Have you ever heard a child describe in great detail what they are going to be when they grow up? Do you remember what you wanted to be when you were under the age of five? Sometimes it seems a child’s inner compass is the only thing guiding them, and the guidance is undeniable.
Our inner compass is a place of authentic tenderness deep within; where our innermost inspiration and guidance lives. This place deep within us is the guide to our life’s purpose. It holds our deepest convictions, natural intuition, and inner wisdom, but it is only taken out within the parameters that feel safe.
For most people, this safety only exists in the privacy of their inner world. This explains the contrasting richness of the inner world with its relative lack of direction in the outer – when we leave the comfort and freedom of the inner world; we leave the compass behind. After all, it is the most prized possession we have. We don’t want to take the chance that it might be lost or stolen in the outside world.
As we mature and stop cultivating our time in the inner world, we tend to use the internal compass less frequently. Outside influences draw our attention away from who we are within and we steadily learn to forget how to use our compass.
The more we stop following our inner compass, the more we move away from our authentic self and the life path this authentic self would follow. We begin to change ourselves to be acceptable within our surroundings, and compromise our sense of self just to feel safe in the outside world. Such blending often results in the formation of deep inner wounds.
You may have heard me say, “Your greatest gifts to the world lie beneath your deepest wounds.” Now you can understand what I mean: you were born an exceptional, authentic individual with a strong inner compass, but life dealt you the map you hold in your hands right now. This map represents the wounds and gifts you received in the imprint period of your life.
X-marks your starting point right now, and while you could abandon the current map and choose to draw an entirely new one, working with what you’ve received is the shortest path to the magnificence that is you.
Many spiritual leaders and speakers ask us just to let go of our maps and navigate only with the aid of a compass, but for INF types this will only create confusion. We need the anchor of who we know ourselves to be so that we can start going for something more authentic.
Throwing the map out of the window is also short-sighted, as it disregards all the inner wisdom we have already developed as a result of moving through the pain of our wounding.
If we were to abandon the pre-existing map (i.e., our wounding and our gifts) and draw a new one, we would be left with no foundation on which to build. Having worked with hundreds of INF types, I have found that the fastest and most solidifying way to grow is to accept what is, solidify the pre-existing structure of who we are through healing, and then gently build upon it an authentic and sovereign life.
If you choose to embrace yourself and make use of your inner map and compass, your purpose will surface as you heal. This is because you will discover your values, gifts, and strengths, as well as your message to the world – how you healed and how you can help others do the same. Your purpose is so solidly linked to the inner wisdom you developed as a result of healing through your wounding, that to disregard the wounding as something “bad” will forever keep you from realizing your true purpose in life.
For now, our wounds are our survival mechanisms: we identify ourselves through our wounds. But even though they serve a crucial purpose, we need to learn to move past our wounds and get used to thriving rather than just surviving. If we were to abandon our wounds in search for a happier life, we would abandon our natural starting point. Without a starting point, we are left to wander in the dark without direction as we try to “figure out” purpose and direction. Mental exercises alone will not uncover your purpose. It is based on inspiration and passion and must be felt and healed into life.
Our wounds are also great reminders of our resilience. Without the wounding life experiences, we would not have developed the depth of wisdom, understanding, and ability to recover from things. Recovery, just like any other life skill, improves with practice, and while I’m not suggesting that you go and create drama to be able to practice recovery, I ask you not to run from it either. If you choose to face the everyday struggles with authenticity and kindness, toward yourself and others, you give your inner resilience an opportunity to grow. But if you want to know what your purpose is, you have to be willing to go the distance. Depending on the depth of your wounding, and the level of your conditioning, your path to healing can be a lot like peeling an onion: you need to do it one layer at a time.
Once you begin healing, you realize how much trauma you are carrying in the cells of your body. All cells – not just the brain – contain memory from your past experiences. You can probably relate to this easiest through the visceral reactions you experience in times of stress. A visceral reaction is the body’s autonomic response to a triggering event or memory. In other words, it is your body’s way of relating to the stress that is affecting your mind.
As a part of the healing process, I teach people how to release their old cellular memory of trauma and replace it with positive cellular memory. As you heal emotionally, we make sure to release the associated cellular memory of the trauma, so that we can fully let go of the belief – both from our heads and our bodies. We then replace the released memory from your body with messages that align with your healing message. If your body does not release the trauma, you will be left with a “physical thought magnet,” which will program you to return to your old wounding and the story around it.
With successful cellular memory replacement, you can let go of the traumas, and you will have a significantly reduced amount of anxiety and stress in your life. When you can let go and heal, your body can begin to function as it was meant to, aches and pains reduce and your natural flexibility returns. Replacement of cellular memory may seem like a miracle, but really when it comes down to it, it’s just like a self-regulated, psycho-physical detoxification.
Peeling back the layers of who you are and allowing them to heal gradually is rewarding, but challenging. The transition will have moments of acute pain and messiness, but eventually, the pattern of pain will break, and you will find yet another authentic layer of yourself to present to the world. As a result of doing the healing work, you will:
Create deep and meaningful relationships
Actualize your dream projects
Attract a tribe who celebrates your authentic self
Transform your vocational life
Reduce your level of anxiety in life
Learn to identify and ask for what is right for you
and much, much more.
The key to healing and transforming your inner wounds is to be present with yourself. There are several approaches you can take, but from hundreds of case studies, the deduction is clear: the most effective approach seems to be your inner parenting work.
I base inner parenting work on the premise that within you there are four different people:
Your adult self is the one who is holding the map. The adult self has grown-up aspirations, such as being a parent, or wanting to do meaningful work in the world.
Your 2 inner children - the 3 year old and the 10 year old are the parts of you that hold the compass. The inner children hold on to past hurts as well as your creative power.
Your inner parent is the person who has the wisdom to connect the inner child and the adult self. Without a healthy relationship between the inner child and adult self, the inner parent realizes that you as a person stay incomplete. Therefore, your inner parent acts as a bridge between your adult self and your inner child. The inner parent’s job is to be the guide and the biggest supporter of your inner child. The inner parent is the person who can parent the inner child into letting the adult self hold the compass. But before this can happen, the bridge between the inner child and the adult self must be built and strengthened, which is why uncovering your purpose can take some time.
Here are some practical inner parenting steps you can take right now
Acknowledge the kind of parenting style you experienced in your childhood, and see where it served you and where it caused you wounding.
Choose a parenting style that is right for you, and study about it. If you Google parenting styles, you will get a lot of information on four primary styles: Authoritarian, Authoritative, Permissive, Absent.
Practice your newly chosen parenting style to help your inner children through the struggles they are still carrying.
Develop a language with your inner children that is honoring and kind to all the different aspects of you.
Learn to set appropriate boundaries with your inner children to show them that they can feel safe in this overwhelming world.
Allow ALL of your emotions – disallowing anger or sadness or any discomfort during the process will be counterproductive to your healing process. When you don’t allow your feelings to surface, you will stay a prisoner of the old story. By permitting all of your emotions (in a safe space, far from the challenges of others), you will allow yourself to move through the wounds.
Further exercises for your inner parenting journey:
Find a picture of yourself as a child and carry it with you at all times. Look at the photo and connect with the child in it. Ideally, this picture is as close to your inner children's age as possible. Doing this exercise will remind you to connect with who you were back then and how you still can relate to your inner children on a daily basis now. Some of my clients do not have access to their old photos for one reason or another. In these cases, feel free to borrow a picture of a person who looks like how you felt as a child, or even better, draw a picture of yourself as you were.
Take 10 minutes to write down all your current fears and anxieties about making changes in your life. As soon as your pen touches the paper start writing, don’t stop or edit yourself: just write. You can’t get this wrong. Once you finish, you will realize how much you have been carrying, and how much easier life becomes when you can express yourself without editing. This exercise will free your inner child into trusting you and communicating with you on a more deep and meaningful level.
If you want to delve deeper into the inner parenting to uncover what is lying beneath your deepest wounds, check out the The 4 People Within course at merjasumiloff.com.