The world did not end*

* spoiler alert. It didn’t. It even got better…

I realised I made a mistake. This is what happened afterwards – the short version:

  • That’s stupid, You’re stupid! (inner critic, yelling and pointing a finger at me)
  • Get me out of here, I can’t bear it! (inner child, screaming, running in all directions trying to escape, wanting to put her fingers in her ears)
  • I realise there’s an inner drama going on (inner adult)

First response: fight that critic! (inner critic criticising inner critic).

Second response: do something nice to relax! (inner child asking for fun escape)

In the meanwhile, I was procrastinating on Facebook… Then I realised it might have something to do with the inner drama…

Me calling my inner adult.
First response: silence…
Second response: maybe…

Me calling out my inner adult from behind my frightened child: I know you are here, let’s do this together. I’ll ask you questions, you can answer.
First response: okay… (inner adult)
Second response: hey, I’m already here! (inner adult)

Me: What can you say to a stressed out parent type?
Inner adult: Thanks for the warning, I’ll take it from here. I know how to handle this.

Me: What can you say to a frightened child?
Inner adult: It know it looks unbearable, but I don’t thinks it’s that bad. Shall we go and have a look together?

Me to my inner adult: Thanks!

I’ve learned this weekend that the most natural response for human beings is to reach out and search for help. If that help doesn’t appear, then comes fight or flight mode. When that doesn’t work, then follows freeze (going numb). Over time, you adapt. If the option ‘help’ gets disappointed too often, you skip it and sooner choose for fight or fight. If that mode fails you too often in creating what you want, then freeze becomes the preferred mechanism of your brain.

If I apply that knowledge to what just happened, I learn some things:
1) Hanging around of Facebook for too long can be a sign of wanting help, or a sign of being in flight mode. It’s nice when I learn to recognise which one it it, so I can work with it. If I long for help, I can decide to ask for it.

I’ve done that one time when I was feeling really, really, really low. I asked my Facebook friends to say something nice about me because I felt crap, and I got the most heart warming responses. And I could tell they meant them, which helped me open up to the feeling that I might be more okay than what my brain was telling me.

2) If I’m in flight mode, I can give in to it – or try to find a way to make it safe to check what’s going on inside me.

In this post, looking at it through the structures of inner critic and inner child, helped me to find the safety to look from a distance and try to understand which thoughts were going on. So I could take it from there.

Now I get it, and no I want to go back to work! The mistake that triggered all this, was calling someone 15 minutes late. I’m glad that I noticed that the stress it caused me was out of proportion, and that I concluded that something was going on. Thanks to my learnings this weekend, I realised I could choose to look at both my inner critic and my inner child from the perspective of compassion. Then I could stop fighting them, and had space for my inner adult to enter the stage.

I used to thing that fighting my inner critic was the adult thing to do. I used to think that being self critical was helpful to force me to get things done. This post helped me realise that my inner adult does not fight, criticise or hide. When it’s there, it listens to the ruckus going on, and responds. And helps to make choices.

I know I should work on the lay-out of this post, but I REALLY want to get my work done. And then I REALLY want to go outside. Priorities! Many thanks if you managed to read the text anyway. The brilliant place/space where I’ve been learning the new things is: http://psentraining.com/

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