It is a belief, of many, that we carry in our adult lives the influences of the child we were; the experiences and emotions we had then, an inner child. These emotions may be positive, nourishing and welcoming. They may also be adverse and appear to bring suffering, the cause of which is sometimes obvious, more often, less so.
When as children we were unconsciously, or unintentionally provided with less than optimal compassion and love, such as can be found with appropriate communications from guardians who gave knowing looks or body language that said “I am here, you are safe and loved”, we may feel the effects of this today, in adulthood. We may also bring this to our parenting and marital relationships.
Given greater awareness, we can more skilfully become aware of the influences of our childhood ‘today’; in our day-to-day lives and interactions. When this occurs, it allows for greater understanding; we can choose what, if anything, we want to do with it!
Many of us find ourselves living with anxiety, or with low moods and depressive episodes lasting more than a few days. These states of mind may have become a common feature of our life, waiting for us when we wake, and still with us when we go to sleep. These states are bad enough for the discomfort they bring, but when we are also unable to be aware why we are experiencing them, this adds to the distress and may lead to a sense of helplessness, and hopelessness. And so to ‘cope’ with these and other less than helpful states, we desire to want things to be different.
When I get that thing, it will be alright – when I achieve that position or wealth, then I’ll be happy.
We may indulge in excess consumption of food, alcohol, illicit drugs, addictions or infidelity, in a vain attempt to satisfy our yearnings for ‘that thing’, that ‘state’ of fulfilment.
To come home to our true selves, we may need to be re-introduced to that inner child, that former you who is still active today in your reactions and incorrect thought processes involving negativity and depression, anxiety and unhappiness. How might that be done?
With caution, with skilled guidance! This is powerful and highly emotive stuff for many. It can take courage to ‘meet’ your young self!
Before that opportunity is created, a state of self awareness and introspection is necessary. Preparation for a journey such as this is crucial if we are to grow the trust in ourselves for such an undertaking. I have been there!
A period of preparation for the persons I guide will often involve learning the art of ‘mindfulness’. This is fairly easy for most, being straightforward to adopt and absorb with small incremental changes to the way we live, and think.
Once the ability to create space in our thoughts has been found, the suffering many are experiencing can be skilfully addressed. This brings a catharsis, a eureka moment for many as they ‘wake up’ and start living true to themselves, giving the self permission to be “good enough”, when self-esteem and confidence is an issue. This is just one example!
Bob Brotchie is a counsellor, mindset consultant and creator of "Conscious Living by Design"™. He writes for Anglia Counselling, is featured on various other websites and introduces us to many guest writers all covering topics related to mental health and wellbeing.
Bob provides bespoke counselling services to individuals and couples in the privacy and comfort of a truly welcoming environment at his Anglia Counselling company office, located near Newmarket in Suffolk, England. Bob also provides professional online counselling, for local, national, and international clients. The therapeutic models offered are bespoke to the client’s needs, especially those in receipt of 'childhood emotional neglect' (CEN), whilst integrating a mindful approach to psychotherapy and cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) principles. For clients experiencing trauma and/or phobia, Bob offers EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing).