The world needs you to reach inside and pull out your inner Hero — so what’s blocking you from brandishing your lightbulb and boldly stepping out into the vast possibilities?
It could be your Innocent.
I have this memory from when I was about three, being terrorized by a red record player. My daddy wanted me to try gently dropping the needle into place on the moving record to start the music, but I was afraid I wouldn’t do it right. Back then you weren’t supposed to scratch the record. Sure enough, as careful as my three year old self tried to be, I didn’t quite set the needle down right and it made a horrible screech. I was mortified!
I don’t honestly remember how my daddy reacted, but I remember how my mistake impacted me. I felt horrified that I had tried something scary and done it wrong. I felt that I had failed my daddy, who had told me it wasn’t hard. I felt that I had humiliated myself by revealing my unjustifiable incompetence.
I can still feel this particular mix of diminishing feelings. Now I can put words to the ick, back then I just reacted to it by crying and saying I didn’t want to try again. It’s not a surprising reaction from an Innocent. I thought the stability of my world depended on being good and not displeasing my parents. I didn’t want to do anything that would threaten my security — like anger my dad by scratching a record.
I’m not vilifying my dad’s parenting here. The takeaway point is that this traumatically memorable experience from my innocence depicts a patterned reaction that I have carried with me into adulthood. Without even realizing this is happening, I associate taking risks with the likelihood of failure and loss of security (as opposed to someone else who might associate it with thrill and fun or excitement and fortune). This can cause me to unconsciously balk from new opportunities (as opposed to someone else who might get hurt by not taking risk seriously enough or who might enjoy exploring strategic possibilities).
Recognizing your unconscious reactions triggered by stressors is the first step to releasing their control over your life. When I feel that inner surge of terror at the thought of stepping up and trying something I haven’t done before, the sinking in my gut at the possibility of not getting it perfect at the first try, I can realize that this is my three year old trying to run the show.
With the advantage of hindsight and the ability to read my own mind to see what I really need, I can then comfort my inner three year old by addressing the fears she couldn’t verbalize back then.
Oh sweetheart, I know you’re scared. You’re only three, you don’t have the resources to tackle this risk. But you don’t have to, I’m here now. Everything is different now — I’m an adult. I can provide us with security and I can use good judgement to weigh what risks are real and which are worth it. When things don’t work, I can assess why and learn from it. I can keep things in perspective and realize that a “failure” isn’t the end of the world. Trust me to handle this kiddo, I’ve got us covered!
What tantrums is your Innocent throwing, distracting you from mobilizing your own Hero?
How has your life changed since your innocence?
How can you comfort your Innocent?