Just when you think you’ve got it figured out, this thing called life, along comes another curve ball. Do you dodge it, step off the plate, or hit it for a home run – or maybe it’s a combination of all these things over a period of time?
Life has been a succession of curve balls for me and I almost felt like I was able to step up and hit them with impunity. Almost. It might have been a little bump as opposed to a slashing homer, but I kept stepping up to the plate, which is all that really matters.
Avoidance – dodging the tricky ones – has long been my modus operandi. It’s a way of preventing confrontation. My inner child likes to hide and she certainly doesn’t like to be yelled at, sworn at, and made to feel so small and insignificant that her opinion could not possibly matter.
This is something that most people who think they know me would find hard to believe because above all else, bluster and the facade of bravery are the face I show the world. But they are very much a front for this wounded inner child.
When life throws me challenges I go into the corner and hide, pull a blanket of body fat around me for comfort and security, and shut everything out. It’s not very high functioning behaviour and it certainly makes it difficult to get stuff done.
So I’ve worked to change and made some major inroads to heal the inner child but as I, and anyone who has ever practised the art of self-discovery found out, the more you dig the more dirt comes up.
Some specifics about the process and how it may be able to help you…
Our behaviours are largely set when we are children alongside our values and beliefs. They come from those around us, our parents and siblings, our friends, the media we watch and read and our society. We are creatures of habit and we always make space in our lives for the things that we value and believe in.
Unfortunately very few childhoods are free from harm despite the best intentions of our parents. It’s not deliberate and in part brought on by the way our child’s mind perceives the information that it’s receiving.
For example, a parent who wants their child to succeed and have greater opportunities than they did (or believe they did) may push by insisting that child can always do better. If the grade is not the highest then it’s not good enough and being ‘not good enough’ can, in turn, become what the child’s mind interprets from this message. “I’m not good enough.”
This certainly wasn’t the parent’s intention – mum and/or dad just wants the best for their child – but the child sees that no matter how hard he/she tries they can never be good enough to receive unconditional love.
It’s such muddy water because as we grow we continue to take on board beliefs about ourselves that are conditioned by our earliest responses. Before you know it you’re either a drop-out because, who the hell cares, I’m not good enough so why bother trying, or you’re on the treadmill trying to achieve that elusive goal of perfection but never being satisfied.
Addictions can start from a tiny seed of belief; sown in your mind when you were a child it takes root, is fertilised by experience and the influence of others until bam, you’re filling the void with alcohol, food, drugs or any other addictive behaviour that might salve the hurt inner child.
Looking in a non-judgmental way at your values and beliefs helps to reveal why you choose to do the things you do. There are some useful resources available to determine what your values really are (try out Dr John Demartini – I use a modified version of one of his questionnaires as the basis of this discovery with my life coaching clients).
By going through this process you can begin to unravel some of the programming that is no longer serving you as an adult – if it ever did – but one thing I’ve found is that it’s definitely an ongoing process. Once you start to reprogramme the things you tell yourself, your beliefs and values, the more you unravel the knots and pull up things you didn’t even know were buried (take a look at mBraining for more on the power of our language – the things we tell ourselves).
It can be disconcerting to be unmade but it can also be very exciting and liberating. Life’s curve balls call you to question the path you’re on and prove as a reminder that there’s more work to be done!
If you’re interested in discovering more, changing harmful patterns of behaviour, contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org because two heads are definitely better than one.