The part of us that wants instant gratification - "I WANT WHAT I WANT AND I WANT IT NOW!" (often closely allied/associated with the addict, the rebel, and/or the angry teenager.)
As a young child we had no discernment or perspective (the part of the brain that governs these things does not develop until around 7 - the "Age of Reason"). A small child has no concept of time (go for a long ride with a 5 or 6 year old and count how many times the little person asks "Are we there yet?") or of consequences in any type of logical way, and will eat lots of candy over and over again. A small child can be beaten (physically and/or emotionally) enough to make them react out of fear of taking action but that is not the same as logically thinking if I eat a lot of candy I will get sick - they are not capable of having this type of intellectual perspective on delayed gratification. (Just like a puppy can be abused to the point it cowers in fear, so too do many of us have a cowering little child inside of us whose spirit was broken with the "rod" to make us behave.)
This part of us that desires instant gratification is often the component of our being that we let take charge when we have been doing the Codependent 3 step of Shame, Suffering and Self-Abuse (Victim, Perpetrator, Rescuer cycle.) That is when we are judging and shaming our self (being our own perpetrator by giving power to the Critical Parent/disease voice) until we feel very victimized and are suffering so much that we rescue ourselves by nurturing ourselves out of the old instant gratification ways we learned to go unconscious (alcohol, food, sex, fantasy, etc.)
It is important to remember that young children are completely in the moment and feel things very BIG - it feels like life and death to that little kid to get the candy or the toy or whatever. But 10 minutes later the child can be very happy doing something different - rather they got the toy or not. The energy behind/power of/"big"ness of the feeling does not equal the importance of it in the reality of our adult life this moment, today - but if we are not able to be objective about our feelings we cannot discern that this is a child's feeling, and react to it as if it were our reality. (This is about the contrast between the "emotional truth" that we are reacting out of, and the emotional energy of Truth which is our intuition speaking to us - web page Truth vs emotional truth.)
Almost the opposite extreme from the indulgent King/Queen Baby is the young child component in the person who never got to be a child - who had to be an adult from early age (I have had clients who were cleaning the house and cooking the family breakfast as early as 4 years old - mind boggling!) Very serious, over responsible, controlling, with a very black and white/right and wrong perspective of life - this child has no idea how to relax and enjoy life - fun, playful, and frivolous are foreign concepts and shameful notions.
This is a child who has to be taught how to play, and talked through letting go of the seriousness. The cowering, very wounded (inside emotionally - on the outside they usually look great, very good at keeping up appearances) child who got the message that he/she is only worthy and lovable by taking care of everyone else has a very hard time relaxing.
The type of message she/he needs to hear from the adult within would go something like this: "It's Ok honey. You don't have to be working or producing all of the time. It is important for you to play also. You are Unconditionally Loved no matter what you are doing. I Love you and am here to take care of the adult stuff. You are a kid - it is your job is to play and have fun. I am very proud of you for all you have done but now is the time to 'be' not 'do.' Just feel the sunshine on your face and breathe. Run and yell and swing on the swings. You are beautiful and perfect just as you are, and I Love you very much."
A good thing for this child to do is skip. I find it is very hard to be serious and skip at the same time. Being silly is very good for us. One of the closing prayers for my inner child healing/grief groups is to do the "Hokey Pokey" - which is a silly dance that many American children learned when little. (I don't know if they do the Hokey Pokey in other parts of the world - maybe some of you can let me know. The point is to do something silly and pointless that helps us to not take ourselves so seriously.)
Many of us swing from indulging in instant gratification to mercilessly beating ourselves up out of the right and wrong belief system. Most all of us have some aspect of the serious child wound because of being raised in societies that define success and worth by doing and achieving. It may not be evident in our lives because many of us reacted to this programming by going to the opposite extreme of seeming to be irresponsible and a "failure" in society's/our parent's eyes. The reason we reacted in that way was because we didn't think we were good enough to achieve/live up to the expectations. At some point in my late teens I decided that I could never be "perfect" in the way I was supposed to be - so I might as well go to the other extreme.
"We may never be a success according to our parents or societies dysfunctional definition of success - but that is because our heart and soul do not resonate with those definitions, so that kind of success would be a betrayal of ourselves. We need to consciously change our definitions so that we can stop judging ourselves against someone else's screwed up value system." - Learning to Love our selfThe core issue to be worked on with this part of us (all of the parts of us for that matter) that was wounded by a society that is based on dysfunctional belief system that says we have to earn love, respect, and worth by producing/being human doings - is opening to receive. We all have a part of us that doesn't feel worthy to receive. Our worth is not dependent upon anything that we do or how we look or how much money we have, etc. - we have worth because we are Spiritual Beings having a human experience - we are part of the ONENESS that is the God-Force/Goddess Energy/Great Spirit - We are children of The Holy Mother Source Energy. This is where Positive affirmations about our inherent worth and value are very important.