Meet Maren. She is five years old, she loves her mum and her dad, looks up to her big sister, and hates when her big brother teases her. It seems to be one of his favourite things to do but luckily she found out that it works a treat if she just starts crying, and waits for her mum to give her a big hug and yell at her brother for being so incredibly annoying.
She is in total awe of her cousin, who has to duck to walk through normal sized doors, and is a total ‘Quatschkopf‘. Whenever he comes for a visit, she gets lots of attention. She gets to be silly and laugh her head off. Unfortunately that is only until her cousin remembers how much fun it is to team up with her brother and tease her as well. Then she has two annoying boys to deal with. And her mum sometimes gets busy and won’t yell at them for her.
She does have one other tactic to deal with them. Find out below 🙂
Why do I feel the need to tell you about Maren, you ask? Who is this mysterious adorable child you are dying to meet, you most likely won’t ask. Since you are reading her blog.
I want to tell you about her because 20 (twenty.. really?) years later thinking about myself as a child isn’t just a great way to reminisce about the good old times.
It is a way to make sure that I am taking care of myself right now. I haven’t been that happy lately and it took me a little while to figure out why. Looking at my life as it is right now, I don’t have much to be unhappy about. I remember that a few weeks ago I felt something old coming up, something that has once been a major heartache for me but that I quickly disregarded. Because it didn’t feel relevant for the 25-year-old somewhat grown up Maren. Still, it was very relevant for my inner child.
You may be very familiar with the concept of your inner child but just in case you think this already sounds stupid, think about who takes over when you see a swing in a big tree, or decide to go dance in the rain. It’s easy to acknowledge our inner child in positive situations. But dem kids, sometimes they will act up, and when we get a reminder of how overwhelmed they may have felt in the past, we may be quick to disregard the whole concept.
I’m sure you’ve also been in a situation where you joked around with a group of people and you said something that got under someone’s skin. And they ‘over-reacted’. You probably didn’t mean anything by it, but they felt humiliated, or disrespected, or left out. They acted out. Much like a child would.
Acknowledging your inner child and actively taking care of it when it needs some room can help us be better grown ups.
Take it from someone who has previously somewhat overreacted in some situations (nooo.. not me! I’m writing for a friend here..), I can tell you that it wasn’t ‘not being part of the inner-clique of that One-Day-Seminar‘ that hurt me and made me act that way. I overreacted because not being part of that inner-clique reminded my five-year-old self of feeling all alone when it really mattered.
While my 25-year-old self should take control when those pesky housemates start teasing me, to keep me from running to my mum and making her yell at them, it needs to be a little more giving when my inner child needs time to grieve. My inner child still holds onto all the pain. It is very real for her.
Of course I still feel sad when I’m reminded of any hardship of the past now, but I have learnt how to somewhat take care of myself, and I have my friends who show me lots of love. Not all of me is hurting anymore. At the same time, when those reminders come into my life, my inner child is not doing that well.
She is five years old. She feels lonely. She feels heartbroken. She is confused. She has her family surrounding her but she knows something is wrong. She thinks she is all on her own.
If we have experienced any kind of hardship as a child, acknowledging our inner child and making sure to take care of it can ensure that we don’t overreact in situations that trigger bad memories. It can also immensely contribute to our overall happiness. We win at adulting!
If you don’t validate your inner child, that part of you may get upset about something small, which doesn’t make sense to your adult self, but you may have your inner child acting up until you finally pay attention.
Even though not being part of the inner-clique of our One-Day-Seminar doesn’t hurt our adult self that much, we can still acknowledge that it may hurt a part of us, it may hurt our inner child. But when we’re in sync with our inner child it becomes easy to acknowledge her pain, and at the same time we learn that it is only part of us that is hurting. We can still be okay.
I’ve learnt in the past few weeks that I can let what my inner child is feeling prevail for a little and let it be valid. She is still heartbroken sometimes. The good thing is, I am not just her anymore. After I allow some room for her sadness, I can take control over this amazing vessel again.
And when I’m in control, I can choose not to always take advice from my inner child. Even though she has great ideas sometimes. Like that time my brother and cousin annoyed me so much that I got furious. So I sneaked into my brother’s room (while he was gone) and released the biggest fart I could muster. Did they smell it, hours later? Probably not, but damn it felt good to be that child.
How to do you keep your inner child happy? Do you climb trees? Do you jump in big puddles? Do you take photos with giant pretzels and refuse to share any with your friends?