Have you ever made decisions that with hindsight were completely disastrous for you? Have you ever said or acted in a way that’s damaged your relationship? Have you gone through a phase when you’ve found an overwhelming compulsion to eat junk food and binge on alcohol?
It’s fascinating how even the most sensible amongst us will wonder why we either overreacted or acted in the heat of the moment that was completely out of character. Believe it or not this is more common than people realise.
Well the good news is that it’s not you driving these decisions or your behaviour! Most of us are relatively sorted. We’ve learned how to socialise, deal with stressful situations, cook for ourselves and raise families. The ‘adult’ version of us is doing pretty well. The problems we often experience are ones that trigger our old childhood programming that we may be either consciously aware of or not.
From the moment of our conception we possess consciousness, an awareness of the experience of being human. As we evolve from egg to embryo, foetus to baby, we will be receiving messages from our environment that affect us at a cellular level. When we are born we are in a hypnogogic state as we download programmes, beliefs and experiences that shape out attitude and behaviour. Some of these are relevant to us as an adult, for example if you touch fire you’ll get burned and some of these are no longer relevant. For example, ‘I’m not good enough because I got my spellings wrong in reception year’.
As we grow up we realise with a degree of shock that the whole world doesn’t revolve around us. When we experience intense fear we have to learn how to process that fear. If we experience and release fear then we remain strengthened by our experience, and the cause of the fear defines our character in a positive way. Alternatively if we freeze and bury the fear inside of ourselves we also bury the child who experienced the fear in the first place. Our inner child is kept in a state of limbo and suspension until one day something happens that triggers the child, and our behavioural response comes from our younger self not from our adult self.
The little boy who tried to climb up onto the kitchen cabinets falls and hurts himself. He forms the belief it’s not safe to climb that high. Fast forward 35 years and the talented Sales Manager keeps sabotaging his chances for promotion because the little boy within him feels that climbing the corporate ladder is not safe – he might get hurt.
The little girl who was painfully shy with an outgoing sister felt invisible and boring. Because everyone paid more attention to her sister she developed an extrovert persona and did everything to get herself noticed. Fast forward 20 years and the seemingly ‘together’ and dynamic woman fails to sustain an intimate relationship. She believes that when men get too close and see the real ‘her’ they will find her boring and ordinary and leave. Ironically many of the men leave anyway because they never feel that connection, that truth from her.
In both these examples it’s not the adult that needs help and support it’s the suppressed child that has never been given the opportunity to grow up. Too often we are oblivious to the unconscious programming that still runs our adult behaviour.
In the journey through our lives we are continually being shown examples of these old childhood programmes and behaviours. Each time we notice that we’ve acted out of character or we simply can’t explain our actions, then the child has been triggered and our unconscious mind has decided that it’s time for some emotional healing.
Rather than judge ourselves too harshly or blame external circumstances we are being presented with a wonderful gift. We have the opportunity to release our inner child from the dark labyrinths of our unconscious mind. This child has only surfaced because it feels ready to leave. If we ignore the child then the child will become more insistent, more demanding. There will come a point when our inner child is so headstrong and rebellious that we have no option but to listen. If we are prepared to acknowledge the presence of the child and be open to converse and learn, then we will heal and feel released from the limitations and burdens from our past.
Having experienced lots of tantrums from my inner child over the years here is the way that I’ve learned to respond. It may or may not help you. Either way if it’s a different approach to self-beration then it will support rather than sabotage your enjoyment of life.
- Notice the behaviour and the emotion you are feeling. Remind yourself that it is an opportunity to heal and grow. Remember that all emotion is simply energy and that it has moved from being stuck to flowing.
- Ask yourself when you first felt this emotion and allow your unconscious mind to guide you back to the memory. This will usually be in childhood. When you work with your unconscious mind you’ll often feel that you’re making things up but just trust and go with it.
- See your younger self in the memory and explain who you are and that you want to help and protect them. Be gentle, respectful and deeply kind.
- Ask your younger self what support they need from you? Listen to their message. Hear what they have to say. Notice their childlike language and perceptions.
- Using the faculty of your imagination, imagine hugging your younger self. Feel their heartbeat next to yours. Then imagine an infinite source of love and healing circling the top of both of your heads and flowing into your hearts. Know that when you change your perception you change everything.
- When you feel that your younger child has received healing, ask your unconscious mind to store the positive insights you’ve gained into that special place where you hold all positive learnings and lessons.
- Return to a fully alert state and notice what feels different about the situation.
It is through healing our inner child, by grieving the wounds that we suffered, that we can change our behaviour. We can release the grief with its pent up rage, shame, terror and pain from those places which exist within us. When we nurture, love and rescue our inner child we honour the child who we were in order to love the person we are.