Do you remember sitting at a rickety fold-out table, with the other outcasts, also known as children, at holiday meal time? I’m talking about the kids table. I always felt that being forced to sit with other ostracized children was not my idea of holiday like behaviour. But who has a say when you’re eight?
Which brings me to my point: always sitting at the kids table. This is of course, a metaphorical, not literal situation and addresses my past feelings of being a child in adult form.
From the age of eighteen, I felt very uncomfortable and unprepared to live my life as an adult. I felt like a fraud. I’d somehow grown up physically, but I was completely unequipped and unprepared psychologically. Maybe you can relate…
As you know when you feel insecure inside, you somehow want to prove that you don’t. So, I set out to prove that I wasn’t a helpless little girl. My inner warrior went full tilt and I kicked things into turbo gear. Oh yeah, I’ll show you! I’m not some incapable female… I’ll just go to Africa all by myself. That did not end well by the way. It was a “learning experience” (the phrase used for complete disasters).
The first problem with rebellion is that it’s painfully unsustainable. The second problem with rebellion is that you waste a lot of time rebelling against an idea of yourself. In other words, you are trying to prove yourself, to yourself.
There I was recreating situations in which I would be taken care of, while simultaneously rebelling against being taken care of. I was gallivanting off to different corners of the earth to disprove my self-imposed identity and secretly wishing I didn’t have to. Can you see the turmoil and conflict this situation creates?
When your Identity Doesn’t Fit Anymore
After years of playing identity tennis, I was wrung out. From pure exhaustion I dropped my rebellious cape and began to emerge as my True Self. I started to embrace the positive side of being young at heart. I acknowledged all the good things that go along with being young minded, young spirited and young looking (I’ll milk this one until my friends and family start to get embarrassed for me). I decided that being a little girl was fun but didn’t suit me anymore in its limitations. I couldn’t expand and live my dreams while playing the little girl; I was tired of dress-up time.
The good news is that your True Self is not limited: it has many facets. We can tap into our inner child, our feminine self, our masculine self, our teacher and our parent, just to name a few. I wanted to embrace them all and give them full access to come forward.
So I experimented. I became a Reiki teacher. I got a toolbox. I bought a little black dress. I mentored youth. If I felt that creepy sensation of being a little girl in grown-up clothes, I became still and asked what my inner child was trying to tell me. Most times I was just frightened because of a new experience or I felt vulnerable. So I would nurture my inner child by colouring one of the princesses or I would put heart stickers all over my computer. Afterwards, I felt more like an adult than ever—go figure! Try these steps and exercises-they did me a world of good as a woman-child.
Acknowledge your inner child. Colour, draw, splash around in puddles, climb trees (no one has to see you!), build a fort, hang out with your kids or other people’s kids.
Acknowledge your self-sufficient side. When you accomplish something celebrate it! For instance, if you went outside your comfort zone and drove a far distance alone or if you showed up at a new club without a companion…congratulate yourself! Anytime you do something that normally feels like a bit of a challenge, acknowledge it. Each time will get easier and you’ll feel more comfortable doing it. Then you’ll have the CHOICE as to whether you accept another’s help or not.
Honour your rebellious side—let your inner warrior come out and play. Instead of traipsing off to a war torn country for some good old fashioned danger, try some smaller challenges. Join a bootcamp. Try mountain climbing. Take up karate. Do “risky” things in small doses more frequently and you won’t end up like a shaken up bottle of pop.
Exercise: Little Girl Persona
- Write down all the nicknames people have called you and pick out the most little girlish ones. Circle them.
How did you feel when someone called you those nicknames? Did you rise to the occasion and act more like a little girl? Or did you become resentful and rebellious?
- Make up three empowered nicknames for your True Self.
What would your true nature love to be called? Once you have your favourite one, call yourself by the nickname (in your head) at any point when you feel that a pattern has taken hold of you. Repeat it in your mind as many times as you want throughout the day—“I AM_____ (insert nickname). I allow my true self to direct my thoughts and actions.” Mine is: Truly Me (you’re welcome to use that one)!
Adapted from Chapter Two of my soon to be launched book: