It’s funny how life keeps giving us the same lesson over and over until we actually learn it.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve had to learn in my life (so far!) is self-trust. Now, I definitely would not say I have (yet) mastered this lesson, but I’m certainly getting better at it.
Instead of getting mad or irritated that I’m getting this lesson over and over again, I can kind of sit back and chuckle when it comes up yet again.
Well, I can chuckle at it after I see what is actually happening. I can still get stuck in the emotional flare of a situation sometimes. When I feel mad about something, even angry, it often has to do with this lesson for me.
In the past I had a lot of emotional clutter around thinking I didn’t know how to do things right. It’s clutter I’ve been whittling away at for years.
My parents are perfectionists, and part of what I learned as a kid was that I could do a really, really good job at something and still get criticism as to how to do it better – it didn’t matter how good it was, it could always have been better.
I realize now that I internalized this in a way that led me to always looking for validation from outside sources. I wanted to be praised and told what a good girl I was.
Not only was I looking for validation, I was looking for advice and words of wisdom about how to do it better, because obviously there was no way that what I had come up with myself could possibly be good enough. I tried to do everything perfectly, I wanted to be seen as someone who did things Right.
Living a life aimed at perfection is really hard. I applied this desire for perfection to nearly every area of my life, and I beat myself up when I couldn’t do perfection, which was pretty much always.
A huge part of my own process has been coming back to my inner 8 year old – she knows how to make things happen in a creative way. She doesn’t care about perfection, in fact she’s pretty messy, and that’s ok. She knows how to trust herself and she knows how to trust the Divine – no matter what anyone else might say or think.
I’ve also had very big anger issues that seemed really scary to look at at first – they felt so violent and rage-filled, how could that possibly be good?
When I finally did look at the anger, instead of shoving it down like I used to (this is a ticking time bomb, by the way), what was revealed was something so beautiful I could hardly believe it. My inner child wanted the reigns back, wanted me to listen to her, She wanted me to quit squashing her thoughts and feelings down like she felt adults around her did all the time.
What I realized was that when she wasn’t being heard or seen, she got angry, which resulted in all kinds of anger coming forth in me that I previously couldn’t find a source for.
I’ve had a lot of people tell me how to live my life over the years. And so many of them I’ve listened to, much to my own downfall in reality.
I’ve realized especially in this last year or two that I’ve been a huge people pleaser, but didn’t even see it.
I’ve let people make me feel small, make me feel inferior.
I’ve let myself always look to someone or something else for the answers instead of listening to my own inner knowing.
I’ve let myself be convinced that there is no way what I felt could possibly be right.
I’ve been so twisted around in these behind-the-scenes beliefs for so long that they seemed completely normal even though what they’ve really been doing is only holding me back.
And my inner 8 year old gets really pissed when all of this happens.
So when I feel that anger flare in a way that seems unreasonable, I find myself needing to remember to listen to my inner 8 year – it’s usually her needing to be heard or seen.
And usually her message is something to the effect of, “Why don’t you trust me, why don’t you trust yourself? Why are you letting all these other people push you around and tell you what to do or what to believe?”
When I tune into my inner 8 year old, she doesn’t give a flying fuck what anyone else thinks about her… she doesn’t care if other people don’t think she’s not doing it right. She doesn’t need a justification to do what it is that she feels is right to do. There is a level of self confidence in her that I aspire to recover in my everyday living, because deep down I know I’ll never be “doing it right” in everyone’s eyes, so why even bother with the games and the drama?
The other interesting paradox I notice around this is that the more I tune into my inner 8 year old, the more of a grown up I become. Hrm, interesting. Perhaps everything is not as it seems, or at least not what I was taught to believe.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this in the comments below!