Author Archives: Katherine Gordy Levine

How to Keep Your (Inner) Child Happy

In the much-loved movie Big an apparent adult is a child, a happy.  This post is about how keep to our inner child alive and happy even when old and gray.

Not grown up by t0, no need to keep trying

Emotional Fitness Thoughts and Tips

Okay, first let’s get a few things straight.  Children are being romantically elevated by the “Don’t trust those over thirty” crowd.  Watch the commercials that have  kids driving cars, and lecturing grown ups.

The most recent one, I saw had two squirts who appear to be in first grade lecturing adults on very grown up topics while using the most up to date smart phone.

None of this is helpful, because children are not really smarter than adults, although given some adults, it often seems that way. However, the ad-men  want us to feel unhappy with now, so we will buy.  Mostly, sell things we never heard of, never knew existed, have never needed and that will not make us as happy as  we sometimes were as kids.

Disclaimer:  I am not at all against people buying, buying, and buying more. I want people to buy, if they can afford it.

Fact: we need the rich to spend, spend, spend.  The rich who buy the latest fashions, cars, jewels or who have three or four mega houses are mega employers. That said, my heart wishes the rich would give, give, and buy mainly to give.

Remember, the TV show the Millionaire. Well ,maybe not, but this very rich person anonymous gave mega bucks to others. Changed their lives.  Certainly a million or two thrown my way would make my life different and would let me do more of what matters to me.  Why I buy at least one lottery ticket a week.

Anyway, back to the child within.  Inner Child healing was popularized by John Bradshaw . The word healing as used by Bradshaw meant the focus was on how parents wounded children. His thoughts were related to a larger therapy movement based  on Object Relations Theory. Because that was a therapy movement it also focused on the damage parents do. Helpful only when a child was truly a victim of abuse.

One of the founders of object relations theory Donald Winnecott, a founder of the Object Relations movement, coined the phrase “Good-enough” parenting to stop the process of making all parents into abusers. Did not work for many.

Why?  Because we have all been hurt as children by good parents and good enough parents.  This means quickly we quickly identify with hurt children.  Good if we work toward keeping children from being abused. Not so good if we end up  thinking we have been abused when we have not.

EMOTional FItness Training tips

Tip one: Be aware of all the  beings that are part of  your inner self.  The Transactional Analysis (TA) theorists believe we have at least five inner beings guiding our feelings and behavior.  Two are parents – one is a nurturing parent, the other a critical parent; another is called our  adult which is a computer like thinking self; and finally two are children: one free and the other adapted meaning controlled or shaped by parents.

I find the TA ideas most helpful when it comes to improving myself awareness which the emotional intelligence people is a major part of being in control of feelings and behavior.  Taking a minute to ask which part of an inner self is talking, lets us make better use of their information.

Tip two: Honor all.  And yes that means knowing and hearing not just our nurturing parents, but also our critical ones.  The critical parent within, particularly when he or she has not slipped over into abuse,  is trying to teach us what matters, what we need to learn to keep  safe and to  get along in life.  We need to honor the good, but also the lessons we can learn from the bad.

Honoring all does not mean forgetting the hurtful behavior, or enduring abuse. Abused? Get out of the relationship or at least physically out of it. Hardest to do in a marriage as a parent, but essential.

It also probably means distancing emotionally and strengthening your protective shield. Particularly with children who have to be cut off from physical contact because they abuse parents or someone else if living in the same house.  Also difficult, if the abuser is a partner you love dearly when he or she is not abusive.

What you need to do to stop the abuse from living in your heart and still hurting you is to forgive and to establish an “I forgive” relationship with the abuser while staying where you cannot be abused.  How is that possible?

First you have to be safe and if you are living with an abuser, get professional help. When you are safe, you can work on the forgiveness part.

The door to forgiveness is accepting that we are all human and the human state is far from perfect. Everyone does the best she or he can do. You do, the abuser does. When the best someone can do is abuse, that is tragic and easily leads to wanting to hurt.  However, that only keeps the circle of abuse spinning.

As this How to Forgive Poster Coach notes, accepting that we all do the best we can jump starts forgiveness. .

forgiveness exercise

The poster deals with forgiving yourself because that is key to forgiving others. Why?  Our feelings about ourselves often determine how we feel about otheres. If we have been the victim of abuse, part of us has accepted we deserved punishment and that needs putting aside.

Finally, if we have been victims of abuse, the desire to indulge in pay back is natural, but not useful and needs to be set aside and forgiving.

Tip Three; Laugh and play.  Remember laughing and playing.  Our  hurt inner child is often stronger than our free or happy inner child.  That means we have to work harder to nourish the happy child.  Do remember play means play.

Not sure what I mean; think of Bob Hope’s definition of golf:  “If you watch a game, it’s fun. If you play it, it’s recreation. If you work at it, it’s golf.”

For play to be play, it has to be fun.


Competition is about winning and a little competition is fun and can build a child’s emotional strength. However, as no one win’s all the time,  learning to loses gracefully is major life lesson.

Remind a competitive child, that winning is fun, but also involves luck as well as talent and every one wins some and loses some throughout all of life.

How you handle a loss is the better measure of character and a good character is key to living the good life.


Thank you for all you do including liking, commenting, or sharing. Kindness is blesses the giver and the receiver.


Links of interest

 Word Press Daily Prompt

September 2, 2014: Zoltar’s Revenge In a reversal of Big, the Tom Hanks classic from the 80s, your adult self is suddenly locked in the body of a 12-year-old kid. How do you survive your first day back in school


How To Make a Job You Hate Bearable

Notice, I did not promise much, just to make a job you hate bearable. Expecting too much makes life unbearable.

Nothing erodes contentment as fast as false expectations. With today’s job market, nothing seems to hold out greater expectations than getting that degree. What to do?

Three Emotional Fitness Tips

Tip one:  Hold fast to the reality that a job is a job because you get paid to do it. Period. End of thought.

Tip two: As a poet once said, “I have to live with myself and so, I have to be good for myself to know…” Translation, live honorably, so no matter what you end up getting paid to do, you are good for you to know.

Of course, the question of what is honorable confuses many. Well, despite all those who protest there are no hard and fast moral laws — the sages of the ages and today’s researchers have discovered three.  Be caring and fair. are the first two, and it is the violation of the third that has lead the world astray. The third? Be caring and fair to all, not just those like you or in your circle of family and friends.

In terms of work, whatever you are paid to do, do it well, take pride in doing it well, and at the same time see yourself as part of a bigger world, a bigger universe that you are helping to run.

Tip three: Build contentment and happiness unrelated to work. Follow your dreams as long as following them brings contentment. EFTI’s business motto is “Make money doing good.”  It runs in the red but builds contentment and happiness for me first because it does some good and that matters to me, but also because I love the job of writing and getting thoughts out there that might help others.

Staying strong

If you have one of the worse jobs in the world you might find the above hard to pursue. Think about this, however, if you are living in extreme poverty any job might find you grateful to be paid to work.

Also think about this. The Irish have a saying, “Enough is a feast.” If you are reading this, you are not living in extreme poverty; moreover, no matter how poor you feel you are rich. Be grateful. You might not find this easy, but the more you just say “Thank you” off and on during the day, and particularly for what isn’t so nice, the more your life improves.

Thank you for all you do including liking, commenting, or sharing. Kindness is blesses the giver and the receiver.

Links of interest

 Word Press Daily Prompt Nightmare Job

In honor of Labor Day in North America, tell us what’s the one job you could never imagine yourself doing.

I’ve shoveled manure as a teen so I could ride horses for free.  I’ve been a parent and foster parent which means I have done almost every difficult job there is.  The hardest job for me, would probably be cleaning up vomit. Just the thought starts me gagging. However, there is a process known the behaviorists as habituation — you get used to almost everything that does not kill you. So probably in time, I could to the vomit stuff.  Life goes on, at least until it ends. Until then stay strong and make the most of what you have been given.

How to Make Super Nice – Sharing Secondhand Praise

Face to  face compliments are easily discounted, particularly those from parents or to bosses. Passing on another’s  praise is not so easily brushed aside.



All parents should read this post. Why? Well, I knew my youngest was entering the teen years although he was only eleven. How?  I praised him and he groaned.

Then he said: “You’re just my Mom.”

Ouch, but some  good side, for it hinted that he might believed I loved him despite any bad behavior. Down side, he was now discounting compliments. Not good for self-esteem and meant he might be missing out on lots of other compliments.

So parents, look for the nice things others say about your child and pass them on.

Bosses and all others in authority also discount compliments and because many people make nice to “suck” up. The boss above may  have missed or discouned sincere compliments. Again, passing along second-hand praise works best as a compliment.

Emotional fitness training Tip

Emotional fitness tip one: Always, and I mean always, pass on second-hand compliments or praise.  (Well, maybe not about”How much stronger the local bully is than you are” when he is trying to pick a fight.)

Otherwise, pass on every nice thing you hear another person saying about someone you know. The old chewing gum motto “Doubles the flavor, doubles the fun,”   triples the value of praise.  Three people profit:  you, the person you share the praise with, and the original complimentor.

Emotional fitness tip two:  Be sure to remark on how you agree with the original compliment.

Emotional fitness tip three:  Whether sharing a first or second-hand compliment if brushed off, I always, say something like “I mean what I say, take it in.”  That is not so necessary when you can find some secondhand praise to pass on but if the compliment gets shrugged off, a good strategy.


Sincere compliments are a way to practice deliberate kindness.  Second-hand compliments extend the kindness.  Kindness is one of the Daily Twelve Easy Emotional Fitness Exercises and compliments are one way to go down the kindness path.

When I walked the mean streets of the Bronx and Manhatten, I got great pleasure from complimenting strangers and from their response I felt praised and grateful for the  smile and thank you I got in return.

Here is one of my EFTI Free Poster Coaches about practicing kindness.

Practice Kindness Emotional Fitness Poster Coach

Thank you for all you do including liking, commenting, or sharing. Kindness is blesses the giver and the receiver.




As noted above, this inspired me to write about second-hand compliments. However, I also recall overhearing two friends saying,”Her face lights up when she smile.”  I don’t know if they were talking about me, but some part of my heart thought they were and that off-hand over heard comment, erased the shyness created by an over bite.  I smiled more and as smiles make you happy as well as who you smile at happy, I was not the only one benefitting..

EFTI Free stuff

Browse the EFTI store for a free downloads of emotional fitness tips, exercises, quotes all designed to improve your #emotionalintelligence. The poster coaches are best used printed up in color on card stock and then posted where seen often and serving as you personal staying strong, emotional fitness  coach.

If you down-load someof our poster coaches, please think about make a donation, via a tip. We are not for profit but only because we make no profit, not because we are tax deductible. Tips  are our way of asking for help.

Three Ways to Shrug Off Nastiness