Normally, I’m against “getting in touch with your inner child.” It’s typically a bullshit way to recapture some nostalgic innocence when everything was easier.
It’s running from your problems.
But I kept thinking about this concept of an “inner child” and wondered if there was some value in it. That’s when I realized that, holy shit, yes there is — but not in the way most people think.
You see, it’s not really the faulty coping mechanism that it’s often presented as. In reality, the kid version of you was wiser in a few key ways. And here they are:
Kid-You Was Way Better At Imagining Things
As a kid, I could hang out in my backyard by myself and be 100 percent entertained.
Because I imagined the shit out of things. Game 7 of the World Series, mostly. I could place myself there and completely lose track of the fact that I was actually just a kid hitting a wiffle ball from one side of the backyard to the other.
Did you ever do something like that as a kid? Can you still do it?
Probably yes to the first one, but probably no to the second one.
And here’s why that significant: Imagining something is the first step in doing it.
No, that’s not some lame bumper sticker. It’s real. Think of any difficult thing you’ve ever accomplished. You first had to imagine doing it first. In that moment, you made it possible.
When we imagine things, we make it possible to do them — and if we suck at imagining, then we make it harder on ourselves to break out of our circumstances and routines.
Bottom line: Get in touch with the part of your “inner child” that has a wild imagination. It will help you build a vision for your life.
Kid-You Asked ‘Why?’ A Lot
And tons of questions in general. Frankly, kids can be annoying AF with all their questions. But you know what? They learn at light speed because of it.
When you’re a kid, you’re curious — and you haven’t yet learned not to ask questions.
You see, many adults are curious, but they’ve systematically learned to not ask questions. The dude who asks questions is “holding everyone else up.” The fella who keeps asking “why?” must be a “slow learner” who “doesn’t get it.”
Even if you know those above assertions to be false, it’s so easy to subconsciously avoid asking questions for those kinds of reasons.
Bottom line: Contrary to how you may have been programmed, asking a shitload of questions is a sign of curiosity and intelligence. Keep asking why, how, what?
Kid-You Didn’t Avoid Having Emotions
When you didn’t get something that you wanted, you were sad or pissed — bright, vibrant versions of these emotions. You felt them completely. When things went your way, you were elated. Maybe you even celebrated.
How ’bout now?
Generally, adults save the unfettered joy for when their favorite football team scores a touchdown.
Think about that: Adults are more excited about a group of other people succeeding then they are about the successes in their own lives.
Make a mental note of that and make sure that next time something goes well in your life, you get just as excited.
People might look at you like you’re insane (again, you may have been programmed not to get too excited as an adult), but who cares?
Conversely, don’t be afraid of negative emotions. Sometimes, they can be great motivators. If you get disappointed, don’t immediately try to intellectualize it and spin it. Take it like a damn man (or a damn inner child), feel the pain, and then get over it.
Too often, adults just stay somewhere in the middle — never too high, never too low — and as a result, they miss out on the excitement of life. That inner child hiding somewhere in your psyche knows how to do it better.
Bottom line: Get fired up when things go your way. Allow yourself to feel down when they don’t. Feel more. It’ll make you more alive.
Kid-You Stated Exactly What He Wanted In No Uncertain Terms
“I want a Play Station.” “I don’t want to go with you to the store.” “I want that toy.”
Kids f*cking say exactly what they want. There is no confusion. There are no half-measures. They just explicitly say what they want.
Start doing that.
As adults, it’s true that we can’t go around making demands all the time; however, many people take that politeness (or meekness) to an extreme and pretty much never state what they want out of life.
You know what happens when you can’t define what you want? You never get what you want.
Bottom line: Make a point of defining your goals and wants. Kid-you did it, and while you may not have always gotten your way back then, it works a whole lot better than keeping that shit under wraps.
While it’s easy to dismiss our inner child as a bogus construct, there are some helpful takeaways here. Kid-you was actually kind of a baller. He wasn’t an uptight stiff trying to get through life without sticking out.
Tap into a little bit of that, and I guarantee your life will get a whole lot more fulfilling.