By Eric Beach
I held my child this morning. The embrace was life giving. But, the time came to put her down and she wept. It hurt my soul so I picked her up and embraced her tighter than before. She did the same. In that moment I didn't want to ever let her go... Then I realized something.
Many men, and women grew up with their childhood robbed from them. It was smashed by an abusive father, hidden by and absent father, or distorted and wrapped in bubble wrap by an overindulgent father.
We were prevented from growing into a maturity or even understanding what maturity was! Instead we grew up still clutching our inner child. The lost and hurting one. The exiled one. The child that if we set down, will cry until we pick it back up.
Security and comfort are found only if we embrace that wounded child. Maybe that doesn't sound bad, but how much can we accomplish when holding that inner child. We have no free hand and in an effort to find one we have two choices...
1. We can set the child down and complete the task half present and half focused and pulled down by the squalling child. We become short tempered and frustrated when the task doesn't go as planned. We want it done fast so we can silence the screaming child.
2. We can adjust, put the child on our hip, or some other odd mechanical arrangement and fumble through whatever it is we wish to do. Things get dropped, we appear incompetent and weak. We feel shamed, so this option makes us want to stop trying anything that doesn't nourish that inner child. We form our life around our inner "high chair tyrant" and his/her demands.
So how do we overcome this? That's part of the journey we are all on. For me, I'm taking moments to let the baby cry. I'm not allowing the inner child to to win. I'm letting him see I'm no longer at his beck and call. I'm also putting myself in relationships with men better than myself who can help me mature that child.
We should never get rid of the child inside us. If we do, we also get rid of creativity, spontaneity, and exuberant joy. We become callous, cruel, cold, and driven only by results and completion of task.
What we need to do, is learn how to set boundaries for that inner child. We need to help him grow and acknowledge he/she is part of us. We need to acknowledge and seek to understand what's going on when rage/tantrums surge. We need to see that our inner child is on the ground throwing a fit in the middle of the grocery store and transcend above and ask ourselves, why.
Then, we need to take a breathe, tell the child we'll be done in a minute, and only after we hold the space and finish the task will we return to the grab the child. It's not easy to do, but I'm trying.