For some of us, painful memories stick like glue. These memories impact us so hugely that they crowd out the happy ones. It can appear that there were no positive experiences that we had as a child.


 If that is the case for you, it is healthier to challenge that thinking. If you think there were no happy memories at home, look for the ones outside the home. 


Somewhere, somehow, you were nurtured as a child. It may have been a relative or neighbor. It can seem like an affront to the painful memories to recall any good ones, but keep looking for the warm moments. Even if both parents were monsters, they had some good qualities, no matter how minuscule. Make it OK to invite the pleasant memories to surface.  You can still keep the unhappy ones. Since you survived long enough to read this blog, you were sheltered, clothed, fed and schooled. Therefore, you were nurtured, however poorly it was done. 


While not here to tell you to shut off the bad memories and get all positive, I’m here to say there was painful and pleasant in every life. It is realistic to look at both. If you cannot look at the bad memories and want to see everything wonderful in your past, go for it, as long as you do not openly oppose anyone else’s experience. Despite the awful memories, if you cannot look at the good memories and see only the hurtful ones, you may be doing yourself, and others, a disservice.  


Also, it is easy to forget that it is universally true that no one has all easy, pleasant experiences.  So to expect that we should, is unrealistic.  

To start you off with remembering the pleasant …

Remember a time when you laughed as a child.

Remember a time when you played with a ball.

Remember a time when you proudly wore nice clothing.

Remember a time when you happily conversed with a new friend.

Remember a time when someone did something kind to you.  

Remember a time when you won at a game.


These may seem simple. You may want to discount these small joys. Yet, these memories can dispel the myth that your childhood was all bad. The more you dwell on the happy times, the more you will find balance, no matter how terrible your childhood. To remember the positive does not discount the pain. It is about refocusing your view and recognizing the whole picture. Your foundation does not have to be totally one dimension. Allow yourself the simple pleasure of enjoying the pleasant memories.


For me, I recall bouncing balls against the side of the house. At a young age, it was a delight to catch it and do it again and again. Even chasing after a missed ball was fun. Later, I played baseball, starting at age six with a hard ball. My older brother, the boys in neighborhood and I teamed up every summer to play ball near our home. Holding my own as a girl in that competing world was thrilling. No amount of pain by getting hit with a fast hard ball, ever slowed my enthusiasm. Even though I could hardly stand upright due to respiratory challenges, I ran to bases as needed. That fun was part of what developed my determination and perseverance to get through the rest of my life. Life has its rewards.


How about you? What do you remember?