I have been aware of the need to love the inner child for many years , through my own reading and research on how to overcome my childhood issues. It is only in the last few months that I have really noticed a difference in the way I have related to this part of myself in a more loving, nurturing way.
About a month ago, I purchased some new piano music to try after streaming the album online. I picked a few pieces and found them to be extremely difficult. I usually pride myself on spending lots of time working through difficult pieces to improve my playing, but these were so difficult as to not really provide much pleasure in even small improvements. At first I found myself exceptionally angry and frustrated.
“I should be able to play it!”
“Why can’t I play it?!”
“I must be a lot worse at piano than I thought!”
“I’m so rubbish. I’ll never be good enough.” (Notice how this then became a generalisation to my whole self!)
By this point I was really grumpy and about to let the frustration spoil my evening, so I decided to take myself off into our bedroom to meditate, to see if I could work through this.
Well, very quickly after relaxing into meditation I became aware of the barking voice of my old deputy headmistress from my primary school-
“You stupid child, why can’t you do it? Everybody else can do it, why can’t you? Are you an idiot?”
These words were never directed at me, but there were a certain few classmates who bore the brunt of the abuse over the years. She was an absolute dragon! I’d honestly forgotten about her, but during this meditation I realised my inner child hadn’t! She was still absolutely terrified of her, and had taken on the belief that she must be absolutely flawless to avoid this type of verbal attack. She was devastated for her classmates, but also just terrified by the insane rage of this woman. My inner child thought that this was normal and what was deserved. She didn’t know that this kind of verbal attack was abusive, and cruel, and that the only one in the wrong was the headmistress.
I honestly felt true compassion for my inner child in that moment. I wanted to protect her and shout back at the headmistress. I knew I was capable of being just as fierce! I wanted to pick up little Rachel, and comfort her. So in my mind I did. I told her that she was in no way deserving of this kind of bullying, that she was loved and protected, she had done absolutely nothing wrong, and the headmistress was a cruel human being who would probably lose her job now. The primary school was a very strict Catholic school and was big on the shaming approach. You will go to hell if you’re disobedient- that kind of thing. That seriously screws you up when you’re so young, sensitive, and vulnerable. There were also incidents of teachers smacking misbehaving kids over their knee in front of the whole class. I remember this clearly. We were only 4 or 5.
This might sound trivial to some people, but being such a highly sensitive individual, and so desperate to please everybody, I was extremely affected. No wonder I always want to be so bloody perfect at art and music, and life in general. The headmistress’s bullying voice became my own bullying voice, in a bid to protect myself from public shaming. If I could bully myself into the desired behaviour/performance/achievement, then I would get there before the she would- hence avoiding a verbal assault in front of my peers.
Anyway, after soothing my inner child whilst in meditation, I did start to feel much more loved, calmer, and I cared much less about the difficult piano pieces. Insanely difficult. I was expecting too much, and reminded myself of the other hard pieces I had learned, and how much I loved playing them. Loving playing is the most important part.
I was proud of myself for noticing my anger that evening, and for having the presence of mind to stop myself, and say “hey, let’s sort this out before it ruins the whole evening. What is going on here that is making me feel so angry? How am I treating myself?”
I am grateful that some higher guidance hooked me up with a very good reason why I was feeling so much fear, and that I was able to soothe my inner child. To begin to feel this kind of protectiveness for her, this love and compassion, is quite a breakthrough for me, so I am very thankful! I’m sure there will be much more work with her to come!