My thoughts about the vicious circle got me thinking about why I live in a vicious circle at least some of the time. It certainly isn’t my mature self that lives in such misery.
And I am mature when it comes to food. Sometimes. In fact lots of times.
I am also my child self. I am demanding, compulsive, needy, and old-fashioned immature.
AND I am a sweet little child who wants to enjoy life and relax without thought of tomorrow or what I should do.
I am both. All of the above.
My inner child seeks comfort from food.
I know that food isn’t for comfort. It is for nourishment. I’m grown up and educated enough to know that unnecessary calories will only put my health at risk.
My inner child loves salty and crunchy. She LOOOOOOVES it! She wants it all the time at the peril of my sanity. She wants creamy too. And fatty. She’s not a cake kid, she’s a potato chips and pickles kid. She might eat herself to sickness on bacon or sour cream. She doesn’t believe there will be enough for her later so she makes sure she eats it all now! And when she’s feeling sad or lots of emotions she doesn’t know what to do with she eats MORE.
My adult-self loves greens. She loves fresh food straight from the ground. She loves vibrance and sharing food with others. She loves feeling nourished. She loves balance. She prefers a small bite of sweetness after a meal. She knows that love is what nourishes her.
The thing about an inner child is that they take time to mature. Time and gentle focus are the only remedies I know to gain maturity in any arena of life. My inner child is no different.
So how can I begin to live as a whole person including the inner child self and the mature self in all the ways it means to be human? With all my human emotions, needs, stresses, relationships, desires, longings, hopes and fears?
How can I integrate all these aspects of my human experience so that my inner child isn’t left out in the cold? So that she can grow up, mature, become less demanding?
What if it was perfectly ok to have an inner child? What if I didn’t hate or resent her? What if instead I loved her and nurtured her? What if she matters just as much as my adult self?
The thing is, I’ve tried adopting out my child self, pawning her off on the grandparents, ignoring her, denying her, being angry with her, hating her, and all the rest. NONE of it has worked. She’s still there. Waiting for love and attention. Hoping I’ll make some buttery, salty popcorn and watch a movie with her.
So I’m taking a new approach. When I sit down for a meal I imagine myself as both my adult-self and my inner child. And I take care of both of them. I don’t play favorites. Would I ignore my own children when they need love and attention? Would I deny them comfort or nurturing?
Since she’s not going anywhere I might as well enjoy the growing up process. It might be fun! And as a bonus I’ve noticed when she’s loved and nurtured she throws fewer temper tantrums so my adult life feels less chaotic and disrupted, i.e. less binging and paralyzing remorse. Which feels really good. When her needs are met I feel more whole, less intimidated by life. I can move forward.
So what do I do when the the child part of me wants comfort i.e. potato chips at 8pm?
If I’m living in the vicious circle perhaps I binge on too many potatoe chips.
If I’m not in the vicious circle. Perhaps I portion out a reasonable amount of chips and enjoy them completely. Not in compulsion but in freedom and love.
Rather than giving the child her demand, I nurture her. I meet her need.
Because she wants what every child wants. Love and comfort. While she may demand them and she may think that a whole bag of potato chips will meet those needs I know that it won’t meet the real need for love and comfort.
I can attend to her need rather than meet her demand. I can love and comfort her which may involve some potato chips and some loving connection. Like any child she feels a need but doesn’t actually know what will fill that need.
Thankfully I do.
Questions for contemplation:
What would it look like if with each meal I honor the small child in me that wants comfort while also honoring the adult in me that wants to feel deeply nourished?
What could that look like for ME?
What is a snapshot of my inner child?
What does my inner child demand?
What does my inner child really need?
Welcome! I'm Janelle. This is a place of inspiration about real everyday food life. I want to know how I can serve you!
Connect with me on Instagram @lucidolight or on twitter @ourdailykraut or find me on Facebook! Janelle Allyn Lucido Conate