A couple of years ago, I was reading through a bunch of personal development stuff.
See, I wanted to educate myself as to what this field (which is related to but quite different from my own, philosophy) had to offer.
I find that it's a mixed bag.
Often what you get is a lot of fluff and some known, sort of fruitful, information.
Still, there is wisdom to be found in this field if we search for it.
This became crystal clear to me when I was starting to feel disappointed about deciding to go through a couple of self-help books.
I felt like I had gotten very little out of them.
But then. It hit me like a ton of bricks.
It was a phrase from Tony Robbins.
"Heal the boy. And the man will appear."
THIS resonated with me. I found there to be incredible power in this idea.
That by healing your inner child you can truly unlock your potential as a mature individual.
As I reflected on this phrase, it became clear to me.
As we grow up and get socialized into being working members of society, a lot of our inner life and wonder get beaten out of us.
It is as if our inner life and imagination are vivid and in three-dimensional full color when we are children...
But they become flat and black-and-white when we grow up.
And our life becomes significantly impoverished as a result.
Reflecting on this phrase helped me realize that we can (and indeed MUST) fight this tendency!
We must heal and take care of our inner child.
And by reflecting on this idea, I realized that we could go EVEN further.
You can not only heal.
You can also FREE your inner child from the layers of oppression society has imposed on it!
And if you do...
Your inner world will LIGHT UP with color!
For you will let your inner child's creativity and wonder run free...
... with the knowledge, skills, and powers that you now have as a grown adult.
You can engage in activities that can help you get back in touch with your inner child.
One of my favorite examples is asking yourself the question:
"What is my element?"
As I see it, we all growing up have certain affinities to certain environments. To certain aspects of the natural world.
They speak to our spirit.
They make our inner child get giddy with excitement.
It doesn't have to be one of the classic four (earth, water, air, and fire).
It can be anything you can think of!
There's no need to limit your imagination!
Let it run free...
As it once did.
When you were a child.
And by doing so, you will let your inner child roam free.
Your element can be anything you want it to be.
Light or Thunder
Shadow or Darkness.
It can even be something more complex, something more nuanced.
YOU get to choose.
And another thing. It doesn't need to be a once-and-for-all choice. Your element can evolve and grow with you.
Perhaps from Gravity to Space to Black Hole.
Think of what characters from media with elemental associations you've felt drawn to throughout your life (perhaps a magician who wields fire, or Thor, God of Thunder).
Think of what places in nature you enjoy spending time in the most.
Think of what parts of nature do you find most beautiful and fascinating.
All of these are facts about how your spirit relates to the elements.
All of these can help you find your element.
And thereby empower your inner child AND yourself to PLAY with it.
To HAVE FUN with it.
Vividly visualize different ways you can coat your body with your element.
Imagine how you can wield it when you want to tackle a challenging obstacle you face.
Like gathering raging flames within your fists and chest before giving a presentation.
Or how you can use it to sharpen your focus when you really need to get something done.
Like coating yourself in an isolating but calming bubble of water.
Play around with your imagination.
Let your inner child roam free in the space of possibilities.
As you probably did when you were younger.
Once you find your element and start playing with it in this way, you will be well on your way to filling your adult inner world with three-dimensional colors.
You will find that you are happier and more joyful.
You will feel that you have grown in a deeply personal way.
And you will find yourself more prepared than ever to take what life throws your way.
Hope you enjoy finding your element! And once you do, let your inner child play freely with it!
I promise you, you'll be glad you did.
Hope you enjoy growing through imagination and play!
Santi Sanchez is a Ph.D. in Philosophy. He has spent almost twenty years dedicating his life to philosophical research and practice in order to figure out what makes a life truly good and how to make it even better.
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