Hello! I just bought a doll house! Yep, you read that correctly. A therapist in her late 20’s just bought a doll house. You’re now probably wondering, why? The short answer is I wanted to honor my inner child. However, it did take some exploration to get there. Let’s dive into the extended version of the answer.
Growing up, I loved playing with my dolls. I got to dress them, I was able to have them interact with each other, I got to design their house, all based on my imagination. If I am being honest with you, I did not stop playing with dolls probably until I hit high school…and even then, I would have continued to play. But with high school, comes status. Did I want to be cool in high school or did I want to do something I enjoyed? I picked wanting to be cool. Oh, if I could go back in time and warn my younger self.
Playing with dolls and designing their houses fulfilled me in a way that nothing else did. When I was stressed, sad, angry, happy, bored, I always resorted back to play. Playing allowed me to escape and it always taught me something. If I imagined my barbie doll and ken doll breaking up, I was taught that my barbie will come out stronger than ever. If I allowed the house to get dirty, it taught me that cleanliness makes a happier doll. As I got older, the lessons were still there, but translating this as a 14-year-old high school student was not easy. Somewhere along the way, my imagination wasn’t towards my dolls anymore. I didn’t imagine my barbie meeting the perfect guy, I imagined it for me in real life. I didn’t imagine my barbie having her first alcoholic drink, I imagined it for me in real life. The older I got, the more stressors came into my life. I lost my imagination, I lost my creativity and most important, I forgot about my inner child. When things got bad the older I got, I escaped by drinking, partying, or simply just avoiding and suppressing. I lost my creative outlet. I knew my inner child was starving for something to cope with, I just didn’t know what that was. I thought I tried everything by using my “adult brain.”
In life, we’re taught a specific way of life will fulfill us. Go to school, get a degree, get a job, get a partner, have children, retire, travel, the end. But sometimes this life is not for everyone. Sometimes this life does not bring fulfillment for everyone. I thought, if I create the perfect life just like I did with my dolls, I too would feel fulfilled. So, I went to school, got my masters and is now working my dream job. And yet, something was missing. It was not until I was having a conversation with my partner one morning. I was having a nostalgic moment and reflected on how fun it was to play with my dolls and create my dream house. There was something about being able to let go of worries. My partner looked at me and said “okay, why don’t you do that then?” I looked at him and laughed. I couldn’t possibly play as an adult. I needed to find “adult things” to do to destress. But then I realized, doing something I “thought” I had to do to feel fulfilled and happy, did not actually make me feel happy the way playing did. So now, as an adult, I bought a dollhouse that I can remodel and have no care in the world. For me, playing taught me to be gentle with myself. Would I ever yell at my child self? Would I ever say the things I say to my adult self to my child self? Of course not! The more I play, the better I can apply the lessons to my adult self. What has playing taught you?
I want you to take a moment to reflect for yourself. Are you fulfilled? I’m not talking about how you look on paper. Think deep. Are you fulfilled with your life? How do you know you are and aren’t? What fulfills you? If you do not feel fulfilled, I want you to reflect with your inner child. What does your inner child want from you? When was the last time you were gentle with yourself?
I know it sound silly but what would it be like if you played? No rules, no expectations, just play. Who knows, maybe that is what you needed along.
If you need help honoring your inner child or do not know how to begin honoring your inner child, reach out to us! Your inner child may need healing more than your adult self.