We’ve all had those moments when we don’t act in a way that we are proud of. You know what I mean: Those times when we feel out of control, angry, lashing out, crying, saying things we regret. And most often feeling worse in the aftermath for our own behavior.
Most likely, too, our not-so-flattering display is a reaction. A total “from the depths” display to the surprise of others and the embarrassment to ourselves. I don’t know about you, but even at my age for goodness sake, I’m surprised when moments like these can bubble up out of me and spill over in such a “childish” way.
In my work as a life coach, I’ve learned that this is an appearance of our “inner kid”. As “woo-woo” as that can sound, please give me a minute to explain. (Please note too that what I am going to share is not about finger-pointing for bad child-rearing.)
There are parts of us that as a child weren’t nurtured correctly, no matter how loving our parents were or the environment we grew up in. We were children and didn’t understand reasons or rules. We were children and didn’t know how to express our emotions fully or how to understand them. Our emotions could have been dismissed unknowingly, as well. It’s something we all go through as a child and as parents even our own children would have experienced this. Great, huh?.
But there it is…our hurt “inner kid” that can quite literally still show up in the throws of not feeling heard, being scared or having our feelings hurt.
I want you to try something: Close your eyes and picture your 10-year old self. What was she feeling back then? What was she scared of? What did she do when she felt hurt?
Age ten is a good age for this because it’s when the rosiness of childhood has begun to wear off and we realize that the world can be a scary place. We are exerting more independence and learning that our parents don’t really have all of their shit together (sorry about that, my sons, if they are reading this). For this exercise, you may need to go younger to age 8 or even 6. Maybe older to 12 or 16. You will know the right age because it’s the youngest image of ourselves that needs the extra care, the extra love and will tug on the heartstrings more than usual.
What would she want to tell you now? What is she needing most now? What does she want YOU to know?
When strong emotion is showing up, this can be a powerful exercise when you get past the strangeness of of it. And yes, I get that it can seem quite strange. But stick with it.Give it a try. Knowing your inner child can help you to recognize situations before they happen and can allow you to take the needed steps to approach the situation with a fresh perspective.
Your inner child may be who shows up when you feel unheard or when your deepest desires are being ignored. Or when finances are tight and your security feels threatened. She may be there when you are walking into a group of strangers and have the urge to blend into the background or flee the situation. She may show up when you want to move past something that your partner did but you just can’t find room for forgiveness.
She is there and she may need to tell you something. Her showing up in your current reactions is a reminder of what you felt then and still could be feeling now.
If you read my post about sorting through old photos, you know that I’ve been facing a lot of past memories and coming to terms with them. Sorting childhood photos has had me coming face to face with the many stages of my inner kid. I know that at age 10, my world was rocked and life would change quickly for me: my inner kid was hurt, feeling unheard, forgotten and unimportant.
I’ve come to appreciate the wisdom from age 10 and how it shows up for me now. I can honor those places when I feel those strong emotions and unexplained reactions that appear larger than they should.
Below is a quick note that I wrote to the long-forgotten “me”. I felt she needed the recognition and I needed the reminder of who I was before childhood lost it’s luster.
Hello young dreamer.
I see you there with your wild-eyed wonderment and joy.
Not caring what you do tomorrow let alone ten minutes from now.
Building castles out of sand or sinking into a book that takes you to never-land.
Leaves and branches turning into animal shelters and the shower an infinite waterfall.
A day will come soon when they tell you to put away the nonsense and life itself will be hard.
It’s will be so easy to tuck it all away – the fantasy, the imagination.
It’s easy to stop doing what you love when you begin looking at it all with comparison.
But dear child, this is you. Your heart. Your soul. The very essence of what makes you pure and whole. Don’t hide it away only to forever search for what lights you up and brings you joy.
It’s here. Right here. With a swipe of a paintbrush or a story imagined; with trees that are towers and blankets that are forts.
Turn your face to the sun and remember that feeling of who you are today. And remember that feeling always.
Your 49-year old self.
I also made my inner kid a playlist that I shared last week.
I’m sending lots of love to your inner kid today. I hope you will take the time to (re)meet her, give her a hug and maybe do something special for her, as well.
She deserves it.
P.S. If you’d like some help meeting your inner kid, want more info on life coaching or ways it can help you, then click here to book a complimentary 30-minute discovery session.