Loving Yourself: The Secret to Connecting With Your Inner Child
We all run into issues with relationships, physical or otherwise, and you always hear some variation of:
“You cannot truly love someone until you love yourself.”
I used to get so frustrated with that. What does that even mean anyway? It can be taken so many different ways. Self-care, putting a sweater on when it’s chilly, or even getting the good coffee creamer instead of the cheap-O kind you normally get could be considered loving yourself. Right?
If I had to take a stab at the definition, I would have to say:
"To truly love yourself is to treat yourself the same way you would treat your child." - Kayla
Let’s just assume that everyone reading this is an adult (or almost an adult). Each and every one of you has an inner child living in the back of your brain. It makes up the emotions that still make you throw tantrums. You know, the ones you have when someone cuts you off on the freeway, when the line at the fast-food restaurant takes too long and when your 2 for 1 coupon doesn’t work at the mini mart. You may have matured but your emotions failed that class and are taking you along for the ride.
However, don’t fret! You can handle your inner child. Just takes a bit of finesse.
This reminds me of my grandfather — Shhhh… don’t tell him… he’ll have a tantrum*
Moving on. When you ignore the fact that you have an overactive and overbearing inner child, you end up trying to make it in the real world while still making choices with the mind of a toddler. This can make you feel like you are in solitude, terrified of the horrors outside of your front door and always afraid to ask for help. Not the best way to live, if I’m being honest.
No one wants to spend their days living in fear of anything and everything. As you all are aware, it would be hard for a young child to try to make it on their own on this circular rock. So, why are we feeling that way, I wonder….
It’s because there is no parental figure taking care of your inner child.
No one is taking the reins and helping your inner child grow and mature. Let’s face it, 99.99% of us spend most of our days fulfilling needs for others, rather than ourselves. Whether it’s acts we must do for our employment, our children, our spouse, our community, or our friends. We’re constantly giving away pieces of ourselves to the point where we are tired at the end of each day and cannot, for the life of us, find out why we do not feel fulfilled.
It’s because our inner child is being ignored. We are so distracted by everything and everyone else around us, that we forget about ourselves.
If you wake up one morning with a chip on your shoulder and constantly having outbursts that you would not normally have… you’ve hit your breaking point. Your inner child is trying desperately to get your attention.
Think of your inner child as your daughter. We’ll use mine as an example. Lillian is six years old. Let’s say that she is my inner child. Every day I spend time helping the other children, my husband, my work, my parents and my friends. Always moving, always busy. And every time Lillian tries to talk to me or ask me something... I yell at her to “Shut Up!” Explaining to her…
“My husband needs his clothes clean; my sons have homework I have to help with, I’m trying to get my articles finished to go out this week… I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR YOU!”
How do you think Lillian would react if I treated her that way? What do you think she would do? Well, first she would cry and yell at me. Then she will start acting out to get my attention. Any attention… is good attention when you feel shunned. She may even become aggressive towards me and others around her.
If my inner child stays true to form with what my daughter would do, that means when I’m mad at the world for no good reason, I’m really not. It’s just my inner child upset with me for not aiding to its wants and needs. Frustrated with me because I don’t care about her and act like she doesn’t matter.
Don’t you see? If we continue to ignore ourselves and what we want and need… we are acting as if we do not exist.
How many times did you go out of your way to do something for someone else and ignore something you needed? 10 times, 40 times, 100 times? The amounts can pile without us even realizing it.
Ignoring who we are, what we need and what we want can lead to depression. Depression that we will assume has just been conjured out of thin air. By now, I’m sure you’re aware that’s not the case. That depression can come from lack of self-love.
So, how do we start picking up the pieces of our shattered inner child and begin to practice loving ourselves?
Channel Your Thoughts Because they matter: (Motherly) Ask yourself questions. What have we been missing? What is lacking that we can fix? Begin to act as a mother to your own thoughts and feelings. If your child came to you and said they felt sad and like no one loved them… what would you say? Now channel that thought to how you are feeling. Remind yourself that you understand the feelings that you are having, that this is a normal issue and that you will work to make things easier. *This is such an amazing step because you will be able to feel the heaviness of the stress and depression start to ease. *
Be The Protector: (Fatherly) There is a part of you that has the workings of a warrior when it comes to your little ones. Let’s channel a small part of that to protecting yourself. This part of you will be able to help with hard decisions, take action and provide you with guidance when you are in a rut. Bringing out this side of you in certain situations can give you an invisible shield that can help you through some of the toughest times.
Loving yourself requires you to take in all aspects of who you are. The strait-laced parent, the hardworking individual, and your inner child. All aspects of who you are should be taken seriously and you should do your best to try to understand them all. Remember to talk to yourself consistently, take your thoughts and feelings into account with every decision you come up against and never assume something is too small to care about. Everything you think and feel is important.
There needs to be a connection. Once you create an unbreakable connection with yourself you will be able to love yourself without conditions.
We forget that we are in need of things too. I suppose this is because we are so busy doing things for others, that we expect that others will do things for us and fill that void. The reality is, no one will ever do as good a job of loving you as YOU.
Start loving every part of yourself. Cut yourself some slack and keep communicating!
🧡Shine Bright, Kayla
Originally published on medium.com Sept 2022
Copyright © 2022 Kayla Tackett