As every parent knows, the beginning of each school year brings new hope and potential for our children.
My youngest daughter was preparing for her first year at college when she showed me a set of pencils that she had purchased. Each pencil proudly boasted a bright character from the popular Walt Disney movie Frozen. Smiling, I reminded my daughter that it’s important to nurture her inner child, especially as she begins this first chapter of adulthood.
It’s my hope that my daughter’s inner child has many great memories, filled with joy and triumph, to encourage and support her emerging adult self.
Despite my best protective efforts, I know that my daughter’s inner child also has memories filled with sadness and struggle. I could only advise my daughter when faced with life’s inevitable challenges, her confidence growing with each obstacle that she overcame.
A critical characteristic as she navigates the road to adulthood, each victory, an affirmation of her strength and courage. Attributes that will continue to guide her pencil, as she writes the subsequent chapters of her story.
Admiring the look of excitement on my daughter’s face as she gathered her pencils, inner child delighted, I couldn’t help but wonder about the inner children of others.
And, what of my inner child?
I only found her around five years ago. Maybe a little longer, but not much longer. Until then, I had forgotten all about her.
Before I rediscovered my inner child, there was an empty space inside me. And, while I was acutely aware of the emptiness, I had no idea how to fill it. I was incomplete.
I didn’t realize that I was actually missing someone. I didn’t realize it until I found her.
She had forgotten how to play, lost somewhere underneath my hurt and anger. Both our memories of childhood happiness buried beneath emotional rubble.
I discovered my inner child, wandering about somewhat aimlessly, after I learned to forgive those who had hurt me. As love and forgiveness slowly replaced hurt and anger, I began to reconnect with her, restoring balance within.
She now spends most of her time in pursuit of inspiration. She’s happy listening to her favorite music, reading her favorite books, taking time to just breathe. As an introvert, she enjoys spending time by herself.
Together we’ve subdued the voice of my inner critic, giving me the extra courage needed to explore beyond my comfort zone.
Nurturing the child that I had once been and still am, has deepened my capacity for love and forgiveness, as I draw upon her natural gift. Together, we are stronger and complete.
Children are great teachers, often reminding us of what’s important. I’ve learned that our happiness is dependent on our forgiveness.
What of the person whose inner child doesn’t have comparable memories of joy or triumph to balance the sadness and struggle. Is that child happy? Does that child play? Can he or she still learn what was denied to them in childhood? I can only hope so.
Life is a learning process, occurring between the lines of our stories. We can all learn to be happy, including our inner children, but like all children, they need our guidance and nurturing. If forgotten, they need to rediscover what inspires their happiness.
Unlike other children, they will never have the opportunity to eat ice cream under the hot summer sun, jump in a rain puddle or a pile of freshly raked leaves, toboggan down a hill on a cold winter’s day.
Inner children need their adult selves to lead them. Within every adult, a child coexists. Their reality does not exist in our physical world. It exists within their adult selves. Their reality is what we create it to be.
We can fill their reality with the ruins of our emotional debris, obliterating our knowledge of their existence as they remain in a state of misery and dissatisfaction, their needs unfulfilled. Or, we can fill their reality with new memories of joy and triumph. Through us, and us through them, we can recapture those micro-moments of delight.
As adults, we become so busy keeping up with our lives that we can forget to nurture our inner children. We forget to take the time for ourselves, to do what makes us happy instead of what we must. We are never too old to play or have fun, with no other goal then our personal enjoyment. There is no age limit on childish enterprise.
The next time you see a rain puddle, make a splash. Take time to spend with your own children, playing with them. Children never miss an opportunity to have fun. Another lesson that we can learn from them.
Inner children are no different. Whenever you engage in play, in what you love, your inner child will automatically participate. No invitation necessary.
Spend time with yourself, learning what inspires, captures and captivates you. Explore what motivates you, thereby igniting your flame. Learn a new skill. Find a new hobby. Move forward, never becoming stagnant.
Take out the emotional trash as required. Otherwise, it will accumulate and obscure your vision, hiding your true worth. Remember who you are. Remember who you were.
My cup remains half full.
© 2015 Brenda Baker