**As you read I invite you to pause and Let Go.**
Ask yourself this question.
What really matters in childhood?
Here’s my sense. Ideally, childhood is where we learn what it means to approve of ourself. This sense of self-approval begins or doesn’t with the child-parent relationship. If, in reading this, you realize a sense of self-approval was not something you got as a child, I have great news. The child inside you is still there! You can create a sense of self-approval beginning now.
Let’s begin with a peek inside most everyone.
Regardless of our age, existing inside each of us is a child, an adult and a parent. The innocent, inner child lives mostly in the present. He’s delightfully curious and absorbs from his world without filters. Sometimes he gets into trouble. If this is not handled lovingly, overtime the child is wounded and may become a victim.
The parent is all-knowing, has expectations (typically of excellence) and takes on the job of scolding the child. Parents often have disapproving energy. To the child, they appear disappointed and at times disgusted. Above all, the parent is always right.
The adult has a gentle yet wise energy. It’s the adult inside who acts calmly and without criticism often instead with humour. They are accepting and approving. Unlike the parent, adults don’t yell unless there’s an emergency.
So there you have it, child, adult and parent in a nutshell. Now we need a scenario from which to play.
Imagine you’ve planned to reduce the quantity of simple carbohydrates in your diet. In plan english you’re cutting back on sugar, white flour, white rice and mashed potatoes. Inside your fridge lives a gorgeous cupcake which includes two major no-no ingredients (plenty of sugar and white flour). As you stand in front of the fridge, door open, gazing longingly at the beguiling party-treat, answer this. Who’s looking at the dreamy cupcake?
Peek-a-boo! It’s the child.
If you want to see the child again flash into a scene at a family Thanksgiving where relatives of all ages hover around the feast. Who are all these people wearing flimsy, multicoloured cracker crowns, forks and knives poised at the ready? They’re children. Pay attention next time you join others at a yummy meal and look for the child inside to come out – “Awh… I just need one more slice of this super deelish chocolate cake” (child).
Child says, “Blah, blah blah, what about that cupcake you mentioned?” Right. Back to the cupcake.
Children in proximity of treats are known for their speed. In a microsecond, that cupcake gets whizzed out of the fridge, no plate and before you could say “fuzzy pickles” a bite is swirling around the child’s mouth. Oh, oh! Who shows up next but the disapproving parent! Hands on hips and from a super grumpy face they yell, “Really?” “What’s that in your mouth?” (Parents love rhetorical questions) “Don’t you know that cupcake is full of heart-attack inducing sugar and white flour?” Parent goes on (and on) and eventually states the obvious (another favourite tactic).
“Does this mean everytime you see a cupcake you’re going to wolf it down without even asking my permission?!”
“Uh…huh.” child replies contemplating another bite.
And so it goes, the ancient and often draining drama of parent and child.
What happens when we seek the adult as replacement for the parent?
One more time with the cupcake scene.
The adult observes the child munching on the sugary treat and smiles (no expectations just acceptance). Child smiles back and wipes icing from her mouth, “You want some?” she gestures at the ravaged cupcake still in hand.
“I’m good.” replies the adult. Then child does something interesting.
“This is good too and I’ve had enough for now.” Then child grabs a small tupperware container pops in the remaining piece of cupcake and returns this to the fridge.
What if every interaction with child involved the approving adult instead of the disapproving parent? Check right now who’s answering this question (adult, parent or child)?
“Love is the only domain that expands intelligence.”
~ Humberto Maturana
To be continued… in the next post.