An excerpt from the new book Inner Child Journeys by Robin Grille
When we remember the Inner Child perspective and weave it in to our conversations and daily endeavours we free others from our projections, we become more responsible for our emotions and perceptions and our hearts become more available for connection. Life decisions that are informed by self-knowledge and the voice of the heart are invariably much better decisions.
Imagine a world – or if that seems too ambitious for now, a culture – where a commitment to insight and intentional vulnerability is the norm. What would life be like in a world in which adults understood that the way we see our children is clouded by our past? What would it be like to live among adults who regularly screen their impulses and commit to their own growth alongside their children? Imagine a world whose inhabitants accept that growing up is mutual, that our children grow us up just as we grow them up. What kind of world would we create if social policies were informed with a sharp awareness of a child’s point-of-view?
Though we might speak with the voice of an adult, make declarations with the voice of authority and explain ourselves with erudition, so much of what we say and do comes directly from our Inner Child. How often we are babies in uniform, toddlers in three-piece suits, juveniles with credit cards and big plans. With our Inner Child’s needs and fears buried in the unconscious, we skilfully project an adult persona, convincing ourselves and most – but not all! – of those who surround us of our faux maturity.
How adroitly we rationalize our Inner Child’s needs! We say we want justice when we hunger for revenge. We speak of loyalty when want to cling. We become directorial when we feel afraid. We boast when we feel ashamed. We control our children when we feel helpless. In fear of abandonment we make promises we cannot keep. For the approval of elders long departed, we accept drudgery at the workplace and relegate playtime to the weekend. What would our lives be like if we awakened to our Inner Child’s need, instead of making blind choices based on triggered body-flashbacks? How might our lives change with our Inner Child as our beloved passenger, instead of our haphazard driver?
Imagine our societal choices driven by a clear memory of how it feels to be a baby or child, rather than by intellectualizations, abstractions, economic formulas or commercial agendas:
- Would we still use industrial-scale childcare at a ratio of 5 babies per carer, if we actually remembered how it felt to be a baby?
- Would we still cynically convince healthy mothers to abandon breastfeeding in favour of artificial formulas for the pleasure of Big Business?
- Would we expect babies to ‘self-soothe’ and sleep alone?
- Would we still destroy natural childbirth in a hail of defensive and unwarranted obstetric interventions?
- Would we continue to deprive parents of appropriately paid maternity and paternity leave?
- Would we still allow children to be corporally punished if we truly remembered how this felt?
- Would we still lock kids in their rooms?
- Would we leave our youth alone to figure out the enigmas of sexuality and relationships if we remembered how scared and lonely we once felt?
- Would we let our young go through 12 years of school without being connected to their true vocational passions?
- Would we continue to treat full-time parents as second-rate citizens and school-teaching as a booby-prize profession?
If our modern societies are so disconnected and full of sadness, so exploitative and discordant with Nature, it is because we adults have by and large shut ourselves off from the child’s reality. Despite all the doting and the indulgence of their material needs, we minimize and downplay children’s emotional needs. This is the inevitable corollary of having denied our own Inner Child. Bring that Inner Child home, listen intently, and immediately we begin to connect to the world around us in a whole new way. If enough of us, a critical mass of people, become Inner-Child-aware, a beautiful political fallout is assured.
I believe that our recent, more psychologically awakened generations offer a great potential for paradigm shifting social transformation. Though it might seem hard to believe, given the daily screening of the world’s atrocities, statisticians assure us that globally, average rates violence – domestic, criminal, civil and international – have been in sharp decline for several decades now. But our woes are not over yet and we face a new crisis brought on by our pathological indifference to the ecological systems on which we depend. Dissociation and de-sensitization can be as catastrophic for us as chronic violence. That still, small voice inside each of us wants our attention. If we listen and respond, we not only make our own lives better, we also make the world a better place for others, for our children and for our descendants.