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  • Coach Shonda McCray

Environment


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How emotions from your past can affect your future.

Are you the product of your environment? That’s a pretty loaded question, isn’t it? To give an honest answer may require you to root around in your mind and dig up memories that you’ve honestly never have dealt with. “Isn’t it better to just accept the person you are now, love yourself into healing, and move on with your life?”


That would be ideal, right? It would be great if we were wired to shut out the negative experiences of our past and keep only the positive ones. It would be great if our relationships were not impacted by the things we went through, the complex emotions that developed, and the mindsets passed down from our family’s generational lines. Unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world, and all those things do happen to us.


There is good news!


God is a restorer of years and a healer of brokenness. He desires that we live in a good mental, physical, and emotional state. To get to this state, we first have to be honest about who we have become and how we got here. In my book "He Should Have Left Me" I wrote a much more detailed path. However, I am sharing some snippets in this blog. Here I will breakdown a few more things to help you or someone you know on their journey. Let’s dig in!


The meaning of nature vs. nurture

The conversation around “nature/nurture” suggests that human individuality is due either to genetics or the place in which the individual grew up. Scientists have concluded that reality is complicated (no kidding), and these factors are useful tools for determining what makes us so different.


Nurture is very “environment” focused and those who believe that we are products of nurture also think that our environment helped shape our identity. Your environment consists of more than your parents or your family. It also consists of the era you grew up in, how you think, and your peers.


How your family shaped your life

Many of the things we accept as truth were taught to us by our families. The way we view and handle money, the words we use when dealing with conflict, the people we deem significant in society, and other predispositions were taught to us. These influences were not all bad; as a matter of fact, there are many positive influences that we can testify of as well.


If you grew up in a faith-filled household, then you may have learned about the gift of prayer. You may have been taught life skills such as cooking, cleaning, and the basics of good hygiene. You probably were taught the value of family bonds and connections.


And then there was trauma (Holy hell).

Trauma is the poison that ruins positive memories. Childhoods have been damaged or destroyed, faith has been lost, relationships have ended, all as a result of trauma. From church hurt to emotional and sexual abuse, trauma is no respecter of persons. What we internalize from these positive and negative experiences come together to make us who we are now.


The root of relationship problems

Your relationship with your partner began long before you actually met. Stay with me here; I haven’t gone crazy just yet. The way we relate to each other and treat people is decided long before we actually meet them.


Think about it. How do you respond to a pastor when he walks up to you to shake your hand in church? How do you deal with criticism? What goes through your mind when a handsome young man or beautiful woman approaches you as opposed to someone who is not really your type? You are already prewired for some of the questions above because of what you have taught your mind. Don’t get lost with me on this. I will come back and make this clear by the end.


You consciously or subconsciously made up your mind

Regardless of your response, chances are your reaction would be the same if the incidents repeated themselves all week. That is because you’ve already made up your mind. You have trained your mind to think a certain way.


Our childhood experiences and our parents’ relationships with us have influenced certain thinking habits. Milan called this imprint “love-style.”. Our early love lesson was perfect for some of you However, many people have had painful experiences and have had unhealthy feelings like myself.


Five unhealthy love styles

In marriage, there are five love styles that lead to problems. These are avoiders, vacillators, pleasers, controllers, and victims. These styles are created from several imprints during childhood. Let me provide a snippet.


The controller and the victim

Children in chaotic home environments can become controllers or victims. Those young adults afraid of being abused become victims early on. I didn’t make this up, go look at the statics for yourself.


When children become controllers, they learn:

1) to accept intolerant behavior,

2) that control is theirs if they want it.


The vacillator


- Child vacillators

While waiting on shows of affection from their parents, vacillating children are hypersensitive towards the signs of connection and rejection. Long waiting periods or disconnection made them feel forgotten or invisible.


- Adult vacillators

As adults, the vacillator is searching for the gratifying, constant connection that the child misses. They idealize new friendships and relationships and feel insecure or detached when their partner can’t spend as much time with them as they desire.


The pleaser


- Pleaser child

Pleaser children don’t want their parents to be worried or angry. They think that managing their parents’ emotions is their responsibility and so try to soothe a frustrated parent or calm a shaky parent’s fears.


- Pleaser adult

Pleaser adults avoid conflict and fear being honest with themselves or their partners and cannot talk about anything upsetting, no matter how important it is.


The avoider

Avoiders grew up in homes that encouraged independence and minimized (or even prevented) the expression of thoughts and feelings.


As adults, they are more resistant to emotional distress and need. They lack empathy and see sensitivity as a weakness, not a strength.


Stop right here, friend! Which one fits you? Don’t worry you don’t have to answer that out loud and if you did, I wouldn’t judge you! Non-judgmental zone. However, If I had to be transparent, I use to be the child vacillator and the avoider.

Our environment (whether positive or negative) matters.

As we continue on our journey, we choose companions from the menu of options that life presents to us, filtering them through the lens of our previous experiences. We create a narrative in our head about each idea, and in every interaction, we look for things to support your narrative.


The story that you tell yourself will feature characters from your environment. Friends that inspired you, mentors that guided you, family members that loved you, strangers that were kind to you, they all matter just as much as the ones who betrayed, disappointed, and hurt you. Some are hard pills to swallow but this is true.



God holds the pen that can change your story

If you had a well-adjusted childhood, then I am happy for you. If you, however, feel like you’ve been cheated out of what was supposed to be the natural progression of your life as a result of trauma, negativity, or someone not playing the role they were meant to in your life, then God has you covered. Amen!!


God’s word says He heals the brokenhearted, and He binds up their wounds. It doesn’t matter how old these wounds are or how far back they go. He is willing to take you out of your cycles of depression, anxiety, bitterness, hatred, and unforgiveness and move you toward the light of His Spirit.


Finding inner peace in Jesus

Reiki healing, balancing your chakras, burning sage, crystals, and wearing moonstones cannot bring you inner peace. To be honest those things open up other doors but this is not the blog for that and I ain't no minister. Go to your pastor and talk to him/her about sages, crystals, and stones. Let me carry on.


In those things, you may experience positive effects, but those rarely last and again you open up other doors. The peace that God gives us surpasses human understanding. We don't need any objects to obtain real peace... The world cannot give it or take it away. It comes from renewing your mind daily by focusing on His truth.


Instead of believing the enemy’s lies that you are nothing more than your environment, mindsets, and limitations, push back with the truth of God’s word. Read about men like Joseph and women like Leah who grew up in chaotic households feeling unloved, unwanted, and endured years of trauma. Testify how God took that narrative and rewrote it with the ink justice, restoring lost years and granting them peace. The lord recently took me to the story of Leah and allowed me to see some similarize in my own life. There are so many characters in the bible that mimic the areas of our own lives. It's truly amazing.


My Final Thoughts

God is in control of your future, He is here in the present, and He can undo the pain you feel from your past. If you let Him, He will use your story of heartache and mourning to transform not just your life but others. All things can work together for good in your life if you trust, love, and obey the Lord. He will take control of your emotions and help you develop healthy bonds that minister to your spirit, regardless of your past.


I hope that you've enjoyed this week's journal entry. My goal is to send love and encouragement to you and your household. Wherever you are in your journey, know that you are not alone. God is with you...


Thank you for reading.


© I am Coach Shonda


Disclaimer: If you're reposting my blogs, please tag me and or mention me as the author on social media or any other platforms. All blogs are copyrighted by the U.S. Copyright Office. Please by all means share, but put some respect on my name.


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