Don’t Mess with Mini Me
It always fascinate me how themes will come up again and again in my coaching work with clients. Over the last two weeks or so, we’ve had lots of juicy conversations about connecting with self and giving your inner child space to be heard.
That term – inner child – has become a bit cliché. Some roll their eyes at the mention, so I’m conscious and careful with how I approach the topic with each person. After all, so much of coaching is about meeting people where they’re at so they feel safe and understood.
Regardless of what you call it, reconnecting and understanding that younger part of you is powerful work. So often in our lives, the 5- (or 6 or 9) year-old is running the show and we don’t even realize it. Instead, we beat ourselves up for being too sensitive, afraid, or unmotivated.
Think about a time when you:
- Had a meeting with your boss to go over your review and you were nervous
- Had to disappoint someone by declining an invitation or saying no to a request
- Wanted to ask a family member for help and feared hearing “no”
- Got into an argument with your spouse and felt abandoned or alone
- Had to set a boundary with a friend and you felt terrified
When strong emotions are up, that’s a good indication that your little one is at the forefront, yet none of those examples above is appropriate for a child to handle. By simply recognizing when your inner child is calling out is a great opportunity to self-parent and let him or her know that you’ll handle this; that they can go back to playing/resting/creating.
I remind my kiddo that all’s well by quietly saying to myself, “It’s all good. I got this.” Because I have put action behind those words enough times, she can trust me to believe it. So now, when I say it, I can feel her relax almost immediately.
When you try to run from your emotions by stuffing them down with food, alcohol, drugs, sex, housework, busy tasks, etc, you are essentially telling your inner child to shut up; that you’re not interested in what he or she is saying or feeling. This, my friend, is a very temporary (not to mention, damaging) solution.
By avoiding your feelings, she needs to work harder to get you to pay attention. That’s when the whispers quickly escalate to crisis. The uneasy feeling inside becomes a stomachache. The subtle rumbling of fear becomes a full-blown panic attack. The frustration you feel at work becomes so unbearable that you just want to quit.
I’m sure you’ve either witnessed or been at the receiving end of a child in the grocery store, trying to get his mother’s attention:
“mom? Mom? Mom? MOM? MOM? MOOOOOM???”
He gets louder and louder until she answers him, and as soon as she does, his tone of voice quiets. He’s been heard.
The same goes for your inner child. Whether he or she communicates to you through emotion, anxiety, physical symptoms, etc, all you need to do is show up and be there for her; let her feel heard. There’s no need to fix anything, solve anything, or help make the emotion go away. By doing any of those, you’re actually shutting her up again.
Think of it this way: One of the main complaints women have about their husbands is their inability to really listen; that they tend to offer solutions and want to fix whatever’s bothering her. While this is his way of showing he cares, often times the woman hears it as evidence of his not being interested in her feelings and wanting them to just go away. She feels that her needs are being tossed aside.
Well, guess what? The same goes with you and the little one. Ignore the whisper and she’ll be sure to get your attention some other way.
All of your beliefs (both blocking and empowering) are held in this young place. He or she is the one who feels emotions deeply – fear, excitement, sadness, guilt, joy – and by allowing the space for those emotions to be felt and receiving them with love, you create an unbelievably safe place and the two of you become unstoppable partners!
There is no more powerful team in creating the life of your dreams than that of you and that beautiful, young soul within. He or she holds the master key to everything you want in life.
Brilliant, Kerri! When women become bitchy towards their husbands it is because the man is not there, not BEING present to them. Not home. Sometimes I do intentional attention getting ‘tricks’ to wake him up.
Now I never knew this applied to my self. THANK YOU for turning on the light. My powerful playmate, the INNER ME just wants me to BE CREATIVE. In all areas of life. And that takes me out of the mundane into the magical. xoxo.
You’re welcome, Jan! You and your little one are the most powerful team there is. Be there for her the way you want your husband to show up for you!
This is powerful. One of the spiritual principles I try to live by councils “What you focus on multiplies.” With that in mind, there’s a tendency to push down “negative” emotions. That’s no good, is it? I have a 44-year-old intellect and an 8-year-old inner child. I’ve got to cherish her, and celebrate her as part of who I am. I agree with Jan’s comments earlier. The one who isn’t listening is often me–not listening to me. Important to acknowledge that. Incredible, credible insight, Kerri. Thanks!
Thanks for sharing, Lisa. Yes, I, too, agree with the principle of what you focus on multiplies. That ties in with “what we resist, persists.” So if we’re focusing on pushing down the “negative” emotions, we’re multiplying them and they’re persisting. “Cherish” is such a fitting and beautiful word for your 8-year-old. I bet you can feel her soften simply at the idea….
Kerri, it took a few days to really get it. Now I see myself BOTH age 5. I LOVE being age 5. As well as my real age. Crazy Christmas is no longer feeling sad, it is a blast!
Fantastic! I hope you had great holidays!
This definitely hit home for me! I find it so much easier to really be there for my kids because I know what it feels like to be a child and be told how worthless and unlovable you are… literally. As for my own inner child, between what I went through and society’s pushing people to “just grow up and get over it’, I still have a hard time hearing her. Plus she was really good at being invisible to survive. Right now I am trying to focus on learning how to have fun! I figured that would be a good first step.
Yes, Robin! Having fun is a GREAT first step. No better way than fun to gently guide your little one out of the corner. Play will allow her to feel safe more quickly and then you can love her up!
Robin, great insight. I was invisible as well.