Tending Your Inner Teenager with Myka Hansen

Myka is the founder and CEO of Teen Forward and invaluable Member of the District Bliss Community. She shared this in our Slack channel recently and I asked if we could share it on our blog. Enjoy!

“I don’t even know how to talk to them! They don’t hear me!”

“How am I supposed to learn stuff when the rules are always changing?”

“I give up! My words never come out right anyway. Just forget it.”

These statements might seem like they come from the mouth of a frustrated (and completely normal) teenager, but they’re actually words that were spoken to me by three adults expressing their feelings this last week.

In my daily work as a life coach for teenagers, I see, as you might expect, a lot of chaos, drama, learning, and growing.

The teen years– adolescence– can be fraught with anxiety, confusion, and even the need to code-switch between peer groups, authority figures, and loved ones.

And, though adulthood makes a promise of us getting to leave our teenage years behind along with the drama and chaos, the past few years have shown that our inner teenager remains within us.

And, our inner teenagers often need some tending. They need to be heard, seen, healed, tended, nourished, held, and encouraged. They love to be invited into our reality just as we are conscious about inviting images to enter our dreamscape.

If you’re curious about how to begin to tend your inner teenager, the following exercise is for you:

1. Find a song that you listened to as a teen. It can be happy, dancey, angsty, whatever first comes to mind. If you can’t remember, pick a popular song from the years that coincided with your teen years.

2. Sit or stand comfortably, and start to draw your attention to your breath. You don’t need to change or alter your breath in any way, just begin to notice it. Try to approach your breath without judgment or internal comment. If thoughts arise, briefly acknowledge them with compassion and allow them to float away from your mind space.

3. Play the song, and notice what your body does. Allow the song and the breath to move your body.

4. After a few moments, invite your teenage self to enter the space, just as they are. You may be surprised at their age, what they’re wearing, or their hair color. This is who your inner teen is today.

5. Invite your inner teenager to dance. You might dance independently of one another, witnessing one another’s movements, or you may choose to join together in a partner dance. However you and the image engage with one another, continue to allow your breath to flow deeply, nourishing you. As you dance, notice the sensations that arise in play with your image.

6. When the song and dance conclude, take some time to journal or draw the experience. Allow your inner teen to do the talking first. Encourage them to speak.

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