Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Inner Child

Many, if not most, people today are familiar with Eric Berne's psychological theory regarding the parent, child and adult ego states, different parts of ourselves from which we function. The parent expresses our value systems, morals and beliefs, and may be critical or nurturing. The child is our feeling self. And the adult uses rational thinking and problem-solving, and tries to keep the parent and child in balance. If we become familiar with these parts of ourselves, we can work with them and create a healthier, happier life.

Years ago, my inner child was acting up a lot and created many obstacles on my path. I read Thomas Harris' book, I'm Okay, You're Okay, and found it helpful in dealing with my inner child. Sometimes she still pops up with some left over anger or sadness, but we've come a long way, and that part of me is much happier now.

Each of us was created beautiful, worthy and important, but our environment can teach us to believe otherwise, and we all carry a degree of fear, anger or unhappiness from our childhood, minor or severe. Our experiences may teach us that we're stupid, lazy, won't amount to anything, not worth much, insignificant, and that no one cares how we feel or what we have to say. No wonder we grow up feeling angry, neglected and forgotten. We may re-live our pain throughout our whole life, feeling there's no hope. But an unhappy inner child can learn to be happy.

It's never too late for that child part of you to be healed. Instead of focusing on your inner pain, start giving your inner child some opportunities to learn to feel safe, free and happy. Yes, it takes some re-learning. Talk to him/her as the nurturing parent you may never have had. Verbally express your unconditional love, acceptance, approval and protection. Say these things often, routinely. And hug yourself while you're gently talking.

Go outside in a pleasant area, take some happy music with you and dance around singing. Throw a ball into the air and laugh when you catch it. Roll around on the grass, then lay quietly while you look up creating different happy images from the clouds. And say your prayers with this hurting part of yourself. Do anything you would have enjoyed when you were growing up, and let your inner child feel joy and freedom. And pay no attention if passersby stare at these childish antics. If you do these things often enough, your inner child will begin to trust again and find the safety and happiness that was missed in the past. Do these things and don't give up. There is never failure with love.

I wish you love for your beautiful self.


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