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Inner Child Work creates space. It creates clarity where before there was suffering and confusion. It interrupts an old pattern and creates choice. Inner child work lets you know there is in fact an inner child! And in contrast, a Functional Adult! Thank god. Before that recognition is made many of us are just reacting. We are in survival mode. Which means we are not creating something we want, we are just trying to stay alive.
The Functional Adult is a revelation for many of us. The Functional Adult is our Higher Self. The place in the center of us unaffected by any storms. Our Functional Adult is connected to the unchanging part of our nature. Some of us may feel no connection to this part of themselves. You may feel that you are 100% wounded child. I understand. I have felt that too. Here’s a list of important characteristics our Functional Adult embodies:
Doesn’t that sound nice? Doesn’t that sound like exactly what a child would need? That’s what’s so beautiful about connecting to what’s inside you; you will always have it. No one needs to give it to you. Important to note, if you are strongly identified with your wounded inner child at this moment or for lots of moments, you may balk at that statement. Because when we are identified with the wounded inner child we do not feel capable of taking care of ourselves. Nor do we believe that there is anything of value inside us. We believe we need something from the outside to save us. You’re not alone. Without spiritual, mental and emotional intervention, we all believe that limitation to some degree.
What can be helpful if you do not feel a connection to your Higher Self as a Functional Adult, is to borrow from others. Let other people, places, or things serve as your guide. It could be an animal, someone you know or don’t know, alive or dead, or even fictitious. Most important is to let it be real and meaningful for you. I’ve used my kindergarten teacher many, many times to stand in for my Functional Adult. She had all the qualities I needed. I felt like she really saw me and loved me unconditionally.
Let this be your touchstone. Let yourself touch this place when you feel like sanity has left the building. Instead of unconsciously running to the Critical Parent (or Dysfunctional Adult) inside you, run to the Functional Adult.
A great way to connect to the Functional Adult is through meditation. It is helpful to get the analytical mind out of the way. It requires our imagination to see and feel this Higher Self. Let them become very real to you. Describe their shape, size, and color. Describe what it is like to be in their presence. What is their personality? What adjectives describe them/it? And use another valuable tool, journaling, to write down everything you found about your Functional Adult. If you don’t have a meditation practice in which to do this you could just journal it. Journey inside yourself by journaling. If both these tools seem intimidating to you, you can just make a list of the characteristics and features of your Functional Adult and refer to it every day to remind yourself what your new touchstone is.
More questions or comments about this topic? Leave it in the comments below or reach out to me.
Stay tuned for the next post where I review how to know when your wounded inner child has taken over and what to do about it.
Thank you for reading.
A therapist in Northern California offering free resources that help you heal your inner child and restore intuition.