Nurturing Your Inner Child
A philosophy of love building a solid identity sourced from within
Being in the world confidently and lovingly requires a solid foundation. This entails having a cohesive connection between your Ego or persona and your ‘Self ‘— the essence of your genuine identity.
I have found that having a solid identity in place with the ability to wrap compassionate arms around my inner child (after finding that it) are the first steps to move out of existential trauma-related angst and depression.
And, before you can do that you need to identity them and make a place for them in your life, wholeheartedly, authentically, with integrity.
Setting the stage with a philosophy of love
Plato’s sublimation theory of love states that we move upwards from within…from one to two, and from two to all fair forms, and from fair forms to fair actions and from fair actions to fair notions and from fair notions he arrives at the notion of absolute beauty.
This is an interesting perspective on love in that sublimation in current psychology circles describes a conflict. A deviated awareness or mindfulness of the need for satisfaction and the need for security can lead to repetition of negative behaviours or ideas with a refinement into something considered positive.
Yet, it is still a negative even though the label has changed. For example, some consider spanking a child as helpful and they may have grown up in a home where spanking became a routine. They then sublimated this hurtful action into their adult ways of treating their own children and re-labelled as the best way to discipline.
We can learn to treat ourselves this way as well when we absorb negative treatment from our environment and treat our inner child and sense of identity the same way. Therefore, I expand on Plato’s sublimation theory of love with important elements which Buddhist philosophy expressed well. This is the Eight-fold path. Basically, not every action is the best one to replicate in the world. Actions, thoughts, livelihoods etc. need to be the ‘right’ ones. Here we need to be sure that compassion and love we give to ourselves and put out into the world are healthy, positive and genuine.
There is no time like the present to take a look at how we value ourselves. Is it with genuine self-compassion and loving kindness. If not, then we would have a hard time being in the world sharing that effectively and recognizing it when it is shared with us.
In most cases, it is also best to be prepared with both an open mind and information that lets you be proactive instead of reactive. Even with a solid identity and core values, being prepared to consider shifting paradigms allows for less rigid ways of existing. This flexibility can help to better integrate self-compassion with a commitment to nurturing your inner child and engaging your nurturing Other / inner adult in a wholehearted embrace. Bringing these together into a meaningful whole can be helpful on an intentional path into a healthier state of existence.
Oppression can be sourced within our minds if we integrate negative external messages and own them. Sometimes it can be difficult to recognize that we are our own worst enemies. Taking the initiative to stop a negative cycle requires an intentional mindset for personal growth. When we are emotional literate, have strong voices and are balanced in our rational-emotional sentient state of being, we manage thoughts and emotions more effectively. This balances our identity and place in the world with a solid foundation and framework for creative, imaginative perception and interactions.
With radical empathy
Until we embrace our genuine selves, holistically, we can exist in that foggy space of the ‘in-between’. Intuition, emotions, empathy, compassion, heart and soul were essential parts of identity discovery and establishment. Knowledge and understanding help to fluidly integrate them into your life.
We are inherently enmeshed in a sea of emotional energies. Some people are more perceptive to, open-minded, receptive, and in-touch with this divers stream of energy than are others. Some feel it but don’t really take the time to understand it. This can cause mixed messages — both within the mind and into lived experiences with others.
Engaging the IQ of the emotional energy
Energy fields are powerful sources of information that assist in this balancing connections between body, mind, heart, soul, spirit and the world around us. Without mindful awareness, we can get ‘stuck’, holistically and in any one of the seven chakra fields of energy. Nurturing your inner child includes ensuring that all parts of the matrix are healthy. Paying attention to how thoughts and emotions are tied to physical reactions, and vice versa can be very helpful in this self-compassionate process.
Emotional literacy is about consciously recognizing, understanding and working with this flow of emotional energy. It is about expanding our emotional IQ. In order to grow, even in the quietude of the mind, we need a language and a voice for communicating, perceiving and connecting effectively. When you can identity, with words or symbols a thought, emotion or physical symptom effectively, you can better address fixing the issue that may be complicating personal growth.
Writing as therapy building awareness and inner child compassion
The more I write about something the more it becomes a part of who I am — or at least builds my awareness of a concept without fusing with it and that might be the focus of my writing. This lends to my compassionate and vulnerable way of being real in relationship to my genuine identity.
Further, the more I write, the more I work through past trauma in a positive way. I have found both the inner child and the inner nurturing Other. These parts of my psyche give me strength when I find myself faced with emotionally challenging hurdles.
Writing things down is therapy. It also is part of my plan to live authentically with integrity. So, when I write, say, or feel ‘thoughts’ I decide if I am going to ‘own’ them or not. Maybe they are negative thoughts I need to work through but I make a point of identifying them as such. If I am not going to integrate them in a way that feel right then I ‘drop-the-rope’ and let the thought go. At least that is the plan and writing this now makes that plan even more solid.
In another post in this publication I shared a more poetic rendition about the philosophy of love. I share a part of it here and the embed of the whole post, below.
Consider your philosophy of love
the ‘what-is-the-nature’ of your loving relationships
where agape, philia and eros meet
in different shapes, sizes, combinations and permutations
that ubiquitous rebalancing
and essential transformations
into a wholeness of loving.
Agape is one kind of love
which holds a dignity in love
that does not objectify
a universal loving-kindness
bringing in the spirituality of love
advocating love, freely
Entwine your whole self with agape-type love
Will-to-meaning, meaning-in-life, and freedom-of-will are the self-empowering, foundational principles of Viktor Frankl’s logotherapy and existential philosophy. No one can touch that power which is within you, unless you empower them to do so. The inner child and the inner nurturing Other are there to both comfort and be comforted — self-compassion is one way to do this.
Frankl wrote that human freedom is not a freedom ‘from’ (as in flight) but freedom ‘to’ respond to life. Freedom is to actively engage in and to be responsible for one’s life, in the world with others. Compassion, identity and a meaning of life are within each of us, already. This is the foundation for reflection and transformation in the world with other.
In whatever way you see the best loving relationship to be, that is the love you should give to yourself. This drawing of meaningful connections within and with the world is a holistic balancing of self-compassion, love and identity. Start from within and when you find it you will know it and that is the place from which to start sharing it with others.
Leah J, M.Ed. Psychology writer/artist/teacher
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