Episode 60: Finding Your Inner “Wise Inside”

In this episode of The Family Couch, we talk with Heather Criswell about how to find the “wise inside.”

Criswell starts off by describing her background and the books she has authored. She mentions that her mother always woke her up saying, “Rise and shine!”, which now has profound meaning to her.  She feels that we need to rise up in our greatness and shine it out to the world. We can light up dark corners of the world.

We discuss how the way we parent our children will affect the next generation of society.  Criswell explains that we often come from a place of disempowerment. She believes that many of us feel disempowered in some area of our lives, whether it is in a relationship, at work, or when a doctor says you do not have longer to live.  We feel the worst about ourselves when we are disempowered. Our job is to connect back into the wisdom for ourselves and reignite the power within us, asking, “Why am I even here? Why was I born?

We begin discussing how to find our “wise inside.”  Criswell provides that it is challenging as we are inundated with both solicited and unsolicited advice throughout the day.  We are constantly looking all around instead of centering on ourselves and wondering what feels good for us in the moment. We have to find the wisdom within ourselves.  Criswell feels that children come into the world with wisdom about how to live their lives but over time the wisdom is stripped away. Her goal is to help others keep the wisdom within.  She explains that it is a matter of thinking about how something feels inside. If a child punches someone, they have the wisdom to know that this is not the wise choice.

Criswell says that the biggest question she asks herself is, “What am I wanting?”  She gives an example of going out to dinner with her husband. If he says he wants mexican food and she wants pizza, and she begrudgingly agrees to go to mexican, she did not follow what she wanted.  Criswell explains that there are ways to satisfy your wants with relation to others, by cooperating on the situation. They can go to a restaurant that serves both, or go to one this night and the next time.  She says we need to own what we want in the moment. Criswell feels that we have been taught to ignore our wants to serve others and we need to reconnect to ourselves. The problem is that if we do not serve ourselves first, we are often unhappy.  As moms, we often feel that this is selfish.

We next discuss how this relates to children.  On the playground, they may have a misstep with a friend and we say, “You tell him you’re sorry…you tell him you won’t do it again…make him feel better…make him happy…”  When we act from a space of what we have to do to make someone else happy, it does not work because we are not responsible for their feelings. We are responsible for our own actions but not for the feelings of others.  Criswell explains that this does not mean that it is never a good idea to tell someone you’re sorry, but instead you can ask the child, “What is happening? That wasn’t like you. What’s going on? How can I help you?”

We change gears and discuss the differences between how boys and girls are taught.  Criswell provides an example of her son on the playground recently. Another child backed her son into a train, so her son pushed him away.  If it had been a girl, it would have been a different story–often we say things like, “Good for her..she is strong and empowered…she stood up for herself!”, but with a boy he may be labeled as a bully or aggressive.  In that moment, we need to give our children a change to be heard, whether the behavior was acceptable or not. The end goal is that both parties feel heard, acknowledged and valued. The only way to do that is to communicate instead of shut the conversation down.  We discuss how children are often labeled as one thing or another and this suppresses their ability to find their wise inside. By being told what to do or labeled as being a certain way, it hampers their ability to know on their own what to do.

Criswell explains that trusting your feeling within, even if it feels like it’s a mistake, is in the highest good.  She gives an example of giving her son homeopathic remedies that just aren’t working, so she changes to Mucinex instead.  There is no need to feel badly one way or the other–she is doing the best she can with all of the information given to her to take care of her child.  She gives further examples that often plague parents–whether you breastfeed or not, co- sleep or not, vaccinate or not. There is internal wisdom that we all have that we need to allow to guide us through life.

We are often so worried about what others are saying or thinking about our actions that we don’t give ourselves the space to consider all of the options and make the best decision.  Criswell provides an example of a time her son had strep throat. She took him to the doctor who provided medicine that Criswell was not sure would work. She gave him the prescription anyway because she just felt it was the thing to do, even though she had a gut feeling it would not work.  She ended up switching to another remedy afterward that did work for her son, but she did have the space to figure this out. It took him longer to heal, but it was okay. Criswell feels that we are all going through a time with strong souls that are on this planet telling people how to do things.  We have to find the tools that we can use to communicate and honor these people while still showing them that there are better ways to communicate than simply telling people what to do.

We further discuss how an impediment on our “wise inside” journey is not having any space to figure things out. We are constantly making decisions that are outside of the wisdom we have inside because we are trying to meet the status quo, be the “good parent,” or be the parent that others are not looking down on.  As a result, we are not really tapping into our own self-empathy. Criswell provides that if her son pulls the cat’s tail, she can go in the direction of yelling and punishing him and telling him how bad his behavior is, but she has found that for her, the more effective approach is to ask him what is going on instead and try to figure out the problem.  You can then give them guidance on what to do next time. This also allows children to tell the truth. They can own what they’ve done and discuss it instead of trying to cover it up. Criswell feels that we should all be love to each other and try to see the greatness in each other.

We finally discuss that it is sometimes hard to acknowledge that others are just as worthy as us.  In the current political climate, it’s even more difficult to be able to recognize that other people have different opinions and we have to figure out how to handle these situations that we may not agree with, understand, or like.  Criswell feels that the current climate is allowing us to rise up in our power and greatness. We need to find our light and shine so bright that we eliminate darkness wherever we are. Criswell advises to find what you love and shine bright.  This can be as simple as smiling at people going down the street.



Heather Criswell has worked with over 30,000 children over the last 25 years.  She first owned a preschool and then decided to open a wellness center. She is co-author of the book, How to Raise a Happy Child and Be Happy Too, and author of the book Wise Talk From the Other Side.  She currently engages in public speaking events and also has a podcast.



WEBSITE: https://www.wiseinside.com/

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/WiseInsideParenting

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/WiseInside


Be sure to subscribe to the channel for updates on weekly updates!



Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ShameProofParenting

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ParentSkillz

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/ShameProofParenting

YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/ShameProofParenting



Please share in the comments what you think about the episode, questions you have about the topic, and any other comments you’d like to share.



Watch The Family Couch – new episodes go live Wednesdays at 8:00am PST! http://thefamilycouchshow.com


Want to be on The Family Couch or know someone who would be a great guest? Email us at mercedes@shameproofparenting.com

Speak Your Mind