Do you need to listen to your inner child?

It is hard to put into words how I have felt over the last week. Anxious? Yes. Tired? That too. But more than that. Fragmented.

One minute I was alright, the next minute I’d burst into tears. As quickly as they came, they would go. Usually I would tell myself it’s ‘OK not to be OK’ but it felt empty and nothing like enough.

I did the adult things of looking on the bright side and counting my privileges but it still wasn’t enough either.

That’s when I realised: perhaps this is the problem. Me, denying these child-like feelings and trying to hold them at bay.

You see, it is these strange and uncertain times that tap straight into old fears and doubts. Ones that bring our internal selves into conflict.

As children we are learning to figure out the world around us – What are the adults doing? Why is that happening? Where are we going? Are we there yet?

Our infant brains haven’t yet figured out how to contextualise: we’re relying on big people to do it for us.

But time goes on and we get better at finding our place in the world. As adults we understand what’s going on around us: what we can control and what we can’t. What the perceived reality is versus the actual reality.

I guess that, like me, you might be struggling to understand the world right now.

I’m trying to be a good member of society and make sure my actions are responsible and informed, but is it enough? It depends who’s saying what with which data. It’s like a baffling card game: ‘pick an expert, any expert!’ encourages the virtuoso, only there’s no magic cure.

At our essence, we are still children but we’re more adept at being adults too. Every now and then we fall into the trap of thinking we’ve figured it all out. I’ve learnt a lesson, we cry, and I’ll not get like it again! Except life and emotions are more complicated. We’re never the finished product, always a work in progress. A child, an adult, a parent. Sometimes all at once, others at different times. Sometimes in conflict, others in agreement.

It’s days like these that motivates the child inside to re-emerge and speak out. That’s when it’s easy to feel disjointed.

It was time to dump hatching the self-care plans and listen. Wander through the feelings, stay grounded and take each day at a time. As is always the case, the feelings passed.

Next time, I’ll lean into it a bit earlier. There’s no need to do anything else.

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I'm a writer, journalist and communications officer based in the South West of England. I write about wellbeing, the outdoors and life in a rural playground.

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