The more emotional a subject makes me, the less likely I am to talk about it. And the more deeply I push it. By keeping things this way, I'm able to function normally - or at least, that's what I think.
Having emotional episodes when I'm supposed to be working is not 'normal'. Feeling irritated for no apparent reason on random days is not 'normal'. Craving sugar or comfort - through food - is not 'normal'. And the list goes on and on.
While having a discussion with a friend about old good times, childhood memories came back to the surface. Usually, I'd be dragged by the emotional weight that such memories carry with them. Which is why I prefer to ignore them. But after playing so many tricks with myself, I came to realize that it was pointless to keep doing things this way, and that if I wanted to truly understand myself - I'd have to allow such parts of me to come out.
One of the first memories that came out during our conversation was that of 'not having enough'. I remember being in a school with plenty of kids from wealthy families. They'd behave differently than the 'normal' ones - expressing more boldness and confidence, and obviously, having the shiniest 'objects'.
When you grow up, in the true sense of the word, such things seem unimportant. But when you're a child, it's a total different experience. When we're young, depending on our background and what our parents tell us at home, we develop a rigid (and innocent) perception of reality.
Children are more 'absorbing' of their surroundings, with very little 'defense' mechanisms regarding what they're told to believe in. Thus, those beliefs generate strong impressions. Most of what we perceive as children is distorted with a powerful cocktail of emotions.
As we grow older, we don't want to be that emotional. So we choose to ignore these parts of us. We prefer lol to having a good and sincere laugh, we want to look 'cool' in the eyes of the world, we pretend to have it all together even if we barely have a day without being upset because of the wifi, and so on.
Seeing ourselves as this cool (and cold) robot, we stop giving the right attention to our feelings. We're not supposed to after all, right? That's what cool people do. So we keep ignoring the signals. But does it change something in our lives? Obviously not. All the parties, people and possessions don't make us feel any better. We're always taken by surprise by our 'shadow'. Pills and distractions never solve the problem. We must face ourselves.
We can call it the 'inner child', or our shadow. The name doesn't truly matter. What does matter is the fact that we've gathered different memories during our childhood experiences. Having been programmed by our environment and then going out into the world with a fixed perception of how things should be - we created a battle between how we were taught to perceive life, and the simple unfolding of life.
Whenever this battle takes place, and it does most of the time, we 'register' things. Events turn into memories. Our mind works tirelessly with these memories; sorting them out, classifying things into 'good' and 'bad'. And so on. After a few years, we are a mountain of memories. We move towards what's associated with pleasure, and away from what's associated with pain. This pattern can be observed in the body too.
The inner child is therefore an earlier version of our 'operating system', how we interpreted reality. When things went according to its paradigm, it felt happy. When they didn't, it felt conflicted. Of course, certain experiences are much more complex and require more details. This is just a broader picture.
Like we'd approach a child that feels sad, by being empathetic, kind, and loving - we mustn't judge ourselves. Whenever we start criticizing ourselves, we lose the opportunity to truly understand what's going on. Staying open, attentive and listening with care to ourselves is therefore not only natural, but vital to our healing.
Now that we've grown up and learned a few things, we must learn to look at whatever emotions we have about our past, and see if our interpretation, at that time, was correct - or based on some innocent construct of reality. Most of the time, our memories are based on distorted perception.
By being patient with ourselves, and taking our own hands, we walk slowly through these different memories - with compassion, and truth - honestly looking at the facts versus how we interpreted them.
If we do it correctly, we realize that it wasn't so dramatic after all. And this realization gradually 'corrects' our perception. Eventually, we start seeing things as they truly are, without 'perfuming' them with emotional extremes.
Is this easy? Obviously not. Depending on how our past impacted us, we'll each have a different experience. But the same rule applies to everyone, we must be patient with ourselves, and most importantly, compassionate. This love that we give to the world, we must learn to give it to ourselves too. And it all starts simply, one step at a time.