Lately, I have found myself thinking about the strategies I adopted in childhood that continue to express themselves in my current life – even though these behaviors may at times be problematic.
So for example, I personally struggle with transparency within the realm of communication. I’ve realized that somewhere in my upbringing, I had an experience that created the belief that speaking my truth would cause disapproval, seclusion, rejection, or some other form of discomfort within a given relationship. Consequently, I learned to keep my mouth shut. For me, I had learned that in order to prevent these more negative experiences from developing within a given relationship I was better off not saying anything that could be perceived in a negative light to another person – even if that silence created a form of pain or discomfort within me.
And while this strategy allowed me to get through childhood in the socially acceptable position as the child/person who was very accommodating, responsible, polite, easy-going…. In adulthood, this same tendency to be silent often creates disconnect and separation not only between myself and the other person, but also between me and myself as I am not fully honoring my own wants, needs, and values.
The interesting thing about all of this – at least from my perspective – is the fact that this belief (and its corresponding habit) was formed at a time when a younger version of me (my inner child) saw a solution to a problem and used that solution in a one size fits all type of manner. Meaning, any time I felt discomfort, instead of voicing my discomfort, I would become silent – hoping that this discomfort would soon pass.
To help undo the self-adopted beliefs that are no longer serving me or the life that I would like to lead, I have started to recite to myself the following Hawaiian mantra. I offer it to you to help acknowledge and receive the help offered by your own inner child as well as release your inner child from the duty and responsibility he/she felt to take care of you:
“I love you.”
“Please forgive me”
And “Thank you”
I’ve found that it is quite helpful to imagine that I am taking my inner child into my arms and then make each statement a specific example of the ways in which you’re inner child did the best that he/she could at the time. So for example:
“I’m sorry that you felt responsible for taking care of everything.” (List one thing that you’re inner child may have felt as to why he/she adopted a certain belief and corresponding behavior).
“Please forgive me for not taking better care of you.” (Respond to whatever need was not met in the situation).
“Thank you for being so strong and holding down the ship until I could take over.” (Thank them for looking out for you in their own way and release them of that duty).