If you feel stuck, learn to listen to the voice of your inner child
It is common for us to reflect on our lives in the year end and make New Year’s resolution. It is satisfying to be able to summarize the past one year as fruitful and rewarding. For those who found themselves successful in accomplishing what was planned, it was encouraging to make plans to go further in the next year. However, due to many unforseeable factors, many people might not be able to achieve their goals formed one year ago. Some might also feel being stuck in their lives and feel lost and out of touch with themselves and others. It is not easy for them to make any New Year’s resolution and they may feel inadequate, unlovable or alone.
A client of mine was experiencing a burnout from work during this year end. He worked very hard in the past one year and accomplished a lot of tasks as planned. However, due to the restructuring of his company, he was facing a lot of uncertainty about his job and he might also be given workload out of his capacity in the coming year. Not being given more resources, the number of people he needed to manage in the coming year might be doubled and he faced enormous stress on this mission impossible. What was more demoralizing, his accomplishment for the company in the past one year was not recognized and he was also criticized for some of the setback in the sales targets seemingly related to external economic factors. As a result, he felt stuck and did not know what to do in this year end, not to mention a New Year’s resolution. He knew that he needed this job for financing his son’s education. However, he also had a gut feeling that it would be a miserable year ahead for him if he stayed in this job.
Similar to this client’s struggle, a lot of people felt to have inner conflict between one’s logical thinking and one’s gut-level emotions and feelings. If this inner conflict had not been resolved, these people might go on and take action that is opposed to what one feels. As a result, they are disconnected with their inner feelings. We might see our inner natural and feeling-driven self as our inner child part. Our adult part is the part of ourselves taking actions and engaging in logical thinking. If our rational thinking is connected with our inner feelings, we do not experience any inner conflict. We feel peaceful and joyful for our lives. If there is a conflict between our adult and inner child part, we feel stuck and lost. Sometimes, people might also escape from the pain of this disconnect through addiction, such as alcoholism or shopaholism.
To be able to reconnect our adult part and the inner child part, we need to become aware of our inner conflict. Through self-reflection, meditation, or other means, we might be able to be more aware that our actions might be in conflict with our gut-level feelings or natural self. For instance, my client might be able to be aware that he felt his job meaningless due to the unreasonable demands and his natural self of valuing having more time to cultivate family relationships. In fact, he really wanted to spend more time with his son to witness his growth and to mentor him more in this life journey.
After we realising that there is a conflict inside us between our adult part and inner child part, we need to acknowledge that we have a choice to whether to ignore our gut-level feeling part or to open up to act according to our inner child’s feelings. Of course, it is easy to said than done. In fact, this reconnection requires us, first of all, to stablize our emotions in the face of this inner chaos.
After regulating our emotions, we need to strive a balance between the rational thinking and fulfilling our inner child’s needs. Sometimes, it is not feasible to go for a choice only to satisfy our inner child. For example, the client above needed to consider that he cannot sustain his family financial demands if he quitted his current job suddenly. In this case, the adult part and the inner child part might need to compromise to a more feasible choice to resolve the inner conflicts. For instance, the client might keep his current job and plan for job search as a New Year’s resolution. By making this choice, my client opened up to fulfill his inner child’s needs. He might be able to feel more self love and also being able to love his significant others more.
In this year end, let us be more self aware and reflect upon whether we are stuck and disconnect with our inner child. It is worthwhile for us to pay effort to reconnect with our inner child part so that we can be more true to ourselves. In this way, we can also be more loving and caring for other people.