In our recent blog, Who are you? Part 1, Jean-Claude Chalmet opened the discussion on why we should be thinking more deeply about ourselves.
This 2-part blog is based on the content of a lecture Jean Claude Chalmet gave at the Kenta Foundation in Milan on mental health in business and society. Jean Claude Chalmet is a psychotherapist, acclaimed author, a London Times featured columnist & founder of The Place Retreats, Bali.
In part 1 of this 2-part blog, we looked at the connection between heart and mind, and the disconnect between our emotional and intellectual maturity. Here, in part 2, we look more deeply at what we must do to find our true selves.
Peeling off the mask
The first step in our journey of self-discovery is permission. To the audience at the Kenta Foundation, Chalmet asked:
“Will you look at everyone else before you allow yourself to peel off your mask or will you say ‘that’s it I’m going to go with it’? Or are you going to remain on your chair and just observe what others are doing? This is your choice. You have a choice in every moment of your life – you can choose to do something or choose to do nothing.
“Do you ever hear a child say, ‘You know what I’ve fallen over 47 times so I’m going to give up learning to walk?’ Have you ever heard a child say, ‘Do you think my bum is fat?’ Not a single child would do that – where did we lose our ability to play and receive joy?”
Individuals in the workplace have their own responsibility and role to play in revealing who they really are, but this can only happen in an environment of trust.
Connecting with your inner child and quieting your inner critic
In order to discover who we really are, we need to look more deeply within. For most of us, that sounds like a terrifying and difficult journey.
Chalmet argues there are simple ways to connect with your inner child:
“Let me tell you about a dance teacher who came as a guest teacher to the retreat, she was 72 – her whole premise of not getting older was to dance. She was teaching us and inviting us all to dance – it was even for me difficult and I am quite open-minded. It took me about 10 minutes to get into it, but then we were dancing, playing instruments, waving scarves, and singing and holding each other and there was an amazing amount of joy – about 20 people were connecting to the child inside them.
“Can you go back inside and get in touch with that inner child. Where is your inner child – when you were aged 5, aged 11 or 14? That child is inside you. When you become anxious, scared, nervous, paralysed it is because the traumas of our inner child are being reactivated.
“If we can teach our adult self to become a good parent to our inner child and simultaneously learn to manage the inner critic on our shoulder we can live a more contented life. We can’t do that when our inner critic is saying ‘why did you do that, why did you walk that way, you should have… ”
According to Chalmet, the secret to a contented life is really very simple. It is our ability to be a good parent to our inner child:
“Most of you as parents will find it easy to find your child if it is stressed or anxious or if it is afraid or it doesn’t feel well to automatically take the child and hug it, cuddle it and tell it that it is beautiful, tell it that it is clever and that it doesn’t matter if it didn’t do well in an exam.
“Ask yourself this. Why can’t you be that parent to yourself? Why must you be so hard on yourself? What happened? A good parent will try and listen. You need to be at the same time aware of who your internal critic/saboteur is. Be aware of the inner voice, “You could have done it better, you could have done it differently.”
“Learn to become a good parent to that inner child and simultaneously become aware of the silent assassin, which we all have chirping away inside of us.”
With practice, Chalmet says, you will start to notice that you are listening to a negative voice and you will learn to become more aware of it. “With awareness comes capacity and with capacity you learn to listen less and less.”
If there is one thing we can take from Chalmet’s wise words, it is this:
“You came with one body in this world without spare parts so look after it. Take care of it. It’s a beautiful instrument and it can help you to be a very contented person.”
If you would like more information about how to find a connection with your true self, see more about us here.
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