“It’s really quite shocking now that I see it. Here I am, a grown woman, behaving like a lost little child.”

“The way you phrased what you just said is important,” I responded. “You’ve been acting as though you were a child. But you’re not a child.”

“No, I’m a mother with three children of my own. But I do have a wounded inner child. At least, that’s what I’ve read.”

“That’s certainly what some would tell you. They’d encourage you to take care of this little child that’s been so wounded.”

“You’re suggesting I don’t have a ‘wounded inner child?’”

“What I’m suggesting is that believing you have a ‘wounded inner child’ feeds an infantile approach to life that doesn’t help you grow up. The wounded child idea is popular with people who want to stay infants emotionally.”

Millions have learned from self-help books, seminars, or counselors that the problems they experience in relationships stem from childhood. This is true, and it ought to be a reason to complete the work of growing up. Instead it tends to trap us in infantile behavior.

That we were wounded in childhood is indisputable. Life inflicts pain, and for some the suffering is horrendous. To acknowledge you’ve been hurt in the past is appropriate. It becomes a reason to live your life differently today.

But to turn past hurt into an identity isn’t at all helpful. You trap yourself in a past you can’t change instead of living in a present you can.

“So the wounded inner child isn’t real?”

“There’s no such thing as a wounded inner child, except in your thoughts,” I confirmed. “The wounded child is a mirage. It’s just a concept that allows you to hold onto infantile feelings. The ‘inner child' who is insecure and timid is a figment of your imagination. She’s no more real than a child’s imaginary friend.”

I let this sink in. Then I added, “But the beautiful childlike essence you were born as, which has never been allowed to emerge, longs to burst into being.”

What the story of the Little Prince calls us to isn’t to coddle a supposed “wounded inner child,” but to become the authentic person we were in essence when we were a child.

Not a childish version of our original self, but a grown version.

To begin to enjoy life, play in life, be filled with wonder again as we once were as a child isn’t to coddle a childish part of ourselves. It’s to recognize that adulthood for most of us is a betrayal of our essence, then to rediscover our essence—the person we were when we were born and in our very earliest years—and be a playful, wonder-filled adult.

The problem with most grownup behavior is that it’s childish. We act like brats, throwing tantrums, withdrawing from each other, giving up on what matters to us, instead of being fully alive adults who retain the authenticity of a child.

We don’t need more childishness in the world. We need adults who retain their essence, the essence that manifested when they were a child.

This is such an important point to get clear, we’ll return to it tomorrow.

Author's Bio: 

David Robert Ord is author of Your Forgotten Self Mirrored in Jesus the Christ and the audio book Lessons in Loving--A Journey into the Heart, both from Namaste Publishing, publishers of Eckhart Tolle and other transformational authors.
 Join us in the daily blog Consciousness Rising for an in-depth understanding of how we become conscious, truly present in the whole of our life.