Sometimes, it's easy to get overwhelmed in our world as adult humans.
There’s work, relationships, bills, pets, and kids to deal with as well as a laundry list of other demands to constantly contend with.
It can be easy to forget that there are parts of our psyche still operating from a childlike perspective, and in fact, sometimes running the show.
One of these parts of ourselves is the part of us that actually falls in love.
The part of ourselves who take the risk to be vulnerable and put our hearts on the line.
Think back and remember yourself as a little kid, perhaps around the age of five or 6, when you still looked at the world with fresh eyes.
That little person inside of you is still alive.
Now realize that this innocent part of yourself, this little one, is who actually falls in love, each time that you do.
That’s why when we have trouble in our relationships we can become so easily hurt.
This is why when we are in a bad relationship or get broken up with, it can rock us to our core and devastate us, totally.
Heartbreak can cut us down and make us feel abandoned when we are attached to someone who leaves us.
Or if you’re in a relationship where somewhere deep down you know it’s not working out because you’re constantly fighting or have misaligned values, it can leave you exhausted.
When we think of our inner child as the one who is having this experience, it gives us the chance to step outside the experience and evoke our own inner parent to come online to look out for that inner little one.
This maneuver shifts the responsibility away from whoever hurt us and puts the power back in our hands to protect that vulnerable heart of ours, that loves with the innocence of a child and hurts with the same intensity when wronged.
Think of it this way: If you had a child (or maybe you do!), would you allow them to play in the street in traffic? Or with kids, you knew weren’t good for them? Probably not.
You would lovingly and firmly put down boundaries to keep your little one out of harm’s way.
This is the same action required to parent your own inner child.
If you are with someone who isn’t aligned with you, or if you feel abandoned, what will it look like for your internal parent to come out to soothe and protect that young heart inside of you that wants to love so deeply?
When we're overly identified as our inner child in relationship, it’s easier to let ourselves get dragged through the mud, tolerate experiences and people that aren’t good for us, and hold onto connections that aren’t aligned with what we truly want.
And the longer you let that little one play in a toxic dynamic, the more they will begin to believe that that’s what they deserve, ultimately settling for less, being unfulfilled at best, and at worst getting stuck in a dysfunctional relationship.
If you’re in this spot, look into this perspective of being the adult of your own inner child.
Maybe even go find a picture of yourself at a young, innocent age so you can remember that little being.
If you were their parent, how would you be with your little one to keep them safe and protected, playing in a contained backyard rather than out in dangerous traffic?
The more we can allow that parent to come online, the more we can make sober, clear decisions that are aligned with our values, that create safe places where we can love and surrender, and where our inner little one can safely come out and play.
We can say goodbye more easily and without looking back, knowing we are honoring that deepest and most vulnerable part of ourselves that deserves the kind of loving relationship we desire.
Perhaps right now, you can turn toward that little one inside and let them know, that you got their back and you're not going anywhere.
How did this message land for you? Can you relate?
Where are some other parts of your life where you might need to protect your inner child?