourage, and love without condition, how can we be expected to understand their value? This isn’t to say that our past annuls our obligation to become respectable adults. It just means the teachings of youth will continue to speak to us throughout our lives. We may even be prompted to acknowledge our voids so that we can eventually fill them ourselves.
The voids that develop in our younger years are why many of us turn to sex, drugs, and self-sabotage. They are also the reason why we breed negative thought patterns that breed far worse outcomes. Like it or not, our parents were children once too. And their survival relied on someone else’s care. If this care fell short and was replaced by abuse, neglect, or even just the absence of affection, then it’s no wonder they went on to imitate what was familiar to them.
You are not at fault for what you were born into. You are, however, accountable for trying to be better than what you were taught. If your parents never hugged you, make a point of embracing others at every chance you get. If no one told you they loved you, then tell yourself you do. And don’t just say it, mean it. Nourish your body with the foods it needs to be a warrior. Escape the four walls of your bedroom and let the sun kiss your skin on occasion. Read for the sake of learning. Read for the sake of enjoying. Teach yourself a new craft. Give yourself the care you deserve, because if not you, then who?
Be the person who offers you praise for a job well done. Be the person who forgives your faults. Be the person who lifts you up when you’re face down in the dirt. As adults, there will always be someone who loves us from afar. But if we can’t mend the relationship we have with ourselves first, the rest is pointless.