Let the love come from you before you seek it from others.
When anyone acts up whether he/she is a child or an adult, it's just an attempt at being loved. Have you ever wanted to tell another adult to “grow up?” It’s interesting to watch an adult act like a child, but it’s not as easy to see immature behavior crop up in ourselves. I think we all carry remnants of our childhood into adulthood and studying those remnants in the lab of my own life has been a hoot for me.
July 4, 2014 marked twelve years since I met Nelly. She’s my inner child and constant companion, and when a few hours go by and I haven’t heard from her, I do as any mother would do; I check up on her.
I might ask myself, “Is something bothering you little girl? You don’t seem very happy right now.” If I’m still and listen, I’ll get an answer that would have remained unexpressed had I not questioned myself.
When children are ignored, whether they are real or within, they want attention and they will get it.
Nelly needs adult guidance and before that first meeting, she was free to run the show. I’ve written a lot about our relationship in my book, The Joy of Being Disorganized. I believe each of us has an inner child whether we know it or not. Take any chronic problem in your life, whether you’re overweight, in debt or your house is full of clutter, and ask yourself, “How old have I been acting when it comes to (you fill in the blank)? Bingo! It’s time to grow up.
Your inner child is not all bad. I’ve discovered over the 12 years, that it’s Nelly that keeps me young, frisky, optimistic and lighthearted, but when ignored she will get my attention in ways that tend to sabotage my good intentions.
We all Need Attention
I remember one year at a family Thanksgiving feast, the adults were chatting away about adult things and, when there was a lull in the conversation, our grandson Tanner (who was five at the time) said, “Let’s talk about me now.” We all laughed and focused our attention on him. He was so happy to get to talk about Tanner! His innocent desire to be part of the party was stunning to me.
Before I met Nelly I was like Tanner needing attention, only I was 59. I’d be in a conversation with someone and while he or she was talking, I’d be planning what I was going to tell and sometimes not even hearing what the person talking said. I have since learned that when I pay attention to Nelly, I don’t need attention from others.
I love to meet a new person and see how much I can learn without him or her learning anything about me. It’s fun to conduct sort of an untelevised talk show in which I’m the interviewer with a guest on my show. I’m sure you’ve had one-way conversations like that.
When you understand that the need to tell someone about yourself is no more than a need for attention, you can start right away to give yourself attention by being kind and compassionate to YOU. Be your own best friend and the next time you’re in a two-way conversation, you’ll really be able to listen to the other person.
A Nasty Email
I received a nasty email from an angry woman (actually I think her inner child wrote it).
“Inner child, inner schmild!!! I don’t get this inner child thing!!! I don’t have time to do justice to my real kids let alone some fantasy inner kid in me!!! What if I don’t have an inner child? Why do I care anyway? Aren’t you just blaming your bad behavior on somebody else when you say your inner child made you do it? The whole thing sounds a little psychitzo to me!!!” Jessica
It’s very seldom I receive cranky emails like Jessica’s, but when I do, Nelly begs to answer them. I usually don’t let her, because here’s what she’d have said to this woman (and then we’d be in trouble for her childish outburst):
“How does it feel to use up your allotment of exclamation marks for the month? Just shut the fuss up and stop with the exclamation marks!!!!!!!” Nelly
When I received the above email, Nelly must have been napping, because all that came to my mind was how much my life has changed since I met her. By the way, I don’t “blame” Nelly for inappropriate behavior, like say I bought a pair of shoes I really don’t need and it wasn’t in my budget. I address the “behavior” as inappropriate and I get to the source of the behavior which is usually that of a child. “Nelly, I’m sorry I went shopping when I needed a nap and hadn’t eaten lunch. We need to take the shoes back and in the future I’ll be stricter with our eating and resting schedule before we go to the mall.”
On the Fourth of July, Nelly and I will be celebrating more than the freedom our beautiful America has for its citizens. With every glittering light in the night sky, I’ll be commemorating our relationship. It has been the best 12 years of my life.
Thank you for reading my 4th of July blog. Have a wonderful holiday. I hope you’ll share this with your friends who understand we are always growing.