Teddy Bear Therapy
If your life isn’t working the way you’d like it to, then I’d like to suggest teddy bear therapy to help you create life stories that are more satisfying and rewarding.
One day, way back in 1981 when I was living in Atlanta, Georgia, I had a strong urge to buy a teddy bear. I found one that was warm and cuddly. A few weeks later, I had a deep-tissue massage after which I started having a strong emotional release. I felt weepy and sad, so I got into bed and curled up with the teddy bear.
I started crying and found myself talking out loud about my feelings. I felt as if I was a young child who was hurt and wounded. Suddenly, I had a strong image in my mind of myself when I was three years old. I was standing by my baby brother’s crib feeling alone and left out.
Tears came for what seemed like a long time. I knew the pain I was releasing was very deep. When it was over, I felt as if I had released the weight of years of pain, and I realized how strong an effect the birth of my brother had had on me. The effect of the experience with the teddy bear was extremely healing.
Holding the bear had stimulated a memory center in my brain from a time in my life when stuffed animals and dolls were my friends. The bear enabled me to reach back in time to touch unreleased emotions that were stored deep inside of me — emotions that needed to be released in order for me to heal.
I have come to believe that we create uncomfortable life stories in order to express unreleased pain. By releasing the pain, we can change the quality of our lives. (This theory is discussed in Build Your Money Muscles.)
Reach Your Wounded Child
The teddy bear enabled me to make contact with the part of me that is referred to as the wounded child. The child within us is always there; it is the part of us that feels, plays and creates. But there are two parts to our inner child — the healthy part that feels comfortable expressing itself and having fun and the wounded part that feels hurt, rejected and disappointed.
All of us have a wounded child because all of us had experiences in our childhood that made us uncomfortable. Because we were usually taught not to express our true feelings, the wounded child has many uncomfortable feelings locked inside that want to find expression. The wounded child will act out these uncomfortable feelings in life stories unless it is allowed to express itself so that the wounds can heal.
Because we keep the feelings of the wounded child buried inside of us for many years, it is often difficult to reach the feelings and release them. But if you make a conscious effort to access the feelings and experience them one more time, then you can go back in time and release them and change the endings to your life stories.
For example, if you were emotionally abused as a child, then you are probably creating life stories in the present that have elements of abuse in them. There is a technique you can use to go back into the memory, re-experience the feelings then work through them. One of the ways to do this is to speak, from the child’s point of view, to the parent who abused you. You can hold a teddy bear for support and tell the parent how you felt. Then you can imagine him or her (or both) apologizing to you. (The technique for doing this is discussed at length on the audio Is Your Inner Child Keeping You Broke?.)
Here’s how to do it!
First, find yourself a teddy bear that feels good to hold. The size will vary with your size — the larger you are, the larger the bear should be. Once you have a teddy bear, you will want to hold it and use it in your own special way. You might also like to try one of the following exercises:
- Give your teddy bear a name. Make it a real companion that you can talk to and confide in. Yes, you may feel silly doing this at first, but no one is going to know about it except you. It may take some practice, but after a while, you’ll be able to connect to your wounded child.
- When you feel uncomfortable or unhappy, tell the teddy bear how your feel. Talk out loud. Use the phrase I feel _______.
- Hold the teddy bear in one hand and let it hang by your side as you walk — the way young children do. The idea is to rekindle feelings that you had as a child and by acting as if you are a child, you’ll be able to do it.
- Sleep holding on to your teddy bear.
- Any time you are feeling sad or uncomfortable, lie down and cuddle up with your teddy bear. Close your eyes and imagine that you are traveling inside of your body. Try to feel where you are experiencing the discomfort. Say, out loud, I feel so uncomfortable. Try to define the feeling. (I feel sad, I feel angry, I feel alone, etc.) This is an effective release technique.
Affirmations Can Help
Releasing feelings is often difficult and takes practice, especially if you were not allowed to express your feelings as a child. In order to stimulate the release process, you might want to try one of the following affirmations:
- I release my fear of my feelings
- I give myself permission to feel my feelings and release them
- I release all pain and memory of pain
- I give my wounded child permission to express itself
- I release all pain and memory of pain
- I give myself permission to love myself
- I release my shame and embarrassment
- I release my fear of self expression
You can repeat the affirmations any time during the day or during meditation. A good time to do affirmations is while you are driving, walking or doing mindless tasks such as washing the dishes.