Tag Archives: inner child

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/

How to motivate yourself when you don’t feel motivated at all?

I’m tempted to go through my old blog posts to see if I’ve already written about this, but I dislike searching (you could say I’m not motivated to search…). I’ll do a little thinking instead. At least I know why I feel unmotivated: I like results, and I feel I’ve had no result for ages.

  • The flu is not over yet (though, admittedly, I’m better than yesterday, why does my inner critic refuse to count that as a result?)
  • I haven’t worked on my project for a week (well, that’s what it feels like, it might be shorter or longer).
  • My blog hasn’t saved the world yet (okay, that wasn’t my ambition, but still, my inner critic asks me: what’s the use of writing on days when you only have private stuff to share?)

So if there are no results to talk about, or I’m not saving the world, why write? What’s the use of commitment when it leads nowhere? Writing this down, makes me realise it’s the inner critic who’s being discouraging.

Other inner parts to the rescue

I’ll ask other parts of me ‘why write’ and see if they have to add something. And yes, they do. Here’s what they have to say. Write because:

– writing is fun (hello inner child!)
– I enjoy the connections it brings
– it’s useful for me to type out the inner voices (hello inner adult)
– I’ll feel better when I stick to my commitment than if I don’t: I’ll be proud that I made it, and found a way to do it even when it was a struggle

The last sentence is important: it leads to the difference between norms and values. AKA carrots and sticks.

Value and norms

A norm tells you what you have to do, and that you’re bad if you don’t do it: it’s motivation by stick. The inner critic likes to use that stick to beat you into obedience. It fears there’s danger it not obeying the norms, so it tries to help you by criticising you. (Does that make sense?)

A value on the other hand is more like a carrot: a positive force that drives you to act. You do it because you WANT to, because you BELIEVE it’s the right thing. You feel happier when your values are in place, and feel bad when someone treads on them.

(Here’s a puzzle for you: is there a value that makes people want to obey rules? Then obediency might be a carrot for them, not a stick).

Commitment from the place of “I have to” sets the horse shoe in motion that I talked about. It brings out my inner toddler. Or it does now. I have a long history of being very obedient to my “I have to-’s”.

Commitment from the place of a value brings me to what I want. I want to show myself that I can stick to something for 30 days, even when it comes with ups and downs.

Full circle?

When I started my project, one of my goals was to show myself that I could do it: work on something that’s very challenging for me, and not drown. Because I was ill, I had no energy to work on my project. But I can work on my blog from that same goal: get something done (I know how to do that), and make the adjustments I need to get it done in a way that’s good for ME (that’s what I’m learning: boundaries, flexibility, and probably a bunch of other important things that I don’t realise at this moment).

So, in the end, I WAS motivated to write this post. I had to search for it. If I had found none, I truly believe that the healthy option would have been to not blog today. And from there, decided again tomorrow: to continue or to quit? For now, I’ve made it to #NaBloPoMo day 27.

If you would have told me on day 1 of my project that I’d be LONGING to work on it later this month, I wouldn’t have believed you. I do now.

A playgroud for my inner child

Still meh. Still fever. Bored with myself. I’ve been writing about my inner voices a lot, so today’ll I present you the playground for my inner child:

https://unassortedstories.wordpress.com/

I started writing short stories and poems around 2013, just for the fun of it. Little did I know about how much jox, relaxation, and wonderful online connections (Yes, that’s you David Ellis, amongst others)it would bring me.

Two years later I added paiting classes to my playground. To play, not to become a great painter. So I chose classes that helped me play (and get better at the same time): Lifebook in 2015 and 2016. Let’s Face it in 2017 and 2018. (These classes offer so much value that people rave about them out of gratefulness, not because of affiliation things.)

This year I’ve started to add my own paintings and drawings to my poems, something my inner critic wouldn’t let me do for a long time. Not good enough…

I don’t know how I got the courage to share my poems. In the beginning I was shy about sharing them, fearing criticism or scaring potential customers away or whatever my brain would come up with. But when I shared, it brought responses and interaction, which increased the fun of having written them. So I got used to sharing them.

Same goes for the paintings and drawings. I didn’t think much of them, and when I got a bit better there were more than enough flaws still. These days, I even share things I’ve made that I deem ugly.

I love great art, great poetry, great stories. But I don’t have to create those. I’m happy to be an amateur. I need a playground more than I need to be great. Seriously, it’s wonderful to be an amateur. Being an amateur is underrated.

When it comes to being successful, I care about my paid work. I want my coachings to be as good as they can be. To help people move forward. To change their lives. To increase their happiness. Big words, I know. It’s probably the only place in my life where I dream big. Because I know it’s possible.

I thought I was too ill to write today. No wisdom available, not willing to moan. I surprised myself with this number of words 🙂 It made a nice change from watching television.

I wanted to add a painting of mine I’m proud of. Then I thought it would be suitable to share an ugly one. I ended up choosing one that makes me smile.

#NaBloPoMo day 24

Today’s situation

* Health: throat aches, bad cough, slight fever, croaking voice
* Relationship: it’s our 15th anniversary today
* To do’s: more than I have energy for
* Blog: feel like I should share some wisdom because I think that’s why people read my posts.
* Inner critic: grumpy that it can’t criticise me for not taking good care of myself yesterday and blame the fact that I feel worse today on me. It feels cheated.
* Inner adult: plans a lot of rest between the two appointments I have today that I can’t cancel
* Inner child: wants to watch tv
* Wisdom: not today
* Enthusiasm: for other people’s blogs, for example:

A woman who combines decluttering wisdom with ethics.
The most generous writer I know, always spreading the word about people’s work.
The most surprising story I’ve read today.
The most playful man with words I know.

There are more blogs I love and enjoy, but my headache is growing and I think my inner child is right: time for tv!

Obviously, I won’t work on my project today. But #NaBloPoMo day 22 is done.

Practice, stumble, practice again

In general I’m not a ray of sunshine in the morning, but this morning was specifically absent with light. I’d had a nightmare filled with anger, powerlessness and feeling stupid, and somehow my mood wouldn’t lift. I had a party to go to… What to do?

My brain being my brain, there was a lot of internal discussion going on. One voice tried to keep me at home, explaining in a thousand ways how that was the safest option. Another voice tried to make me go out, reminding me that I think birthdays are important and adding a thousand other arguments. I won’t bore you with all the details.

I wondered how I was going to make a decision I would like, and remembered the horse shoe of have -to I created earlier during #NaBloPoMo. I realised the part of the horse shoe that stands for ‘I can’ might get me somewhere, so I made a list of ‘I can’ that felt relevant for today:
– I can go to lunch.
– I can go for a walk.
– I can paint.

The first two options were part of the party I was invited to. The third option would have me stay at home. The list of ‘can’ cleared my mind. I realised:
– I want to go to the party.
– I can go home if it’s not working for me.
– It will be easier fro me to join the lunch than a 7km walk.
– It’s lovely weather so I’d like to walk a bit.

I ended up walking to the party to join the lunch, and walking back home when the other ones went on a hike. I’m back home now, and I have time to rest before my son comes home. And time to write this post.

Since my brain has had a lot of training in negative and worried thoughts, I’ll have to practice it in the thoughts I want to have more of. The horse shoe of have-to can help me. Getting in touch with my values may help me, but only when I watch out for the difference between a value (a carrot for my inner adult or inner child) and a norm (which is a stick for my inner school master). Whatever decision I make will feel better if I manage to step away from I have to and find my way to I want to.

How will I do this after National Blog Posting Month is over and I don’t write about all this stuff any more? Hmmm, I guess I’ll have to search for my I want-to’s…

I took care of my inner child today

… and here’s what we did:

De_Vliegende_Hollander_(Efteling)
[image source https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:De_Vliegende_Hollander_(Efteling).JPG]

At the end of last week I realised I had missed out on something really important: creating time and space for my inner happy child. My inner child is the part of me that’s playful, spontaneous, fun-loving, relaxed, feels connected to other people, etc. The part of me that contributes to my health and wellbeing by keeping me sane.

She got negelected badly last week. My inner schoolmaster and inner critic had a ball, and my inner adult was working hard on dealing with all of that. Each time my inner happy child suggested to do something fun, all of them ignored her. Jig saw puzzle? No time for that. Painting? Has to wait, we have serious stuff going on.

At the beginning of my November project I thought about how I could make this much dreaded project a success, instead of it making all my fears come true. I had some vague ideas about planning and concrete ideas on protecting myself from scope creep. I included things I know from my work as procrastination coach, like breaks on time (instead of too late) and small but helpful rewards.

I learned from last week that I should plan more than just recovery time. I need happy time as well.

I’ll start my work week tomorrow by doing some thinking again, to improve on the half-finished plan I’ve made. I procrastiate on planning… the trigger is that I have low confidence in my ability to stick to a concrete plan. Life comes in between, fatigue comes in between, and a limitless number of other threats. My brain tells me it’s not a problem to change a plan if that’s necessary. My emotions tell me changing a plan is too dangerous. They know what my inner critic will do…

Eat this inner critic: #NaBloPoMo day 12 is done! 😉