From the moment one is born, one is exposed to different people. And at the beginning of their life, these people are typically caregivers. So in the majority of cases, ones first role models are their parents. This can then go on to include siblings, other family members and family friends.
As time passes and one gets older, this will start to include: teachers, friends and different influences from the media. The role models may change as one gets older, but they are always going to be there in some shape or form.
Children are often more susceptible that adults and so the kind of role models that one has as a child, can end up defining their whole life. How one views the world, the people in it and themselves, can come from these early experiences.
Make Or Break
And for some people, their first role models could either make them or break them. They might have been role models who were healthy and functional. Or they could be so unhealthy and dysfunctional that one never fully recovers from what took place in those early stages of their life.
Then there will be other people who manage to use these as examples of how they don’t want to be. So one is then driven to find examples of people who are different and to be different themselves and not simply live their life as a reaction.
But whether or not one does break away from early beginnings that were dysfunctional, will largely depend on the kind of role models that they come across in life.
What one learns through these early role models can depend on what they did and on how one interprets what they did. But there will be certain things that one learns during these early moments and these can include:
· What one sees as right or wrong
· If one has what it takes to achieve their hopes and dreams
· How they deserve to be treated and how others deserve to be treated
· The kind of relationship that one has with their body and emotions
· If one thinks they have a purpose or not
· How one views the same and opposite sex
· Whether other people can be trusted or not
· How one feels about their needs and if one deserves to have them
· What is normal in a relationship and what is not
· Whether one deserves to exist and is worthy of life
· If one feels they have of sense of control in life or if they feel powerless
There are many other consequences that can take place and these are some of the ways that one can be affected by what happens in their childhood years.
So it becomes clear that these early experiences can have a big impact on one’s life. And just because one can completely forget about what took place, it doesn’t mean that one has not been affected by what happened.
As humans are not perfect, caregivers are never going to get everything right. However, some will be extremely harmful and others will cause the odd challenge here and there. And what does happen will typically define the kind of role models that one needs to seek out as an adult to redefine themselves.
Healthy Role Models
The most important thing here will be to question whether what one believes and values matches up with who they are. It could be nothing more than what other people told them or what they came to believe as a result of how other people have treated them.
When one is clear about what they value and what they really believe, they can start to find people who are a reflection of what they believe or what they want to realise within themselves.
This can be done through watching films, reading books and spending time with certain people. Or one may want to take courses on specific things or find a mentor or coach.
Just because one had no choice in what they picked up as a child, it doesn’t mean that this still applies. One can let go of what doesn’t serve them and spend their time and attention on what does.
This is not to say that it will happen overnight, but then what does. Some things will be able to be changed fairy quickly and other things will take longer.
At times it could be a real challenge to change something and there may be things that seem impossible to change. And this is why it will be important for one to get in touch with who they really and to see where they currently are. This is likely to create pain, but this pain doesn’t have to become out of control.
It can be channelled into one taking the actions that they need to take, in order to be who they really are. Pain is then an ally and not something to be covered up or denied.
Like any kind of change or growth, the first step is awareness. If one is not aware of something then it won’t change, but once one knows about something not being right, it can be dealt with.
And if one is experiencing emotional challenges from what took place during those early years, it might be necessary to seek the assistance of a therapist or healer. Here, one will gradually get back in touch with their trapped emotions and feelings and release them.
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.