Did you have a tough childhood? Childhood is often painted as an idyllic time in life that is full of innocence and the freedom to soak up the love of an adoring family. And this, while making beautiful memories along the way. Unfortunately, that is not the case for many children who are forced to deal with serious stressors at an early age.
While no one likes to think about it, divorce, frequent moves, abuse, and even something as unavoidable as a long-term illness can all ruin what should have been a time full of happiness. While you can’t turn back the past, it is good to know that many children will overcome their tough backgrounds to become confident and happy adults.
Since childhood represents the most formative years in life, it is baffling to understand how anyone could benefit from being played a bad set of cards. While it is naturally important to insulate children from hardship, it is also just as important to recognize the power of the human spirit to turn adversity into a learning experience.
Although it is impossible to represent the full scope of what enduring a rough childhood entails, those who emerge from the rubble find they have these following unexpected strengths as adults.
8 Unexpected Strengths That Come From A Tough Childhood
- Gratitude for Where You Are Now
Many people go through life fruitlessly chasing the next big thing out of the belief that it will lead to happiness. However, you learned long ago that the simple things in life are all it takes to be happy. The sense of relief you get from knowing that you no longer have to live in a painful past gives you a deeper appreciation for the present.
- Resilience in Times of Hardship
Children dealing with issues beyond their control quickly learn how to adapt to any situation. Whether you bounced around a lot as a child or had to deal with things such as poverty, you learned how to make the best you can out of whatever is happening at the moment. Now, when adversity strikes, you bounce back quickly and make a plan to improve your situation.
- Determination to be a Good Parent
Unfortunately, poor parenting skills are often at the heart of a rough childhood. Perhaps your parent wasn’t attentive or they struggled with addiction. Whatever your parents’ flaws were, you have committed to banishing them from your parenting strategy. In fact, this determination has led you to read books, attend therapy, and reach out to others when you get stuck so your child knows their well-being is your utmost concern.
- Instinctual Ability to Assess a Situation
You can quickly size up a newcomer in your social circle or feel the rumblings of change in the workplace. Your friends even comment upon your uncanny way of knowing when they are upset and how your advice is always spot-on. This all comes from watching out for yourself at an early age. Your natural gut instinct has been honed to perfection by the time you are an adult.
- Forgiveness of Yourself and Others
Everyone has flaws, you learned that at an early age. Yet you also learned to embrace the best in people. Although there is a fine line between letting people hurt you over and over and forgiving, you tend to walk it well. Learning to accept mistakes from yourself and others while moving on is part of what makes you a cherished member of your family and social circle.
- Emphasis on Quality Communication
Whether you dealt with bullies, mean parents, or abusive caregivers, you learned quickly that how you say things makes a big difference in how others respond. From watching your parents bicker to seething inside when you were afraid to speak up to an authority figure, you decided at some point to make effective communication your goal. Negotiating and mediation are some of your better-known qualities that help you out in every area of your life.
- Intense Focus and Creativity
During your rough childhood, you likely sought out ways to escape that turned into amazing talents. Adults from tough backgrounds tend to be creative and capable of focusing intensely on a project. Those long hours spent practicing your favorite sport or perfecting your guitar technique may have served as a way to zone out at the time, but they also taught you how to set your mind to a task and focus on self-improvement.
- Compassionate Nature
You still remember the challenges you encountered as a child and would do anything to ensure that it happens to no one else. For this reason, rough childhoods tend to lead to an increased desire to help others. Volunteering, heading charity projects and simply choosing to reach out to someone who is hurting are all normal things for a person who overcame trauma in childhood. By choosing to use your strengths to improve the world instead of focusing on your trauma, you are able to turn your rough past into an opportunity to build a better future.