But I’m an adult….. Well yes and no, at the same time.
We all have a hidden part of our mind called our Inner Child. Our inner child lives deeps inside of us. It’s the echo of our childhood. Our inner child absorbed the feelings from those around us, as well as what we’d heard about ourselves and what we should expect from life in the future. This helped create the template for the adult life we’re now living. Our inner child will carry the beliefs we hold to be true about ourselves and our sub conscious behaviour is governed from here.
Did you know that the things that were said to us when we were children have shaped who we are today? This includes the negative as well as the positives. Like many things in our lives, we often find it easier to hang on the negative rather than the positive. Most of us will be holding on to a negative internal dialogue from our childhood; its voice is often drowns out that of our own internal cheerleader. There are many signs of having a wounded Inner Child; but keeping things really simple they’ll show up as being too much or not enough, too flexible or too rigid, too powerful or too weak.
How will you know which ones apply to you? Notice the use of “ones”. It’s perfectly normal to have more than one, and they may be a relationship between more than one wound. Each of us will have subtle and not so subtle signs, this can be from the words that we use, our use of eye contact, our body language; using our personal space; our relationship with food; our natural instinct to play; our baseline feelings of fear, sadness or anger; our expressions of sexuality; our habitual patterns of thinking; our personal boundaries. These show up in both our personal and work relationships; the attitude we have towards authority, how money and time is spent, and importantly how we invest in our own self-care and then caring for the others.
Even though your inner child will not have been wounded at work, the wounds held by your inner child will come to work with you, they’ll affect your decisions, reactions, and your relationships. How can your wounded inner child affect you and your work?
- Self doubt – that you’re not good enough or you don’t know enough yet to call yourself competent. I’ve spent a lot of time working on this in the last year or so.
- Avoidance of decision making – for fear of failing, looking foolish or making a mistake.
- Being a perfectionist – not doing something because it’s not perfect (I’m absolutely guilty of this, and now am advocate of imperfect action instead).
- Not being enough – from many years hearing that you didn’t meet someone else’s prescribed standard for you and now you have come to believe it. You are absolutely enough.
- Being too sensitive to criticism or feedback – maybe you were told this continually when you were a child (I know I was), you probably find that you replay scenarios constantly in your head, or you take things to heart. This was one of my biggest core wounds. Being sensitive is a beautiful gift (it’s taken a long time for me realise and recognise this). Knowing what another person feels without the use of words is a magical blessing. Learning how to protect your energy is one of the best things you can do to nurture this gift.
- Hiding behind your ego – to protect your vulnerability, not allowing yourself to feel your feelings and staying firmly within your head.
- Being a people pleaser and overly compliant – putting the wants and needs of others before your own. This is a classic trauma response from our childhood, from learning to act in a certain way to receive affection.
- Easily becoming overwhelmed and potentially burnt out – due to being out of touch with your own needs and lack of self-care. Working too hard for too long and creating health problems which are then ignored
“When you doubt your power, you give power to your doubt.”
Honore de Balzac
We have a choice, we can allow the behaviours and thought patterns from our childhoods to be a help or a hindrance. When I say hindrance, I mean stop you from living your life to your full potential. Are you really prepared to let those negative thoughts and behaviour patterns stand in the way of you living your life to your full potential or taking that next step with your business? Are you really living a fulfilled life by clinging to the narrative you’ve been holding on to since your early childhood? What are the behaviours and thought patterns that demonstrating and imprinting on your children?
It is possible to overcome the wounds in your Inner Child. It is transformational self work that you absolutely deserve – you’ll feel like a new person. There are many different approaches that can be taken. One of the great techniques I often use with clients when we’re working together overcoming the years of self torture that’s been inflicted by our negative self talk and highly critical inner voice is the Worrier/Leader technique. This is simple and requires absolutely no equipment, just you and your voice.
The take-away from this is that your Inner child is always with you and will show themselves in your habitual out-of-awareness behaviours. These shape your life and set up self-fulfilling thoughts and behaviour patterns. If you find that they are stopping you from being the best version of you that you can be, there are a number of different ways that you can work on this by working with a number of different tools, techniques and therapeutic approaches.
*This was first published as a guest blog for the Mumpreneurs Networking Club *