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It’s OK to feel “young at heart” as long as your emotional tool bag
doesn’t feel too empty or too disorganised at the same time

Growing Self Awareness


There is a very fast and easy way of discovering whether your Emotionally younger parts  are is looking after your life more than it should be. Sit quietly and ask yourself how much emphasis you place on what other people tell you about yourself and how much that matters to you.



Whatever your answer, it will give you one of the best indicators of how much you are doing what’s called “externalising” your view of your life and yourself.


Each time you find yourself worrying about “.... what would other people say?” that’s telling you that your Emotionally younger parts  are carrying too much responsibility for what controls you and the way you live your daily life.


Actually, your Emotionally younger parts  shouldn’t be doing any  “looking after you” at all. It’s supposed to be the other way round.



Your Emotional Age

Looking at how much you externalise will also give you an idea of something a bit deeper and that is what your present emotional age could be. Hint: Your emotional age has absolutely nothing to do with your calendar age. Your emotional age  is just a reflection of how much of your life is still being handled by your Emotionally younger parts  and how much by your grown up self-aware side.




How many of the following statements about your key life issues might apply to you in your daily life?



1. Security issues -  Safety; Security; Peace; harmony; vulnerability; protection


My sense of my own safety and security depends on how much other people around me protect me.


If somebody says or does something to me that makes me feel more vulnerable that reminds me of how vulnerable I really am.


2. Belonging - Connection; self-nurturing


My sense of feeling connected to other people depends on how often other people connect with me. If I don’t hear regularly from my friends I feel they have forgotten me, or perhaps they are no longer my friends.


How worthwhile I feel about myself depends too much on how much or how often people show me they appreciate me, approve of me or think that I’m worth connecting with.


3. Self-esteem -  Self worth; Loyalty, Giving and receiving appreciation;


My level of self-esteem goes up and down depending on how much other people see me as worthwhile, or show me that they feel that I am valuable in their eyes. When I don’t get this kind of response from others my self-esteem goes down. If they tell me I am special those are the times that I feel that I am special.


How successful I feel about myself depends on how much other people see me as succeeding or failing.


4. Power and control issues - Achievement; Boundaries; Standards; Structure; Success; Goals,  Results; Being organised, Self empowerment; ability to make changes; bonding patterns; self-protection; avoiding manipulation; Rules.


If people in authority tell me “Those are the rules” I usually believe them without question.


If I get an e-mail that sounds unbelievable but says “This is true, send it on to everybody” I usually send it on without checking to see if it is true.


If someone tells me “You can’t change” that means I can’t change.


If someone tells me “You can’t change other people” I understand that to mean I can do nothing to get other people to treat me in better ways or to stop them treating me badly.


If I say “No” to someone I feel guilty.


The more I feel that I am able to control other people then the better I feel about myself.


5. Reality issues - Truth; Right-wrong; Justice; Fairness; Openness and honesty; Trust and Trustworthiness; Integrity; Understanding


How believable I feel I am depends on how much other people believe me or how much they don’t believe me.


If someone tells me I am wrong I feel wrong.


If someone tells me I’m bad, I feel bad.


How right or wrong I feel depends on how much other people agree or disagree with me.


Whenever I feel that I cannot trust myself then I also find it harder to trust others.


I feel that it is very important to maintain peace and harmony around me. If my wishes could create conflict or disharmony I don’t mind keeping quiet about what I would have liked.


Telling other people what I would really like it is often difficult for me anyway. It’s easier to find out what they would like and go along with that.


6. Moderation issues - Integrity; Reason; Balancing giving and  receiving; Emotional age; Growth; Avoiding “flips” between opposite positions


The more energised or out of balance other people are when they are around me, the more I feel out of balance myself.


I feel I cannot grow further or faster unless other people approve of my growing that way.


7. Identity and Existence issues - Recognition; Being who I really am; My history; My knowledge; My experience; Self-awareness;


How I see myself depends a bit too much on how other people tell me they see me.


I usually describe myself in terms of  the things I do at those times when I am with other people. Examples “I am a mother”; “I am a teacher”; “I am a sportsman”; “I am divorced”; “I am a nurse”.


It would be less usual for me to say things along the lines of  “ I am ........(your name)  .......and I  ...... (some of the things I do or that I like doing........”


 8. Love and intimacy  - Caring; Sharing; Unconditional loving; Balancing giving and receiving;


How lovable I feel about myself depends a lot on the ways that other people tell me they love me or don’t love me.


If someone blames me for “hurting” them I feel responsible. Then I try to make them feel better.


I often find it difficult to tell other people what I am feeling inside. If I do describe my feelings I might say I am feeling “good”  or “OK”. I would seldom tell another person “I am feeling “positive” or “worthwhile” or “joyful”. I find it even harder to share a negative thought or feeling that I have about myself.


On the other hand I don’t have any difficulty sharing negative feelings that I have about other people.


I am worried that if I shared my deepest vulnerability to someone else that they could use it to that me or take advantage of me or control me.  I will always keep some parts of me hidden from other people.


People who try to get too close to me can scare me.


 9. Self awareness issues - Freedom; Autonomy; Individuality; intimacy; self-protection; Balancing my  personal and impersonal energies


How free I feel that I am often depends on how much other people try to control me or how much I can control them


I don’t have  a strong sense of  a aware grown up system (SAGE) operating inside me.


10. Health  issues - Self healing, defects; perfection


I am inclined to believe whatever I read in books, e-mails in papers or on the TV about health issues.  I believe what I am told by “experts” about what is good for me or not good for me.


If a doctor tells me something about my health, I believe I should not question that information.


11. Wholeness - Integrity; Balance  Wholeness; Spirit; Self-actualisation; Spirit and spirituality; Personal Growth


I find it very hard to see myself as a whole balanced person unless other people see me as a person who is whole, and well balanced person and someone who has their act together




Is quite easy to measure the results.


The more times you have said to yourself “No” or “That’s not me”  the less you are externalising. That’s a sign that your Emotionally younger parts  are not feeling so  responsible for looking after you or living your life for you.


The more times you can say to yourself “I used to be like that  but not now.” the more it means that your self aware grown-up side is now handling your life the way it is meant to.


Everyone needs to externalise some of the time, so it’s understandable that there will be quite a few “yes”  answers  to  quite a few of the questions.



If however more than half your answers were along the lines of “Yes, I do think like that”  or “Yes I do tell myself things like that”  then perhaps it’s time to take a look at whether your life is being controlled too much by the questions that haunt each of the emotionally younger parts  ...

“But what will other people say?”

“What will the neighbors think?”




“But what will other people say?”

“What will the neighbors think?”

Too much concern about how others might judge us causes stress but it also causes us to give up too much of our individuality while we allow the “neighbors” or parents or partners or anyone else to control us too much.

Allowing this to happen too much or too often is an indicator that you are operating at too young an emotional age.

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