“What kind of parent are you to yourself”? It may seem like an unusual question to ask you but it is a vitally important one. As adults we all have what has come to be known as an inner child. This is the child part within us that we brought with us from childhood into our adult lives. Even though we are now mommies and daddies the truth is that our inner child will be with us forever.
Your inner child is such an incredible part of who you are. It is where your needs and desires and wishes and dreams and fears and joys come from. And all that your inner child wants is to be recognized, loved and honored. Yet many of us parent our own inner child in unkind ways. I was shocked when I first learned this about myself. Take for example, ignoring our inner child’s deepest needs, telling our inner child to go away, to stop bothering us, not listening to what our inner child is asking for, not hearing what the incredibly wise voice of our inner child is telling us.
Why would we do that? As moms and dads we would never ignore our kids or not listen to them. We would never belittle or devalue them in any way. Yet too often we find ourselves doing this with our own inner child! When we don’t parent ourselves with loving kindness; when we don’t cherish ourselves, we are more easily frustrated, irritated, annoyed or stressed by life. Ignoring our inner child causes us to eat or drink or shop or work too much to fill the feeling of emptiness inside. And, of course, because we are out of flow with our own inner child, we may respond to our sons and daughters in non-constructive ways.
Let your inner child be your new BFF.
So one of the most exciting and fulfilling parenting goals you can set for yourself in 2015 is to learn how to make friends with your inner child. Here’s how. I must tell you that this may be challenging but it is SO worthwhile.
The First Step: Connect
For some people this first step is filled with much joy. For others, like me, this step was very painful, but it helped me bring to life the child in me that I had put away so long ago. Here’s what you do:
Let yourself remember – and see in your mind’s eye what you were like when you were eight years old. This is when would have established beliefs and feelings about yourself. Let yourself see your 8-year old face, your eyes, your mouth. Is it a happy smiling mouth or a sad mouth? Let yourself know the fears and joys, the sadness and happiness of you as an 8 year old. Once you have this picture in your mind, imagine yourself (as the adult of today) taking your 8 year old inner child’s hand, lovingly, and saying, I am here for you. We can go forward together. We can help each other do and be great things. Each time you don’t feel good, or you feel tired or frustrated or overwhelmed, or you are binging, go somewhere quiet and connect with the child in you. Discover what your inner child needs that you have been ignoring.
4 Tools to nourish and nurture this wonderful child part of you using C.A.L.M
Compassion – are you able to offer this to yourself? When was the last time you said to yourself … I really understand how you feel; it’s okay to feel this way.
Awareness – do you allow yourself to be aware of your deeper needs and dreams and feelings? Too often we squash these down and just get on with our day, week, month, year!
Laughter – when was the last time you laughed and laughed all the way from your belly? It is your inner child that helps you see the funny side of life.
Marvel – do you continuously recognize – and marvel – at how much creativity, inner wisdom and brilliant intuition your inner child really has?
Your sons and daughters are very perceptive. They know when your inner child is hurting. They certainly would never be able to express it that way – but they know when you are not aligned with you. And all they want is for you, to take care of your own inner child, because they instinctively also know that when you do that, you are able take the best care of them too!
Enjoy your new BFF! I would love to know your experiences with this.