Daily InspirationConsciously notice and think about what you are grateful for and what brings you joy. Notice how you feel when your thoughts are on what you want rather than on what you don't want. By Dr. Margaret Paul
The Little Girl Who Feels EverythingBy Phyllis Stein
May 10, 2011
How do you react to your inner child's distress? Does it CAUSE you to open your heart or do you shut down and run away?
Recently, at a Reiki circle, someone told me “On the surface, you seem so relaxed but there is a part of you that is really anxious.” That sounded true. Indeed, I had had glimpses of that, especially in the fact that is hard for me to feel 100% relaxed. Also, I have been aware that there is a very young part of me that is always on guard and probably has been since I was born or even before that. She may even be the reason that it takes a long time for me to fall asleep.
Although I have thought of myself as being relatively insensitive emotionally, I have been aware of being sensitive in other ways. I cannot stand loud noises and loud music. I cannot stand uncomfortable clothing or an uncomfortable bed. I cannot eat just anything, indeed I am sensitive to several foods. But I did not connect this in any way with emotional sensitivity and always saw myself as relatively unflappable.
A couple of weeks later I was at a party with friends, relaxing and listening to music. I became aware that a couple had gone to the kitchen to talk and I could hear that their tone was negative. Suddenly, I was astounded to feel that a part of me was totally panicking because of the possibility that this couple was having a fight. But instead of telling myself that there was nothing to worry about or doing something about it on the outside, I choose to stay present for the feeling. My very young little one was truly scared. I resolved to really stay connected with her for the rest of the evening. What I found out was that this part of me reacts to everything and reacts INTENSELY. Indeed, she fit the definition of “a highly sensitive child.” Every noise, every interaction was so intense for her. It was hard to stay with the intensity of her feelings and I noticed myself wanting to go into my head or wanting to fix something on the outside, but each time, I pulled myself back and just held her. I did not know what else to do. This was not about anything I was telling her, this was about what she was telling me, which is that she feels EVERYTHING. I did not even know how to make her okay, whatever that is.
When I connected with spirit, I could feel that God is totally in love with this little girl, but that did not really help her at the time. All I could do was realize that what was important was how I reacted to her distress, that she needed me to react by opening my heart not running away, that if her feelings got more intense, I needed to just hold her tighter and that is what I did for the first time ever.
I was amazed to realize that when I was very small, I WAS actually highly sensitive. Maybe we all are. But I learned to manage my feelings by checking out very, very early. Before I had many words. This little girl whose little body I was holding so tight felt like she was a toddler at most. By the time I was 2 or 3, I was already in my head, already becoming unaware of the anxiety inside.
Just holding her was as far as I got that night. The next day, I wondered what more I could do. Suddenly, I realized that I was thrilled to have discovered this little one and I was astounded to realize that not only is God totally in love with her but I am too! Bringing love and compassion to her suddenly became easy precisely because I am so in love with her. She really needs me, more somehow than my older inner kids. I remembered, too, how it was when my sons were little. For the first year and a half or so, I was totally in love with them, my heart was wide open. But something happened after that and I shut down. I think I understand why now.
I would like to report that “Hallelujah, I am healed” but that would be premature. It is still easy to bypass her feelings by believing that I am relaxed and calm when she might not be. But I understand Inner Bonding at a much deeper level now. As I struggled to stay with my little girl’s feelings that night, I watched my wounded self try to distract me and I understood what Margaret has been telling us for so long, that all of our wounded behaviors, all of our addictions are ways to manage, to avoid feeling these really difficult feelings. I know on the automatic level this is still happening but with a difference. The difference is that now when I do notice my wounded self in action, for example when I want to say something negative about someone else, I immediately know that this must be happening because I am abandoning this little one. Once I notice that, reaching out to her from the part of me that is in love with her has become easy. But much as I am aware of not quite being there yet, I do notice something else which is that she is happier and that I am happier inside. I may not have completely broken the habit of tuning her out, but now I AM in love and at the same time someone is in love with me! So a different Hallelujah. It does keep getting better and better!
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