Who Stole My Innocence?
By: Kathy
October 28, 2012

I spent last evening with my dear friend and her 13 month old son.  Something struck me about him that I just couldn’t get over.  I kept trying to figure it out all evening.  I love babies, but it wasn’t just his cuteness factor (although this one was pretty darn cute!) So what was it?  Finally, as we were getting him ready for bed and I was playing with him on the changing table, it hit me. .  . he has a light in his eyes!  It was a sense of safety and purity and innocence. . . this is what it’s like before our innocence is stolen!

My children are grown and I spend most of my days around adults, so I rarely catch a glimpse of that innocence any more.  I think that’s why it struck me so profoundly.  It was a much needed reminder of how every last one of us entered this world – raw, pure, sweet, innocent.  We got to enjoy the freedom of no responsibility and the bliss of ignorance, we were there to be loved and cared for.  It reminds me of the cliché, fat, dumb, and happy!  Isn’t that what we all long for?  To be able to be loved completely, just as we are?

So who steals our innocence?  It’s certainly easy to blame parents who are blatantly abusive, neglectful, or otherwise irresponsible, but ALL kids lose their innocence at some point.  I suppose our job as parents is to delay it and minimize its impact as long as possible.  That is really all we can do.  The world will eventually disappoint and betray each and every one of us, for we live in a very imperfect world.

We begin pure and innocent but as our experiences and awareness expand, the betrayals begin.  Gravity will cause my friend’s sweet baby to fall, his parents will have to go to work, his friends will move, he won’t get the part in the school play, his body and mind won’t do what he wants it to do.  Parents, friends, strangers, siblings, spouses, kids betray us in all sorts of ways – intentional or not.  It’s like a snowball rolling down the hill!  The world, people, our bodies – will all betray us at some point!  Fast forward to age 45 and look at the accumulation of disappointments, hurts, betrayals!  Yikes!  Innocence? You’ve got to be kidding me!

My point about this is not to be depressing or dark, but to help us with self-forgiveness.  We begin in this world with a light in our eyes having absolutely no idea what to expect.  With very little road map or instruction on how to deal with disappointments and betrayals – big or small, we cope in the best way that we can.  We survive.  As our awareness continues to grow throughout our lives, we realize there were better ways to handle things – that’s called wisdom!  We aren’t born with it, it develops through our life experience.

When we don’t forgive ourselves for mistakes we make, we are essentially pounding on that sweet, innocent little boy or girl for not being born with the good sense to deal with all of the betrayals of life with the wisdom of a seasoned adult!  That is yet another betrayal – only this time, we are betraying ourselves.

While we can’t stop the betrayals of life, we can stop betraying ourselves.  We can stop expecting that life won’t disappoint us and stop beating ourselves up for not coping with life’s messes better.  We’ll never recapture the innocence we were born with, but we can stop being the one to chip away at it!