How to celebrate a summer of self-love – part six

Is your life being controlled by a small child (other than your own children!)? Find out if a seven-year old you is still calling the shots, and learn how to befriend her.

In the next instalment in our summer of self-love we’re exploring the idea of your inner child. Katie Phillips from Daring & Mighty believes that many of us are unconsciously allowing the feelings of a small child (us when we were younger!) to control our lives.

She explains how we can free ourselves from our inner child’s control by learning to listen to them – and by doing so even learn to rediscover our joy at simply being alive.

Is your life being controlled by a small child?

Up until the age of around seven, we interpret the world emotionally because our mental faculty hasn’t developed yet.

At the same time, we are in survival mode and our instinct is to copy our carers (usually our mum and dad) because we intuit that if we are like them, then they will pay us attention – and that attention will guarantee us food,water,shelter etc to survive. We take on our carers’ beliefs, behaviours and habits emotionally; there is no rationale.

As an adult, we then find ourselves being operated by that emotional part of us. Our habits of behaviour, our beliefs and emotional responses are controlled by the emotions of a small child (if we are unconscious to what it really going on).

So essentially, most of us have a small child running the show in our lives! This is known as our ‘inner child’.

Your inner child needs your attention

We all have an inner child, but some are more needy and controlling than others. When many of my clients come to me, they still have a little girl running their relationships, their business, their finances, their decisions and their emotional responses – with predictably disastrous results!

But by helping them to tune into this very real and very special part of them they are able to achieve true and deep healing. And take control of their life back.

But what about your inner child? Is the seven-year old you still running your life? And do you love yourself enough to develop a compassionate relationship with her? After all, she is desperate for your attention.

Be compassionate with your inner child

To practice self-love, you need to listen to the voice of your inner child. You need to recognise when she’s feeling alone, unloveable, worried, insecure or unsafe; because when she is, you are.

When you listen to your inner child and how she is feeling, and understand where your own negative feelings are coming from, you can rationalise them, accept them and let them go. I personally find it so much easier to accept my feelings when I consider that they are coming from the child inside me. I am instantly able to stop being hard on myself and switch to patience and compassion.

And by doing so I can access the other half of my inner child – my unbridled joy and playfulness. I can laugh and smile easily,and find happiness in simply pleasures, just like I did when I was young.

Treat yourself as you would a small child

So from this moment on I invite you to treat yourself as you would a small child; with compassion, understanding and unconditional love.

I will often take time out to listen to my inner child. I will consciously connect with her and ask her how she is and if she needs anything from me. Essentially what I am doing is asking myself how I am feeling.

When I do this I give myself a chance to be honest and admit if I am feeling a little low, flat or cross and I make a decision around how to manage that feeling. What do I need? Do I need a hug? Do I need to talk to a friend? Do I need a nap or a day off work? Do I need to write or bash the stuffing out of a pillow?! You get the idea.

As a conscious woman who can trust herself, I know what I need to do to allow my feelings and give them room to be . And so do you.

10 quick ideas to connect with your inner child

To help you connect with your inner child in a positive way – to feel without fear and rediscover the joy of just being alive – make a commitment to love her more and allow her to express herself. Here are 10 quick ideas:

  1. Dance around your kitchen.
  2. Build a den or treehouse with your kids.
  3. Give yourself time and space to FEEL.
  4. Go to a theme park and actually go on the rides.
  5. Ride a bike.
  6. Explore nature.
  7. Ask someone for a hug.
  8. Watch a comedy and let yourself laugh out loud.
  9. Play catch or other childhood games with your kids.
  10. Do something silly with your friends.

You see, it’s not hard stuff. It’s simple and obvious. It simply takes commitment. If you desire to love yourself, then give your inner child some love and attention.

Katie Phillips is the founder of Daring & Mighty, an organisation committed to sharing the importance of having a healthy, loving and conscious relationship with yourself.