How old is your inner child? The part of you that is tender, fragile, innocent, sweet, and easily hurt? We all walk around in adult bodies, making adult decisions, holding powerful positions, but inside each and every one of us is a fragile, vulnerable, and needy little boy or girl. If we are not in touch with that little one, we are somewhat powerless to our futures. Let me explain. . .
The adult piece of us is the grown up body and mind that everyone sees. We can control where they go, what they do, who they hang out with, etc. Most of the time, we are very responsible and mature and act the way one would expect. But sometimes, we behave
in ways that surprise even us – having an affair, hiring a prostitute, stealing, getting fired for viewing porn at work, raging & reactivity, staying in an abusive relationship, etc. In
major crisis situations, we might even feel like we are going crazy. Why? It’s quite simple . . . the adult part of us has been cut off from the feelings, wants and needs of that little child, and when crisis hits, we revert back to our 2 or 6 or 10 year old way of dealing
with overwhelming and confusing feelings!
When we are not in touch with what our inner child is feeling, we deny ourselves some of our most essential needs – the need to be loved, to be wanted, to be admired, to be respected, to have some control, to feel worthy, to be included, to not be abandoned, etc. We may think our needs are clear, but in reality, if WE don’t know what our deep personal needs are, it is almost impossible to get them met in healthy ways! The adult tries to get the needs met in indirect, ineffective ways, or tries to deny the needs altogether. This will work for a while, but eventually the little child is going to win out. The need will get met in ways that shock even us because we effectively turn the decision making over to a 10 year old, a 6 year old, or even sometimes a 2 year old. I can assure you that the little boy or girl will choose instant gratification without regard to how this will affect them in the long run!
On too many occasions in my life, I have let my little girl make the important decisions. Sometimes she is 6 years old, at more crucial times, she may only be 18 months
old. When the adult me is in touch with and getting my little girl needs met, my adult stays in charge. If I have starved my little girl by ignoring her needs too long or trying to get her needs met in unhealthy ways, she becomes more powerful and gets more than 50% of the vote when major life decisions need to be made.
Balance is the key. The little child in you exists. She might have been abandoned, belittled, criticized, ridiculed, outcast and otherwise wounded in her lifetime. He might have been taught to be tough or not to feel, to ‘be a man’, or ‘big boys don’t cry’. To be emotionally healthy, we have to recognize those tender, inner feelings and needs and take care of that little one! When we sit back and expect someone else to do it for us, we rarely get our needs met.
How old is your inner child? How well do you know them? Do you find yourself letting them make the decisions sometimes? If so, remember it is your job to look out for that little boy or girl and to advocate to get their needs met. When you do this, the adult can make good decisions that include the needs and wants of a very sweet, innocent, and tender little person. The more I embrace my ‘little girl’, taking her wants and needs into consideration, the more she grows into a beautiful, responsible young woman – and that is where peace and contentment can be found.