Is Your Inner Child Still a Big Deal? Posted by on Apr 12, 2016 in Features, Personal Growth | 0 comments

Is Your Inner Child Still a Big Deal?

site link Most casual comic-book fans see superheroes as men and women who have it all. However, look closely and you see that just about every hero has suffered to be where they are. If you wonder whether superheroes feel pain or joy from their childhood, look at all the flashbacks in comic books or superhero movies. Batman is forever driven by the death of his larger-than-life father, as is the Green Arrow. Peter Parker (Spider-Man), Clark Kent (Superman), Peter Quill (Star-Lord from Guardians of the Galaxy), and Barry Allen (The Flash) also lost family members when they were young. Our inability to understand the impact of childhood emotions has a dramatic effect on our lives. If you don’t believe me, think of the challenges a man would face building his career on creating change for companies while trying to not stand out or draw attention to himself. Now imagine that same guy trying to be a gentleman by Victorian and Disney standards as he navigates the world of dating in the 21st century. Quite frankly, they’re both recipes for failure, if not disaster. I know. I’m that guy.

When I was in kindergarten, I remember watching Mary Poppins singing “It’s a Jolly Holiday” to Bert at the movie theater. I specifically remember when she sang, “You’d never think of pressing your advantage. Forbearance is the hallmark of your creed. A lady needn’t fear when you are near. Your sweet gentility is crystal clear.” Even though I was five at the time I saw it, that stanza stuck in my mind (because who wouldn’t want to be with Mary Poppins?) and affected the way I have treated every woman I’ve dated. It has affected me so much through the years that I’ve missed a couple of opportunities to date wonderful women because my “sweet gentility” and “forbearance” stopped me from making a move and even forced a couple women to make a move on me.

Can you see how the keys to your current challenge are probably camouflaged in your colorful past? So, in order to unlock what’s holding you back from enjoying life, you’re going to need to dig up the different pains that you just haven’t dealt with.

Look at the events that you remember from your childhood. There’s no benchmark for what counts and what doesn’t, other than you remember it (see the Mary Poppins reference in case you think it’s insignificant). Focus on what you really learned, not what you wish you had learned or what you think your mom or dad would approve of you learning?

Growing up, I was forever the new kid. Usually the new kid with a funny accent. This led to fisticuffs (because it’s fun to say) on almost a daily basis when I first moved to Scotland. I was picked on by every school bully we had – including some girls. And because I was the common element in all of those fights, I also got the most punishment.

What I learned from all of the bullying was that if I stood out, I opened myself up to an attack. So when I moved to Prague, where everybody spoke Czech and carried themselves a certain way, I stood out like a sore thumb. My job was to create change, something very few other people wanted. My job was both high-profile and not popular. So I relived all of the bullying I had not yet dealt with effectively. I was yelled at, excluded, and attacked behind my back. Eventually it took its toll on me and I had an epic public meltdown.

Had I dealt with my past bullying more effectively say 10 years ago, I would have embraced being different. I would not have put such an emphasis on fitting in. I would not have cared so much what people thought of me. I would not have tried so hard to be liked.

Would that have changed the outcome? Who knows? I do believe that I would not have had a rather public nervous breakdown, or that my self-confidence would not have been so shattered that I couldn’t walk down stair without holding the handrail. I also believe that I probably would not have been offered only one chance to leave the country so quickly.

So what’s the big thing that’s been bugging you since you were a kid? Did you feel abandoned by your parents for some reason? Did they suddenly have another kid, twins, or Irish twins (children separated by less than a year) that took their attention away from you? Did they move you, get divorced, or did one die? Were you mocked or misunderstood? Were you always picked last? Did you spend time inside a locker or outside the headmaster or principal’s office? Did much of your lunch money go to a bully for health insurance? Were you the last to realize that boys or girls weren’t totally gross? Or did boys or girls think you were gross for far too long? What comes to mind for you? How did that make you feel?

The emotions you felt as a child were not always rational – in fact most childhood emotions do not make sense in hindsight – but they are still very real. And until you address them, they will haunt you.

If you have challenges finding, remembering, or prioritizing your stories, I’m happy to help you identify the important ones to you. Set up a time and let’s talk. The first call is free.

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This photograph was taken of the Marvel Graphic Novel “Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Avengers” by Brian Michael Bendis, Steve McNiven, and Sara Pichelli.