It’s an interesting - but often overlooked - idea, that our INNER CHILD holds the key to our SUCCESS.
In fact, many self-respecting adults will ‘pooh-pooh’ the idea of an ‘Inner Child’, and basically anything at all that suggests how we function in the grown up world has anything to do with a tantrumming five-year old.
At the same time, those same folk might easily point their finger at their co-worker, spouse, boss, employee or even the clerk at the corner store, and gripe about how they seem to be “acting like a child”.
So, where does the idea of an ‘Inner Child’ come to play in realizing our goals, having healthy relationships and moving forward in our lives and our career? How on earth can we even talk about work and relationships in the same breath as talking about the emotional outbursts, creative painting sprees and mud-splashing fun that small children are known for?
To answer that, think about that current pop-psychology term ‘blocks’. We are all familiar with that term in the context of limiting beliefs and the things that keep us emotionally ‘stuck’. Now, while the use of the word ‘block’ is very popular at the moment, for a long time I wasn't quite sure how to explain why that term didn't sit well with me - but now I do.
In almost all cases - our 'limiting beliefs' come from a young place. Somewhere deep inside of us. And in all cases, we have 'earned' these beliefs the hard way. Difficult experiences. Harsh lessons.
So, when we use the word 'block' it feels like another 'harsh lesson'. Another 'difficult obstacle' that we have to find a way over, around or under.
Yuck. And a LOT of work.
The way I understand our limiting beliefs is this: we all have parts to us. Years ago when I worked with clinical clients, some really had 'parts' that split away in order to cope with the very harsh, abusive reality that they lived as very small children. For most of us, though, the 'parts' are not completely split away, but they are parts that we for whatever reason do not completely allow or integrate fully into our experience. They are often quite 'young' (7 or younger) but there can be several parts, so there are also those that will be older than that.
For many of us grown ups, it’s the very young ones that are giving us the most grief right now. Sort of like small children who are overwhelmed, anxious, perhaps stuck in a tantrum or withdrawn and sulking. Sometimes they're screaming at us, and sometimes they're kicking our shins out of sheer frustration. Other times they are nowhere to be found, hiding under the bed in their room.
If a 'limiting belief' is something like 'I'm powerless' or 'I can't do this' or ‘I’m a failure’ (or whatever that limiting belief is) - please know that wherever you developed that belief it was true for you at that time (sad, right?)! And the little part of you that holds that belief DOES NOT KNOW that that is no longer true. Therefore, when we don't 'join forces' and walk the path together, we feel like we are in a state of constant tug-of-war between that part (it shows up as what we call 'self sabotage' or 'limiting beliefs' or 'fears' or 'blocks' or whatever) and the adult part that is trying so hard to get s**t done! Sometimes it feels like the adult part is 'winning' the tug-of-war, and other times even kids can wear out an adult, and out of exhaustion we have little resistance to that little part and so they are 'winning'. And the cycle continues.
What do you do with a small child that is tantrumming? How do you deal with a scared child? Do you get into a power struggle with them? Shout at them while standing over them, and repeat over and over how stupid they are for having the feelings they have? Whisper in their ear constantly that they should know better - that they are a failure and they're always messing stuff up?
Then why do you do it to yourself?
Please remember that every time you whisper in your own ear how stupid you are for not following through, how silly you are for not 'realizing', how awful you are for not being able to 'get over IT' (whatever IT is), remember that you are whispering that into the ear of a small child.
So STOP IT, okay??? (Now I AM shouting at you - the adult part of you - because it is no longer okay).
Instead - take a page out of decent-parenting practices. Sit beside that small child. Hold his or her hand. Ask her how she's feeling, and let her not answer you if she doesn't have words (small children don't). And wait for her to be ready and calm enough to hear you. And then take her hand and let her know that you are okay, and that you are going to walk this journey together. And you'll take breaks. And you'll make sure she's okay. And that you are in this together (and you can look after her, because she's special and amazing you know!). And if you’re not sure how to do that, or you’re scared too, then you will get help for both of you.
And then DO THAT.
Your 'blocks' are not blocks. They are YOU. (Or at least, the Inner Child parts of you)
Because if we try leave those 'blocks' behind, often we are leaving behind the most creative, intuitive, sensitive of our gifts locked in that little part (which explains why we can't seem to ignore our 'blocks' and still move forward with all of our gifts intact).
We need all of our parts to make a functional, incredible, forward-moving whole person.
Makes sense, right?
I would love your feedback or thoughts about this perspective - please comment below!
Tanya Tinney is a mom of three beautiful girls (including fraternal twins), wife of an amazing entrepreneurial man, nature lover, wrangler of two large dogs and chaser of three bad cats. She is equally good at baking banana bread and whipping up a killer margarita.
Her passion is helping fabulous people get unstuck from their past so they can blast through current challenges and get really stuck into achieving their dreams.
With three University degrees and 14 years experience working as a psychologist, most of the time she knows what she’s talking about. The rest of the time she ‘wings it’ based on her own messy life experiences. Her approach is one of laser focus, empathy and intuition with a healthy dose of humor – along with a kick-in-the-you-know-what when necessary (and it often is!).
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