While I’ve never been to burning man, I absolutely love this photo. It depicts, so well, what “inner child” truly means (at least to me).
When we were young, we were innocent – free from judgment, criticism, and ego. We were naive to the world, happily playing outside, dreaming big things. When we started to get a big older, and understand the difference between right and wrong, particularly as it comes to personal feelings, we started to develop a sense of mistrust in another, perhaps maybe due to some abuse and trauma, which triggered our psyches to eradicate most of our naiveness to the world. It is through these triggers that we developed into the adults we have become.
As adults, we know the difference between right and wrong, well. However, we have enough life experience behind us to now choose how we will handle certain situations, as we now understand what it means to place meaning behind something, and what the outcome will be. But what is so fascinating is a trigger that set off a particular emotion as a child, can certainly trigger that same emotion as an adult. The only way to change that particular behavior is to remain present and self-aware.
For years – even through my early 30s – my parents could say something to the effect of they were disappointed in me, or lecture me on something with “that tone”; and I’d immediate revert back to a childhood response that was less than adult. It was weird to me because I’d never react that way to someone else. As I got older and started to see my friends become parents, my perception changed, and I started putting myself in my parents’ shoes. It was then that I realized if my “Inner Child” is going to come out, it should only be for the fun stuff. Here are some examples:
- My mom still has an Easter Egg Hunt on Easter… and it’s still super competitive
- We still rip through presents at Christmas like kids, with the same excited reactions when we see what we get
- When my mom or dad announces they are taking us on a trip, all four of us girls jump up and down like giddy 8 year-olds
- When a sister and myself get together, we tend to revert to childhood foods, snacks, drinks, and movies, desperately wanting to wear feet pajamas
The point with bringing up these examples is, finding that inner child to have a good time with, helps bring you back to your true self. That wonderment and excitement you felt when you got the toy you wanted, or someone was proud of you for doing something great, etc. – that feeling deep down is something you want to hang onto and find more of. It’s that feeling that brings out the best in us, enlightens us, and affects others. It’s something that keeps us young, and keeps us reaching for more.
To conclude, if I could still get away with playing with my Barbie collection and building lego mansions, while dreaming of starting (another) business, I would. Instead, I have to give a shout out to Lisa Frank for developing “adult coloring books”. You’re my hero. I’m going back to my pillow fort now…