A client came in for therapy to better understand her conflicts with men. She reported she gets attracted to someone, then after dating for a while, the relationship begins to unravel due to her inability to speak the truth to the guy—she’s afraid she will hurt his feelings and he will leave her. She is struggling with her present by being influenced by negative memories of her past. She’s trying to not repeat the patterns that haunt her, but her behavior actually creates the foundation for the pattern to be repeated.
When clients come in to see me and they feel they can’t be completely be honest in their relationships, I share with them that they are in conflict with their inner child. Often, when abuse has occurred in childhood, our emotional age gets stuck and we stop maturing in that area of our lives. Even though the outside (physical) gets older and we become more responsible as adults, our (emotional) inner child never “grows up.” When we are living in fear and react from our emotions, the inner child is making all our unhealthy decisions: we lie, cheat, steal, hurt others, and can hurt ourselves in the process.
One of the ways I help clients gain insight into how their thoughts, fear of repeating the past, and their behaviors is through showing them that this all needs to change. Living in fear is not a life lived to its fullest. When we live in fear we have no confidence in anything we do. We live through weakness, passively giving other’s control over our lives fearful we will mess things up. But the people we give control to are not healthy people either and they end up using and hurting the one who is relying on them so heavily for guidance.
Living in the past is not focused on change for the future. I compare living in the past as choosing to black out your front windshield of your car and drive somewhere using only your rear mirror. You’re bound to crash. Go fast and you’ll crash and burn. How can you move forward in your life when you can only focus on your past: RIP OFF THE REAR VIEW MIRROR and drive looking through your front windshield. If you can see where you’re going, have a destination, and are prepared for the journey, your life will be lived confidently and it’s less likely you will crash and burn. But remember, there are OTHERS on the road also diving with their windshields blacked out and you have to recognize and avoid them.
Confidence comes from consistency. When you can do something right repeatedly, you gain confidence of being able to do it again. When you make a change: tell the truth instead of a lie, stop stealing, stop taking drugs, stop drinking, and make a positive change in your behavior, overtime you will see an increase in your confidence level. Building upon the positives and minimizing the negatives helps your propel your life forward toward a healthy lifestyle.
There will always be obstacles in life and making healthy choices everyday are just as easily made as making unhealthy choices. It’s simply a matter of mind over WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH YOU? Tell your Inner Child that the mature adult side of you is in charge and help your child see you grow from the outside-in. Do what is right, build character, be ethical, be healthy and happiness will naturally follow. If your inner child is running the show, call Encouragers Counseling & Training Centers, and let us help your inner child reach their full maturity.