Tag Archives: inner adult

Eating a frog with gusto

I’m slowly getting into a routine with my November project, and it works. I hate routines, and I don’t work on my project on a set time. The routine is simply to work on it every day. Whether a lot or a little, both count. I just want to make headway everyday. It looks like my inner adult has kicked in. That’s a relief.

The first time I felt that green zone of my have-to – horse shoe was after I took the time to think my project through. The planning was done – and I felt eager for action! My energy was gone, so I had to wait until the next day. But the next day I was eager to begin, instead of reluctant and filled with dread. That felt like nothing short of a miracle. I can’t have been a miracle though – I created it myself. Yay me!

The second time my inner adult kicked in was this morning. I didn’t see it coming. I’d had a bad night’s sleep and a frustrating morning with my son. At 8.30 AM I was alone, tired and grumpy.

First thing I did was take a break – I’ve made the mistake to NOT do that so many times that I’ve learned that it really, really, really doesn’t work if I fight my way through the day. When I do I just get a lot more tired, much more moody, highly irritable. I tend to end up feeling like a horrible person because of deplorable behaviour towards my loved ones. So I’ve learned to take some time for myself in the morning before I start work.

I watched an old episode of Navy NCIS to completely take my mind off myself. When that was finished, I wondered what to do about my project today. Drum roll… I got the urge to do it NOW instead of later! I realised I was curious where my administration was hiding, since I hadn’t found it in Mount Doom yet. So I decided to set a time limit, dive into one of my piles and search for relevant stuff I could archive.

I self managed. I let myself be guided by my goal instead of whatever I encountered. No scope creep. No distractions. When I found stuff that was easy to throw away or easy to put away within my set time limit, I sorted it – and put it all in the right place before I reached my limit. Now I (already!) have a concrete, visible and satisfying result:

  • Some stuff archived
  • Some stuff in the recycling bin
  • Some stuff put away in the place where it belongs

My reward is on my lap now. I’ve taken the time to cuddle with the loudest purring creature I know. Her sounds of satisfaction make me feel I’m a wonderful person. (There was a time when I tried to do daunting tasks without a reward, but since rewards can help against procrastination, I use them consciously now.)

What my inner adult did, was want something that I normally have to trick myself into: eating a frog. A metaphor that stands for doing the thing you’re most likely to procrastinate on first. It’s a favourite trick for a number of my clients.

I love how I don’t even have to trick myself into writing the #NaBloPoMo blog posts. I like it and I’m happy to do it. My inner adult finds it easy to get this done. It’s more a reward than a frog 🙂

Poes mapPoes schoot

The horse shoe of have-to

Yesterday I thought about the dynamic my inner school master often starts, when it bosses me around. I’ve tried to draw what happens, to make it easier to understand.

At the bottom of the horse shoe is option 1. It’s my school master (the strictest form of my inner parent) drawing out my inner toddler (the least cooperative form of my inner child). One says “You have to”, the other one says “I don’t want to”. Sometimes my school master wins, sometimes my toddler. Either way, their fight leaves me drained.

The slightly milder version is nr. 2, the pink part of the horse shoe. The bossing around is less strict: “You should” – leaving at least some space to the possibility that it might not happen. My inner child responds with “I’m not sure I will”. A bit of a tricky situation: there’s less discussion, but who knows what will happen? If it doesn’t happen, my inner critic will have a field day: “You should have done that you… [insert appropriate form of unfriendly name calling].

Nr. 3 leaves more space. The schoolmaster has been replaced by a much friendlier form of inner parent, one who likes to give advice, to guide, to support – though from a place of authority still. The “you could” has that vibe that says “it’s your choice, but it would be wise if you did”. My inner child responds with “I might”. Which is meant as a tentative yes.

And there’s area 4… The green fields of “I want to”. There’s no inner parent, no inner child (or not much of them, anyway) just my healthy inner adult that says “I want to… more or less”. The more or less creates a lot of space. There’s room for making my bed for example. My inner child knows I don’t like that, and I don’t want that. My inner parent says you should. My inner parent wants it – more or less: it has arguments that matter to me, like that it’s hygienic and will make my partner happy. This way it motivates me to get that boring, repeating, senseless job done and don’t even complain about it (yes, my inner child has a strong opinion on this specific task ;)).

I’m now training my inner critic to say ‘well done you’, when my inner adult and me have gotten a job done. The inner critic is at a loss. It has way more experience in finding fault than in providing more inclusive feedback (both mistakes and things that went well).

I’m quite curious if you recognise any of these types in you: your inner critic, inner toddler, inner healthy adult? Never mind the exact words, they are loosely based on different types of theory and therapy I know of. For me, these are the words that describe those parts of me best. Yours may have different names, and different characteristics.

horse shoe have to

I haven’t written this much in ages. Thank you #NaBloPoMo, I’m enjoying it!