Today’s article is about something that is central to our lives, and yet most of us are misguided about it. I’m talking about your “self” – yes, what could possibly be more central to your existence?!
You see, there’s no area in the brain that’s allocated to the self. What lightens up in our neural circuitry when thinking about the self is mental frameworks that place us amongst other people and within contexts. Which means that our experiences through life create many versions of the self. And yet, we mistakenly believe it to be this one abiding, non-shifting personality that defines us.
The reality is that the self is an assemblage of many. We are a mental family, and often a bickering one. And the two characters that take center stage in our internal everyday dramas are the inner child and the inner parent. Observe yourself throughout the day, and you’ll know what I mean.
Most of us have either an authoritarian relationship with our inner child, where we order ourselves around, and beat down on ourselves for failing to meet our high standards. Or we have a permissive relationship where our inner child generally gets their own way and drags us through life with little direction and many regrets.
Authoritative parenting is different. It’s that fine balance of listening to our inner child and giving them independence, but within boundaries and with expecting obedience in return. And my experience has shown me that this is far easier in real life parenting – because unlike your little one, the inner child is in a constant tizzy.
So here are 4 tips that will help you show up in your everyday life with grace and with inner balance. They will help you maneuver the highs and lows of your emotions with equanimity, and make the best decisions given the situation you find yourself in.
Tip # 1: Know your inner child
Take a journey down memory lane and get to know her experiences so you become familiar with her fears.
Tip # 2: Ride her emotional waves
When she’s having an emotional meltdown, be sensitive and compassionate. Hold space for her emotions and help her through them.
Tip # 3: Be patient
Do NOT talk reason until she is ready to listen. It may happen soon, or it may take a while – trust that she will come around.
Tip # 4: Sometimes, just give in…
Focus on the relationship, not on getting your own way every single time. When the risks are low, perhaps consider giving in to her wishes.
I’ve always felt centered with this approach. Try it for yourself over the week and see how it goes.