How old do you feel?

This is one of my favorite questions.

Particularly when someone (me included) is feeling scared or overwhelmed. 

How old do you feel right now?

When you’re looking at a pile of stuff to put away and a list of stuff to do and you can’t bring yourself to do just one thing, how old do you feel?

If you feel 8, let yourself go back there. What was your life like at 8? When did you feel overwhelmed at 8? When were you lost and couldn’t do just one thing?

If you ask yourself, “how old do I feel right now?” and you get an answer right away or a flashback to an earlier time, there’s a good chance you’re just reliving something old.

And it’s funny, isn’t it….you wouldn’t trust an 8 year old to make your decisions as an adult, would you?

But are you?

And there’s no secret to stopping it. This is the point where people start to look at me in that defeated, helpless kind of way, like “well, it’s been there since 8, I guess I’m stuck with it”.

Um, no. You just become aware of it and then act differently. Here’s what it looks like:

  • Feel overwhelmed today
  • Ask yourself how old you feel—maybe you remember how you tried to take care of your drunk mom when you were 8 and felt snowed under all the time
  • See that your issue today is not at all related to an 8 year old caring for a drunk mom. It’s triggering that, but it’s  NOT that
  • Act differently, even if it doesn’t feel comfortable

It’s not going to feel comfortable. But luckily, comfort is not a prerequisite for right action.

Related Posts:

What was the Big Ass Disaster (BAD) that shaped your life?

How your family triggers your stuff and reveals your patterns

Why you don’t love yourself more. And how to.

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