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A Better Life

By Bill Elbring

Through childhood we experienced happiness and hurt in several varieties - colored by fear, excitement, love and sadness. No matter what childhood experiences we had, we learned to cope and accept or we might not have survived so well. As children we sometimes chose coping strategies that were effective while we were young and in need of special understanding. Then we grew into adulthood unconsciously clinging to those same beliefs and strategies that served us when we were otherwise unable to protect ourselves.

In short, kids adapt their beliefs to accept almost any kind of childhood and grow to think of their upbringing as normal. Even some who are clearly abused grow up thinking that life is just "that way." As they get older, those who adjusted to and accepted an unhealthy belief system (some authors say that's most of us) find that their adult relationships do not bring them the joy and fulfillment they dream of. As life ticks by, the pain of reality can become intolerable.

Some of us turn to food, some to drugs, alcohol, sex, work or religion to numb the pain. Many use a combination. Yet, we do not find the peace we seek. We just become more desperate. And all the while we would like to deny that there is abiding pain in our lives - especially if we figure that life is just "that way."

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