Loving Your Inner Child
I had a conversation with someone this week where I told them I was worried I was a sociopath. I promise I'm not! Soo... there I was, telling this person that I worry that I might be a sociopath because sometimes I worry I don't feel feelings the way I'm supposed to, that it's almost too easy for me to disassociate. I feel that feeling a lot, that disassociation & I just act like I don't. I fake it, I lie to myself - I lie to myself so well sometimes I don't realize I've disassociated until days later.
My friend reassured me that I'm not a sociopath, listing all the reasons why they don't think I am and in the back of my mind, I couldn't help but wonder if I just made them think all those things. I spent the next week questioning my feelings, wondering if I've ever actually felt anything real or if I just told myself that I was supposed to feel certain things in certain moments. And then those thoughts got really depressing so I turned to books to get my mind off my thoughts.
This book I'm reading says, "[When we're young] our mental dial is locked on "explore"... As we move into adulthood, we discover that we are different... we start to believe we are less than so we try to make up for it in other ways. This starts the disconnect with ourselves... we lock away parts of ourselves that we once liked in a hope chest. We become lesser versions of ourselves so others will like us."
I think this is what happened to me. No, I know this happened to me. Subtly, over time, without my knowledge or permission. But now I'm realizing it, the memories I stuffed down out of embarrassment, they're coming back and now I get to look at them in a new light. A light of grace and love for the girl I used to be. I think a good chunk of that comes from my nephew.
My nephew's favorite thing to do is watch videos of himself. He'll watch them all day and just laugh at himself until his cheeks are as red as a tomato, the definition of pure joy. He loves rainbows & baking & he wants long hair like his Mommy. He loves cars & bikes & space & playing video games. He's exactly and perfectly himself. I see him and I'm jealous. Jealous of the way he's able to view life, the way he's able to be himself so freely because I don't feel I have the ability to do that anymore.
The book I'm reading says, "It's about reconnecting with the spirit of the person you used to be when you liked yourself." After spending time with my nephew I decided that I had to reconnect with the spirit of the person I was when I liked myself. The thing is I couldn't remember when that was, I have memories of being happy in key moments... but I don't know if I was happy with myself.
I started by going through my Instagram posts, I figured that if I had chronicled the moment I must have been happy and yet with each passing photo I could that disconnect. I looked happy but I remember those moments having underlying reasons of unhappiness and reasons why I didn't like myself in those moments. I started to question if I'd ever actually liked myself, truly liked myself.
Trying to find that age or year or month that made me feel happy seemed impossible, it was too large of a task. Instead of feeling like I was a step closer to loving myself, I felt empty for being unable to think of a time. So I decided to start small. Instead of trying to find a time I was happiest I decided to list those key moments scattered through time and see what the commonalities are.
I asked my Dad to send me videos of me as a kid (shout out to Dad for doing it) and I felt this weird disconnect while watching this younger version of myself. It honestly made me sad, not being able to recognize myself in the younger version of myself and being almost jealous of that version of myself. But along the way I stopped thinking about this process as trying to love myself, to love that little version of me and in turn, I decided to love that little girl separate from me, as if she wasn't me at all. Doing that helped me love myself as I am now because it helped me add old parts of myself into myself again.
I saw the little girl in the videos make funny faces and sing and dance for people and say no to things she didn't want to do and I loved her and loving her made me realize that the only one stopping me from doing those things is me. Which means the only one stopping me from loving myself was myself.
This thinking changed my life, it's made me tap into a part of myself that makes me feel whole again. This part of myself that felt so unloved and hated because she was locked in my hope chest. Now she's coming out, slowly and still a little timidly, but she's coming out and it's so fun to get to experience as an adult. Loving my inner child helped me love myself.
I also want to say, before I sign off on this blog post, I think it's okay to not love yourself all the time. I mean, I'm no mental health professional, but I think it makes logical sense to not love yourself all the time. Is there anyone in your life you love all the time? There's no one in my life I love all the time, so I don't think I have to love myself all the time. But for me, as long as I'm actively aware and working on loving myself... I'm okay with that.
Okay, that is all... until next time!
A Whelmed Christy