Hurricane! Childhood Strategies: Shaping Our Identities
In the company of over 300 people during a storm-induced lockdown, the hurricane exposed unexpected facets of my personality and those around me. We spent 19 hours in a theater with our own pillows and makeshift beds, sometimes beside strangers until the worst of the storm passed. I assumed the “no bother” role, echoing my obedient childhood self.
Despite the adventurer in me yearning to experience the fury of the hurricane, with winds approaching 100 mph, we chose safety by remaining in our windowless shelter. Around the 15-hour mark, some grew agitated, yearning for freedom. My intention isn't to recount events or boast of bravery; it’s to explore how we respond to adversity.
As a moderate introvert, I sought solace by wrapping myself in my thoughts. Extroverts congregated in hallways and restrooms, recharging through social interaction. I, however, needed to conserve my "batteries" and embraced the "no bother" strategy to cope.
Childhood Strategies – What’s Yours?
Childhood strategies aren't inherently good or bad; they serve as the means through which we seek visibility and love within our families when we’re kids. These strategies align with what our parents or caregivers approve of, shaping how we get the love and attention we need. Take a moment to reflect on these strategies, both in yourself and your siblings: the good boy, good girl, pleaser, no bother, humor, overachiever, rebel, shy, sickly, invisible and peacemaker.
As adults, these childhood strategies can continue to influence our behavior, serving as coping mechanisms during times of stress or challenging situations. However, they can also be updated if they no longer serve us.
The Power of Updating a Strategy
Updating a childhood strategy may involve acknowledging its impact and consciously making adjustments. For instance, if, as a child, you adopted a "no bother" strategy, you may have learned not to not ask for what you want. As an adult, you can voice those desires by asking for what you want. This is updating an old strategy to better fit who you are today. This transformation enables you to strike a balance between your inherent coping mechanism and the evolving needs of your present life.
Sheltering with colleagues from a company I've worked with for years was a silver lining. We reminisced, played games, and chatted in our makeshift bedding wing, bonding through shared experiences in the dimly lit theater. I don't regret those moments; they were both challenging and heartwarming.
Life tests us with stressors, like Hurricane Norma in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. How we handle the next surprise or challenge is our choice.