You know that spark of joy you feel when looking at a child or a baby? Even on a hard day, if you're not too bogged down in the trenches of stress, most adults can agree that witnessing the innocent joy and wonder of a child is palpable.
This spark of adoration is a tug on your own inner child. Whether we have formed a conscious relationship or not, we all have an inner child that craves play, comfort, and connection.
Being attuned with our inner child holds great wisdom and the power to design a life that feels more vibrant and exciting.
Some express concern that holding council with their inner child could lead them to make irresponsible decisions. Perhaps if one throws all previous learning out the window this could happen, however ignoring the needs of our inner child can lead us to desperation, lack of balance, and even recklessness. The unattended inner child will find a way to express itself.
If we don't feed our inner child regularly in small tangible ways (the way we might fuel an actual child throughout the day with plenty of snacks), our inner critic or what Shirzad Chamine calls our 'judge', is primed to take over creating rigidities that fuel "self-sabotage" and move us further away from what we really want in life.
To help avoid the consequences of burnout, we can invest in forming a relationship with our inner child. Here are 3 easy ways to nurture a relationship with your inner kiddo:
1) Take time to tinker.
One significant difference between children and adults is that children don't yet obsess about time. In fact, young children have no conception of it. They live in the present. Adults on the other hand tend to be obsessed with efficiency and productive use of time. Channeling your inner child is much easier to do if you allow yourself chunks of time to be without worry of time or outcome. My grandmother called this "piddling." The Brits call it "pottering." Whatever word we give it, there is wisdom and untapped inspiration in piddling. Give yourself a few hours each week to piddle around your garden, home or even a new area of town.
2) Prioritize play.
Play looks different to each of us. Watching children tells us that play varies from person to person and moment to moment. Part of forming a relationship with your inner child means attuning to-- and prioritizing-- those needs intermittently. What do you daydream about? Put on some music and dance around the house. What emerges as something you've been wanting to do? That's your inner kiddo talking to you.
3) Make art.
Before you dismiss this step with the notion that you are not an artist or a creative person, it's important that you consider broadening your definition of art. Art is simply the name we gave to the innate human tendency to create. Even simple acts of creativity like coloring, dancing, singing, gardening, cooking, etc. are art forms. We could go so far to say that any human endeavor is an artful act because we actively creating each moment of our lives.
If the steps above are feeling elusive to your overly dutiful adult self then enjoy this bonus step:
4) Spend time around kids!
Kids are the ultimate teachers in being present with their authentic selves. Most often, their natural state is one of joy and curiosity.
Even taking a few moments to cultivate a greater awareness of your inner child by reading this article is a step toward ushering in a more authentic and joyful version of yourself. Congratulations on another bold step toward unleashing your inner child and finding greater freedom in the process. Stack those small wins to greater fulfillment, heartful one!