****Disclaimer: Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents mentioned in this post are either the products of my imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.******
I have been spending quite some time with my lovely nieces whom I fondly call Nebula and Gamora. It is a lovely feeling as they in fact got me connected to my own inner child. I am certain you would agree when I say that there is an inner child dwelling within us!
I love how they communicate their needs without barely uttering a word. It is our responsibility to understand their needs – my sisters are in the learning stage and I am sure will become great moms! This post is dedicated to my lovely nieces and to the inner child that is in each of us!
A child has no fear because it doesn’t care about the outcomes. All the child wants is to feel the moment and learn from it. It stops learning when we start placing restrictions on the child and instill fear in order to manage their tantrums. We do it unconsciously because that’s how we are conditioned – our parents did that to us (because they learnt it from their parents.) so we imitate our parents without thinking through the outcomes. We as parents may win, but the child loses its inner child in the process. Let me explain this through a fictional story.
Jenny has all the good things anyone could ever ask for – a decent job, a loving husband, doting sons and a 3 month old Labrador. But Jenny is not happy and keeps complaining about her quality of life. She is often confused and at times comes across as rude and disinterested. She feels people are out to prove her wrong and this has affected her overall confidence. People at work have often complained about her eccentric behavior. In fact, her best friend Cathy finds her moody and approaches her only when she finds Jenny happy. She is afraid that Jenny may pass some rude comments. Jenny has been like this from the start but Cathy has not been able to understand the reason behind her mood swings.
What do you think is wrong with Jenny?
As a kid, Jenny was extremely confident and had no fear of failure. She would participate in school plays and debates and would win awards. She was loved equally by her teachers and family. Jenny was the class topper and this worked against. Friends started avoiding her as they grew envious of her success. In fact, parents of some of her friends even requested teachers to change her group as having her around was impacting their kids. Jenny overheard one such conversation and felt hurt. She was angry and wanted to discuss this with her family. Her father blamed her for all that had happened and asked her to accept the situation. This angered her even more and she yelled back at her father. The father got up and slapped her twice. That was the day Jenny lost her inner child!
All Jenny wanted was reassurance from her parents that she was fine and her friends were not. Jenny wanted her father to tell her that she was OK and had every right to succeed in life. The injunctions she got from her parents, friends and teachers were – “Don’t feel” and “Don’t Succeed” and these in turn influenced her life. She lost her confidence, chose to remain silent and thus suffered from mood disorders. Her poor mental health had a negative impact on her physical health, leading to High BP and Gastric problems.
How can Jenny heal her inner child and transform her life?
Jenny needs to focus on doing any or all of the following to get her inner child back:
Acknowledge her pain: it is essential that she acknowledges her deep pain. It is this awareness that will enable Jenny to connect with her deep pain and help her move on.
Act it out: Jenny could also act it out by connecting with her pain. If she feels angry then she needs to get it out of her system. If she feels like crying then she could get into a room and weep like a baby. It is essential that she connects with her emotions. Catharsis is the key to unlock her bottled emotions!
Write a letter: she could write a letter to the one who hurt her the most (mainly to her parents). She need not give the letter to them – she could either burn those pages or flush it down the toilet. Also, by doing this she will be able to resolve her deep-rooted pain and improve her overall relationships with the people around her.
Talk to a Mental Health expert like a Counselor or a Life Coach and sign him/her up for a few months until she resolves her issue.
Visualization and Affirmation – visualize herself in a positive state. She could write down her visualization and convert it into an affirmation. Jenny can read it aloud, record it and listen to it every day. She will see changes within a month or so (provided she does it diligently and positively).
How can we, as parents, help our kids retain their inner child?
• I’M OK-YOU’RE OK – encourage them to follow this Basic Life Position. Constant reinforcement of this will make them confident and improve their trust levels. They will be able to confront people without being judgmental.
• Encourage them to speak their mind.
• Tell them that it is fine to fail – this will allow them to embrace failures gracefully and enable then to learn from those failures.
• Answer all their questions no matter how stupid – ensure that you don’t mock them as this may have a direct impact on their thinking.
• Most importantly, TRUST them and their decisions – this will not only allow them to trust the people around them but also believe in their decision making capabilities.
Last but not the least, ensure that you keep your own inner child ALIVE as well!
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