Young@Heart - My Inner Child

“Inner Kiddies, Inner Schmiddies!!! I don’t get this inner kiddy thing!!! I don’t have time to do justice to my real kids let alone some fantasy inner child 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 kiddy 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 (my inner child) begs to answer them. I don’t let her because I know she’d say: “Shut the fuss up!” Then we’d be in trouble for our childish outburst. 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. I address the “behavior” as inappropriate and I get to the source of the behavior which is usually that of a child. Nelly is a child and she lives within me. She keeps me young, frisky, optimistic and lighthearted and when ignored will get my attention in ways that tend to sabotage my good intentions.

July 4, 2011 will mark nine years since I met Nelly. She is my constant companion and when a few hours go by and I haven’t heard from her, I do as any mother does; I check up on her. When children are ignored (whether they are real or within) they want attention. I remember one Thanksgiving at my bonus daughter Kristi’s home. We were all eating the Thanksgiving feast and the adults were chatting away about adult things and when there was a lull in the conversation, Tanner who was five or six at the time said, “Let’s talk about me now.” We all laughed and focused our attention on him. He was happy!

His innocent desire to be part of the party was stunning to me. Before I met Nelly I would be like Tanner only I was an adult. 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 we pay attention to our inner child we don’t need attention from others. I love to meet a new person and see how much I can get out of that person without him or her learning anything about me. It’s fun to conduct sort of an untelevised talk show in which I am 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 in the form of compassion, understanding, wisdom, guidance and love and the next time you are in a two-way conversation, you’ll really listen.

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, we’ll be commemorating the freedom from needing attention from anyone but each other. The most amazing thing happens when you stop needing and looking for that attention outside of yourself. People bend over backwards and wait in line with love, kindness and attention for you. Sweet!

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