Do you have an inner child? One who kicks and screams her little pig-tailed head off when things don’t go as you want them to? I do. Normally she is content to play with her dollies and not rear her spoiled-rotten head –but there are times when she just won’t stay put and remain silent; and no amount of ignoring her or distraction works to quiet her constant “woe is me” tirades.
She annoys me.
She frustrates me.
Unfortunately, she is me.
Any offense or slight can set her off. Big or small. Real or imagined.
She makes me forget the good things in my life. She causes me to be distracted from the beautiful moments that happen all around me every day. Her voice plays in an unending loop – a loop of complaints and offenses.
Why not me?
Why wasn’t I invited?
Why don’t I have that?
Why can’t I be smarter, thinner, beautiful?
Why can’t my house be fancier?
Why haven’t I been more successful?
The tirade of injustice plays over and over – she is quite persistent.
The inner dialogue continues even as I walk through my day, doing my life, coming and going. Through morning preparations for work and school, through conversations with my family, through interactions with co-workers and friends – she just never shuts up! Once the little girl gets started she is like a dog with a bone. Her anger and jealousy are like a scab that just gets picked at and picked at and picked at – a wound that never gets the opportunity to fully heal.
Unfortunately, her poison doesn’t just infect me. Her insistence that she has been mistreated produces an attitude in me that spills over into my treatment of those whom I love most. I become pensive and annoyed and short-tempered – and worst of all – I become completely flippant and self-righteous. It is ugly, people, truly ugly.
She’s been rearing her little head a lot over the past year. I find she is most active when I am in phases of my life that are unsure, unplanned, uncontrollable – this year has been one of transition for me and I’m still unsure of my footing. I’m not 100% convinced I have made the right choices and I am unclear of what the consequences (good or bad) of the choices I HAVE made will be.
There is only one way I’ve found to convince the woman-child to return to her slumber. A complete re-direction of my thoughts and heart. Even as I type that, it sounds trite. Like, well duh, April – self-help books have been spouting that for years – change your perspective, change your life. Thanks so much for wasting our time with THAT nugget of wisdom!
Seems like that old saying is true – “There is nothing new under the sun.”
I don’t know what your reset looks like, but mine looks like this – pray – a lot, about everything – if I can I like to get in my car and drive and just yell out my disappointments and offenses – I figure God can take it and it isn’t like He hasn’t heard it all before.
Then I try to find 3 good things every day that God has done specifically for me – today it was that my husband made a terrific pot of coffee this morning, my daughter climbed in bed and snuggled with me as soon as she got out of bed – all warm and sleepy eyed and adorable; and (I haven’t found the third one yet).
And then I make a plan. It really doesn’t matter what the plan is. I am a planner. I like the comfort and stability of a well thought out plan. So, when my inner child is in the full-on throws of a major temper tantrum, I pull out my favorite notebook and start a list of things to accomplish – the items on the list aren’t important – it is the list itself that saves my fit- ravaged brain and soul. The act of crossing off tasks as they have been accomplished reinforces in me a sense of worth. I have strength, abilities and gifts that are uniquely mine – one of them is the ability to make lists. Ha! Everybody has their thing.
Rinse and repeat – day after day until she becomes quiet yet again.
I think the key is this – my inner-child is just that – a child. She is selfish, greedy, and loud. She firmly believes that she is entitled to whatever she wants. She hasn’t grown up. She hasn’t experienced the joy of looking outside herself and finding fulfillment in the ordinary. She hasn’t gone places and seen things; she has stayed firmly in her 6 year old self. And she really just wants to be applauded and admired and cherished. She doesn’t realize that to truly be fulfilled she must applaud, admire and cherish things and people outside herself.
The good news is – I HAVE grown up. And I have the choice to act like it!
So, it is back to the playroom for that adorable pig-tailed 6 year old inside my brain. Grown up April has some grown up things to do!