Time for Some Tough Love?
Halle-freakin’-lujah, the sun is out today and it’s a balmy 40 degrees F. Little Kerri is entirely fed up with winter and she wants consistent, springtime temperatures. Stat.
We’ve had an historically cold and snowy winter here in New England this year. Our first real storm of the season dumped about two-and-a-half feet of the white stuff on us. Within four weeks after that, we had more than eight feet on the ground. You read that right – EIGHT.
But old man winter wasn’t done. Oh no. We got an additional foot or more after that.
Hell, even this past Saturday — ya know March 21 — we got a couple more inches.
At first, it was fun and exciting and pretty and new. Quintessential scenes abound, as if in a movie or painting.
Well, my friend, the fun is more than over. Adult Kerri has nothing left to help her little one deal with this. Now we’re both throwing fits. That’s never good because with those fits come some old coping mechanisms like an overindulgence in comfort foods and chocolate. Why not feel physically shitty since the mental state is already in the toilet, right?
Wrong. Here we go again with the resistance to what is — the source of suffering. So instead of loving reassurance for Little Kerri, instead it’s time for a come-to-Jesus conversation:
“Alright, kiddo, listen up. I know you’re sick of winter. I am, too. But we just gotta hang in there and trust that more and more days like today are coming our way. So no more burying your face in a bag of Cadbury Mini Eggs…”
<OK, side note — but seriously, how DELICIOUS are those mini eggs?!>
“… or chocolate chip cookies. We’re going back to those being periodic treats instead of playing the role of the vegetable on our dinner plate. Ya feel me?”
Yup, sometimes she needs a firm hand to feel safe.
Our inner child is like any other kid who, at times, needs to be ordered out of a tantrum instead of reassured out. Both come from a place of love. The important piece is in building a foundation of trust on a daily basis with our younger self so she understands our intention regardless of the approach we choose.
To practice being in regular communication with him or her, try some of the following:
- Hang a note on your computer, your refrigerator, your dashboard, etc, that reads, “Right now I need _________.” Let it be a reminder to check in with yourself in that moment to hear your inner voice. Then, do your best to fulfill the need immediately in whatever way you can. This lets your Little One know that she’s thought of and important.
- Pause before any and all choices and decisions. Whether you’ve been invited to dinner with a friend or asked to volunteer at your child’s school, get in the habit of taking a breath before responding. Use that second or two to feel into your body for indicators or signs on how the request has landed with you, and make the phrase, “Let me get back to you on that,” your go-to answer. Doing so demonstrates care and respect for your little one, and reminds her that her input matters.
- Come up with a list of activities or indulgences that your Little One would love. It might be a pedicure, arts and crafts, funny and cute YouTube animal videos, or coloring. When you’re feeling disconnected from her, grab something off the list to do as soon as you can to quickly re-establish that bond. Sometimes I find that simply sitting on the floor helps me to feel child-like and plugged back into this sacred relationship.
When Little Kerri and I are on the same page, there’s nothing that can get in the way of our goals.
And the same goes for you.
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