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Robin Grille: How Our Inner Child Impacts Our Activism, For Good And Bad

About the video

Robin Grille presents How Our Inner Child Impacts Our Activism to the Kindred Fellowship Program in the summer of 2021. You can learn more about the program, which prepares future changemakers with worldview shifting skills, at and here on Kindred.

An Excerpt from Robin’s Presentation

I would say 93% of activism is completely invisible, because in our interactions we are conditioning the soil. You don’t see the plant, but we are conditioning the soil. We are creatures of feeling, emotion and connection we are driven by that. We used to think it is the rational that drives the bus. It has a very small influence. Decisions are made at the level of the gut-brain, the heart-brain, and the limbic brain. The decision of how to relate, what decision to make, who to be kind to, who to be angry with, who to fall in love with. Those decisions are made deep, at the level of neurology of emotion, and then that information is sent to the frontal lobes, which is the slow thinker, and it makes a rationale for why we made that decision. And we think we make decisions logically and rationally. That is a secondary application of decision making that has already been made at the level of the heart. We need to come to terms with that is who we are. We are beings of feeling.

And this is the deep, ongoing, endless lament and frustration, head-banging frustration around the world. We hear this a million times a day, ‘Oh my god, we brought all of the information to the table. We brought all of the science to the table. It was incontrovertible. And nothing happened. People went home and kept doing the same thing. Information is important and necessary. It does help. It is woefully insufficient because it doesn’t change the heart. It doesn’t address the depth of emotional resistance… Intelligence makes no difference. IQ or intelligence is not a force strong enough to intervene in the emotional reactivity that is triggered for us. The thing that is in the way is an emotional thing, not a lack of information, an emotional reaction that is triggered and it runs deep. 

…The voices I hear, when I read the news, are the voices of children and adolescents inside adults who are saying, “I will die before I let mummy tell me what I’m supposed to do ever again. That broke my spirit too many times as a kid. It crushed my soul too many times when I was a kid. Being robbed of my agency by shaming parents, punishing parents. I have rage about that. White hot, rage.”

People say the “nanny state” and look at the projection that is implicit in that. We don’t register government as an instrument of our voice as people, a democratic thing. We register government as an evil, big money, big daddy, or big school teacher coming to tell us what to do, wow. How much of our history is just people shadow-boxing with their own past? Whether we are projecting positively or negatively. 

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