I was enjoying a conversation with a new friend. One of the things that came up was the idea of the “inner child.” My friend told me how important it was for her to keep her inner child alive, well and active. I took that to mean she has a part of herself that she hides away from the world – that there is a private joy no one else gets to see.
Maybe she’s in a position in life where she has to conceal some of the essence of who she truly is…that happiness that bubbles up from the inside, screaming to come out. Or maybe she thinks that’s the position she’s in. Big difference. Big, Big, BIG!!!
Here’s the thing…I don’t make any differentiation between the self I live each day and my inner child. I AM my inner child.
It wasn’t always that way. My later 30’s was a conflicted time. Anyone who knows me or my story knows I kept myself sane by meditating and juggling at 2:00 am in my spare bedroom.
THAT was a time when my inner child was screaming to come out. Only I wouldn’t have called it my inner child. I would have called it the uninhibited march toward self-appreciation and happiness. With time, practice and the love and support of those around me I learned how to let go of some mental and emotional baggage I’d been carrying around for a long time. My inner child came out and hasn’t left since.
Does that mean I skip down the sidewalk, pick my nose whenever I feel like it and have candy bars for dinner? That’s not the inner child I’m referring to. I spend most of my waking hours in a place where I have to make many decisions, use professional judgment and choose my words very carefully. I have to dress a certain way, come and go on a set schedule and be a role model for many people. Someone might look at what I do and say, “Man, this guy needs to let his inner child come out.”
But if you look closely you’ll see someone who does all these things and is usually in a state of complete joy while doing them. Other than a few details which aren’t in alignment with my “inner child,” my work is my play. And my play is my play too. So are my relationships with others… and with myself.
How did this happen? Was I born rich? Did I inherit all this liberty to call my own shots? Nope. I just found some good information, struggled for a while, relaxed and listened to my – well – inner child. It told me who and what I was, regardless of the circumstances around me.
Then I let it out. And the circumstances didn’t seem to mind. The people who didn’t care for my inner child went away. Some complained, some just faded away. But being a “child” I didn’t even notice.
So my challenge to you… let more of your inner child out, while still keeping the best parts of your adulthood. Pretty soon that’s all you’ll have. Then we’ll play together in this marvelous playground we all share!