Advertising
Advertising

Ten Things Everyone Needs To Learn From Their Childhood Self

Ten Things Everyone Needs To Learn From Their Childhood Self

We can all learn from our childhood selves. That innocent kid within us that used to take the world at face value and trusted the process of life. I know that we can learn a lot from our childhood self and re-introduce a childlike wonder into our daily experiences. Here’s how…

1. Be more trusting of others & let others in instead of building barriers

As we get older, life throws us challenges and sometimes those challenges cause us to shut off from the world in order to protect ourselves. We get hurt and we quickly learn to judge others and build barriers to keep others and the world at bay. This gives us a sense of control but it also fosters loneliness and disconnection from others. Learn to let the barriers down and allow others to get to know the real you. The more someone knows you, the more empathy they will have for you. The world will seem a warmer, friendlier place.

Advertising

2. Adopt an open, honest attitude and express yourself freely

Children speak their minds but this isn’t taken the wrong way because young children do not operate with malicious intent. They just express congruency between their inner world and their outer world. Freedom of expression starts to dwindle as we get older. Society conditions us to keep quiet and behave. In this way, we tend to lose a small part of our true character in an effort to fit in and be acceptable in society. By expressing yourself and resisting the urge to always be politically correct, you are honoring your childhood self. Speak your mind and be open in a positive way. Compliment others and spread goodwill. You’ll be making the world a better place.

3. Wear your heart on your sleeve

There is an innocence and a delicate trust that children show when they wear their hearts on their sleeves, yet they do it naturally. They will tell someone that they like them or that they would like to spend time with them. Adults who often fear rejection, hide their true intentions leading many interactions to resemble a guessing game. When we don’t trust the world, we focus on our suspicions and our thinking changes the way we interact with others. We treat others with caution and unwittingly change the whole dynamic of the social interaction by way of our behavior. Actively choose to see the good in others, learn to trust and people will more often than not meet that expectation in a positive way. When we give others the chance to help us or do the right thing, they will often oblige.

Advertising

4. Rediscover your curiosity about life, love and the ways of the world

Being inquisitive involves understanding that there is still so much to learn. We never stop learning no matter what age we are. Children constantly ask “Why?” and this is a habit that we tend to grow out of. Start asking yourself “why” instead of just accepting the status quo. Our childhood self had a hunger for knowledge that helped us grow and discover. You are never too old to learn and understand more. An active brain keeps the mind healthy and strong- it needs to be exercised, just like the rest of your body. Curiosity is a virtue.

5. Foster optimism about the future

Do you remember how excited you used to be just before Christmas? That feeling of intense joy and anticipation is hard to beat. Rekindle that childlike emotion by expecting good things in your future. As adults, we tend to be more cynical and almost expect disappointment but this can set us up for failure. Expect the best and try not to constantly imagine all the things that could go wrong. Imagine that the best is yet to come and trust that things will turn out okay. Even if they don’t turn out as you expected, deal with what comes your way without torturing yourself needlessly with negative anticipation.

Advertising

6. Dream big and imagine the impossible

How often have you heard a child say something like “One day, I am going to be an astronaut”. Our adult minds immediately scoff at this idea and think about all the logical reasons as to why this might never happen…financial restrictions, competition from others to find a job and so on. We employ self limiting beliefs without even realizing it and in the process.  We minimize our chances of attaining what we dream about. It’s okay to dream big just as our childhood self did. As the saying goes “you can’t score a goal if you aren’t on the playing field.”

7. Maintain a “can do” attitude

Most children tend to think positively rather than negatively. Once we become adults, our thinking tends to default to the negative. Our childhood self looked at possibilities. If we wanted to build a tree house, we would go about thinking about how to make it happen instead of focusing on all the reasons it might not happen. This is an important attitude to nurture. It can fill your life with possibilities rather than regrets.

Advertising

8. Be playful and silly sometimes

All work and no play makes a person very dull (and miserable!). Children spend a large amount of time escaping from reality to mess about and have fun. Make time for your childhood self to come out and play. Run around the garden, wear a silly hat or spend time laughing. All of these activities release endorphins – that ‘feel good’ hormone that makes us feel happy and alive. Life can be too serious sometimes so make sure to lighten your life up with a little fun.

9. Live in the moment

There’s a lot to be said for enjoying the present moment. Often, we’re either resentful about the past or worrying about the future. When we do this, we suck the enjoyment out of the present moment by not being fully present in the here and now.  As a child, life was lived as it played out – then and there. Your childhood self was present in the moment and enjoying everything that was happening around them as it happened. Your childhood self savored every moment and rarely worried about the past or the future. This is one of the keys to happiness.

10. No hidden agenda

What you see is what you get. Young children very rarely have a hidden agenda and your childhood self was no exception. That childlike innocence that is devoid of assumptions and prejudices. You still have this skill within you. See the world at face value, like a child would and you will enjoy a more peaceful existence. As adults we torture ourselves with ideas about what someone intended or why they behaved a certain way. Often, we will never know but we nevertheless agonize over situations and possible “what ifs.” When you take situations at face value, the innuendo and game playing goes over your head and cannot bother you.

We automatically assume that as adults, we are wiser than when we were children but there is a lot to learn from our childhood self. That raw, true element of our nature that lived life with no holds barred and worried less about outcomes, possessed wisdom. Reconnecting with your childhood self allows freedom and creativity to flourish. Approach the world with an open mind, judge less and laugh often and you will be on your way to rediscovering your childhood self.

More by this author

Mandy Kloppers

Mandy is a Psychologist/CBT therapist who believes getting through life is easier with a robust sense of humour.

40 Ways to Achieve Peace Of Mind and Inner Calm 15 Simple Ways To Overcome Depression And Sadness Life Truths: 17 Universal Truths We All Share 7 Ways To Stop Yourself From Being A Slave to Your Emotions good partner 20 Ways To Recognize A Good Partner

Trending in Family

1 What Happened to Family Dinners? Why We Should Bring Them Back 2 How to Cope with Empty Nest Syndrome and Stop Feeling Lonely 3 How Not to Let Work Take Priority over Spending Time With Family 4 35 Life Hacks for Kids That Make Parenting Easier And More Fun 5 20 Things to Remember If You Love a Person with ADD

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on August 20, 2019

How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality.)

I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

1. The Inner Critic

This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

  • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
  • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
  • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
  • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

2. The Worrier

This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

The Worrier is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

This is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

Advertising

This person can be set off by words or feelings, and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

4. The Sleep Depriver

This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

  • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
  • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
  • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
  • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

How can you control these squatters?

How to Master Your Mind

You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

There are two ways to control your thoughts:

  • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
  • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier; and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

For the Inner Critic

When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

Advertising

“Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

  • They rile up the Worrier.
  • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
  • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
  • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
  • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

For the Worrier

Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tense

Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

“Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

Advertising

For example:

If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

“I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

“Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tension

I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

Breathe in through your nose:

  • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
  • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
  • Focus on your belly rising.

Breathe out through your nose:

  • Feel your lungs emptying.
  • Focus on your belly falling.
  • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

Advertising

Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

For the Sleep Depriver

(They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

  1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
  2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

You can also use this technique any time you want to:

  • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
  • Shut down your thinking.
  • Calm your feelings.
  • Simply focus on the present moment. 

The Bottom Line

Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

More About Mental Strength

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

Read Next