In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “When Childhood Ends.”
Write about a defining moment in your life when you were forced to grow up in an instant (or a series of instants).
I come from the school of thought that believes we aren’t mature beings who know how the world works, or what the hell we’re doing now, just now, yesterday, or tomorrow. Really the majority of humanity is clueless while pretending otherwise, making it up as they go along. Most of us do a pretty good job of it, too!
Yes, there are instances in life which hurt us and leave their scars deep within. When a loved one dies or when our other half betrays us, we cease to trust. We lose a part of ourselves. We change.
But this is an emotional reaction; it’s cause and effect, almost a knee-jerk reaction. Who we are when lightning strikes determines how we react to it. It’s not a process of growth, it’s an exposé.
Rather, it’s the small things that make us change. When we snap at our colleague unprovoked, how many of us sit alone later in uncomfortable silence, and reflect on why we did it? Perhaps we were jealous. Perhaps we were afraid.
Self-reflection requires courage, courage to hear truths about ourselves that we would rather bury. It is not easy to confess, even to oneself, the ugliness that lies at the heart of the ugly things we do.
But it’s necessary. It isn’t self-debasement. When we listen with compassion to our ‘ugly’, neglected self, we come to understand that it’s just hurt, and lack of love. It’s a small curled up bit of nastiness that is really just the embodiment of our cry for help, for understanding, for love. When we can embrace all of who we are, we can listen to others with empathy, and understand when their bits of hurt act out.
That’s growth. That’s maturity. And it starts with reflecting deeply, not by reacting outwardly.