A Whole New You: Understanding ACEs

Does this sound familiar? You or someone close to you complains of feeling stuck in a situation whether it’s a job or relationship pattern. No matter how uncomfortable it becomes, though, you/they can’t seem to break free. The rut you’re in gets deeper and deeper and it seems there’s no way out. You wonder, “Where does it end?”

It’s possible that there is a more appropriate question: Where did it start?

As I’ve stated in previous blogs, coming across the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACE Study) was almost a spiritual experience. When I first read the research, I was curious about the data revealed through the ten question ACE test. Although the report was fascinating, it was when I took the ACE Test myself that I realized a whole different application for the findings. Through my own AHA moment, which was inspired by the outcome of my test score, I knew my life had changed. It became my mission to share the information with a broader audience. I am convinced that many more people would make better life choices for themselves if they understood—and I mean really understood—the power your childhood can continue to hold over you well into adulthood.

The more I shared my own AHA moment with others, the more I realized just how many people outside of the health care industry are unaware of how childhood experiences can affect habits, social behaviors, and physical health later in life. With this knowledge, I set myself up to reach as many people as humanly possible. Through sharing the stories in my book, in podcast interviews and through my speaking engagements, I work tirelessly every day to get the message out.

How ACEs May Be Impacting Your Life

I think most people would agree that stress is a normal and healthy part of human development.  It may even be very valuable in circumstances where you need to get motivated. It can help you face a challenge head-on or complete a task that has a short lead time. In those cases,  the resulting emotion of stress can be feelings of accomplishment. I’m sure you can think of a few times in your life when this has been the case. However, research shows that frequent or prolonged periods of stress in childhood without adequate adult support can disrupt brain development, which can cause issues well into adulthood.

How Do You Know If You’ve Experienced ACEs?

Discovering if you have experienced ACEs is the huge step on your path to self-discovery.

Before taking the ACE Test, though, I’d like to invite you to give these few questions some thought.

1) Do you struggle in relationships?

a) Do you have difficulty voicing your opinions and feelings?

b) Do you too often find yourself saying “yes” when you want to say “no”?

c) Do you discount your feelings regularly to keep others happy?

d) Do you overlook negative traits to focus only on the positive?

2) Do you often feel insecure or unsafe?

4) Are you prone to emotional outbursts?

5) Do you have a difficult time connecting to and describing your emotions?

6) Do you grapple with addiction?

Now that you’ve given this some quick consideration, it’s time to take the ACE Test. The link will take you to a downloadable version.

Incorporating Curiosity in Understanding How ACEs May Be Impacting You

It’s been my experience that people cringe when it comes to looking at the stressful events of their formative years. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say, “Ugh, I don’t want to think about that. It’s over and done.” Believe me when I say I get that! It’s an understandable way to feel. But what I’ve learned is that if there is something holding you back in your career or relationships, it’s likely that the impact of that event is not over and done with. It’s still there holding you back from living the life you desire. The good news is that with a little curiosity and a whole lot of courage and openness, you can begin to see these events from a different perspective—a more truthful perspective. From there, the path forward is a whole lot easier.

I’ll be curious to hear how you make out with the ACE Test. It’s a simple and easy test that took me less than ten minutes. If you’d like, feel free to email me at Christina@letmylegacybelove.com to share your results. I’m here, and I want to help.

Next week, we’re going to start exploring the real meaning of courage. I think this will be fun, so please join me!

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