Updated: Aug 17
My mom left when I was six. This is me before that fateful day.
After my dad was awarded full custody of us, I never saw my mother again until after graduating from high school, and I went to visit her..
Throughout my life, I have had a lot of adventures. I completed my bachelor's and master's degrees, had a full career, raised a family, and am now a new grandmother.
By all accounts I feel blessed and successful. But one thing that has surprised me at almost sixty, is that I have always carried that little girl inside of me.
For me to grow into an adult whose capable of a complex and committed relationship with my husband, able to weather the storms of parenthood, and overcome my inner barriers for professional success...I had to get to know that little girl very, very, well.
The things that little girl is currently feeling or believes is how I will function in my adult world.
When I don't acknowledge what those beliefs and thoughts are, and where they come from, my inner child shows up as my ego.
Our true inner child is eager, curious, longing and authentic. Our ego is demanding, self centered and obsessed with being relevant. My ego actually works to keep me hidden out of shame and fear- while my inner child is longing to be known and seen.
You have an inner child too. Who is that person? What are their needs? Let that person be heard and known.
We take every stage of ourselves with us throughout our life. If we let those stages shape us in a positive way, we will enjoy a lifelong journey of growth. If we ignore how difficulties, circumstances, and our own limitations have impacted us, we will automatically default to self protection in how we act and respond to the world. This keeps us stagnate in our growth and development.
If we're not intentional about knowing and caring for our inner child, ego takes over as the needy, demanding, attention seeking wounded child. Undoubtedly we have all had experiences with a grown person who is often "acting like a child". They are attention seeking, unable to see the perspective of other's, self focused, fear driven, and their inner compass is orientated to immediate gratification. Maybe we have been or ARE that person.
We've also been witness to the fact that living our adult lives with ego (or our wounded child) as the leader results in getting stuck and creating barriers for growth. Our ego keeps us hidden and unknown, exacerbating feelings of loneliness and isolation. It brings us down the opposite path from what we really need.
Make friends with your inner child. Love them. Learn to know their love language and meet that need. Give context to your inner child's pain. Validate their feelings and give them the wisdom you have now. Nurture that child.
This is how you create a life that is growth focused. In this way, you will also create healing and growth experiences for everyone around you. Your inner child is your friend. Your ego is not.