Have you ever thought about why you might want to change something? A tire, a diaper, a behavior? I don’t know a whole lot about changing a tire, which probably isn’t a good thing, but what I do know is you wouldn’t do it simply because you want to. You’d do it because you have to. The same with a diaper. A fresh diaper doesn’t need to be changed, but by golly, you definitely want to change a soiled one asap.
So, what about behaviors? When and why might you change those? I think the place to start is to suggest that as humans, we’re not set in stone. That is to say we’re dynamic. I think we can all agree that we’re not the same person we were as a small child or when we were in college, or even last week for that matter. We have experiences that impact and shape us.
The behaviors we learned when we were young insured our survival and that’s important. But are those same behaviors necessary when we’re older? Probably not. But for most of us, those survival behaviors are still with us and they are alive and well, showing up as triggers - sometimes when we least expect them.
That’s why inner child work is so important. It’s not really work though, it’s more like creating a relationship with the younger version of yourself. That little one needs to know that you the adult are capable of being in charge before she’s willing to give up the reins. But how do you know what she’s holding onto?
Do you ever find yourself behaving in a way that creates a sensation in your body? Perhaps you feel your blood pressure rising, your hands starting to shake, or your body tensing up. Maybe it’s the tone of your voice that changes. Something in your body will change.
The little one is letting you know that she’s been triggered and she doesn’t feel safe. When you start to feel this, notice what your most recent thought was, what you said, or what was said to you. With this noticing you can start to change a behavior.
Calming the little one is an act of love, she needs to know you’re there for her. If you haven’t connected with her for a while, or if you never have, she may be a bit reluctant. But she needs you and you need her. Find a quiet spot and invite her to come sit with you. Don’t give up. It may take a few times, but remember, this is new to her and she needs to know you can be trusted. Talk with her. Find out what she’s trying to protect you from or what scares her. Be curious. Give her the love you want for yourself because she is after all you. She just wants to feel loved.
If you have behaviors that you feel need changing, try connecting with your inner child. You may find she has a lot to tell you.