We all have an Inner Child. It is a part of your subconscious that experienced trauma when you were little and still holds on to that experience. You might be saying, I don’t think that applies to me because my childhood was idyllic; I grew up in a happy home.
Trauma is defined as a profoundly distressing event. Through the eyes of a child that can be anything from losing your favourite blanket to the death of a parent.
We all come into this world perfect, divine creations in imperfect physical forms and in imperfect social containers. We are vulnerable to: immediate and extended family, friends, school, etc., all contributing to our mental, physical, and spiritual conditions and conditioning.
Perhaps you don't feel like there's trauma to heal but you've simply lost touch with your spontaneous, fun side.
Whatever age you are now, you are not too old to reconnect or to re-ignite your playful side. You can tune into your inner child and embrace your creative, fun spirit at any time.
Recall things you used to love or (you wished you could have done) in childhood and give yourself permission to do them now. Try new activities for the first time, and don't worry about being good at them. Let yourself be curious and do things because you choose to, not because you have to. Being creative and unstructured is a wonderful outlet for your inner child so bring out the crayons, finger paints, colouring books, dance and move spontaneously.
While we all have an inner child, some need inner child healing. We felt hurt, fear, anger, insecurity, small, unheard, unseen, and lonely. We felt lost and overwhelmed, and it was too much for our little selves in the big world.
How Do You Know If You Need Inner Child Healing?
You are emotionally reactive.
Although you look like an adult on the outside, your coping strategies might be “stuck” at the stage and age of your inner child. When triggered, you lash out like the 2-year-old having a temper tantrum, or you shut down like the sullen 10-year-old little girl that you are on the inside.
You are a lone wolf.
Independence is a beautiful quality, but you take it to a whole other level. You take great pride in thinking to yourself, “I don’t need anyone”, and as long as you don’t “no one can hurt you”. This keeps you feeling isolated and alone.
Staying up way too late, procrastinating, choosing to eat food that makes you feel bad, over-spending, excessive drinking, gambling, and avoiding exercise are just some of the ways you sabotage your own success.
You have an inner ache.
A chronic feeling of malaise, sadness or disconnection from yourself or others is present. You feel unmotivated and struggle with a lack of purpose or passion.
You have poor boundaries.
Your own feelings and needs are challenging to identify or honour. Hence, you often ignore them and focus on meeting the needs of others instead.
You struggle with relationships.
Fear of being rejected or abandoned leads to recreating anxious or avoidant attachment patterns.
4 Ways To Heal Your Inner Child
1. Forgive :
An obstacle to healing is unforgiveness. Forgiveness is not something that is given to another person. It is 100% for you to release any negative energy holding you back from living as your best self.
Unforgiveness keeps you bound, and forgiveness sets you free. For me, the challenge I had to welcome my inner child was shame. Until I forgave myself, I couldn’t fully make the connection.
No matter how hard I tried to see her little face, it was always obscured.
Finally, a connection and healing happened when I could release the shame.
Working with a compassionate and caring coach was vital in creating a safe space for my inner exploration.
2. Welcome Her:
The first step in healing your inner child is to acknowledge her presence. I am always amazed at the ease so many of my clients welcome and embrace their inner child as I lead them through the visualization I have here Take Care of Your Inner Child. It is a beautiful process that gently reunites and reconnects you together. It was taught to me by my mentor Colleen Hoffman-Smith, 17 years ago, and I use it regularly in my life and my practice. For me, it didn’t happen effortlessly at first. And if it doesn’t work for you the first time, that is ok. Healing takes time, be patient with yourself during the process.
The welcoming is a chance to say to her what you have longed to hear. Whisper words of affirmation, love and reassurance that you needed to hear as a scared, lonely child. “I’m here; you are safe; I love and accept you, just as you are.”
3. Listen To Her:
Once you have made the connection, let her speak. You may have felt unheard much of your childhood, and you might still feel that way. Now is the time to allow your inner voice to flow freely. Let any and all emotions surface without censoring yourself. There might be things in your current circumstances that are triggering feelings to arise. For example, your boss may be spending more time with a new employee, giving them praise in meetings, criticizing your work and you are feeling threatened.
Your fear prompts you to act out by making snarky comments and gossiping about the new person behind their back, and you’ve even thought of quitting. Let your inner child speak to you about how this is “just like when you were bullied at school, and the other kids left you out of everything.” You are feeling excluded and rejected. Let your inner child tell you how painful that experience was.
4. Support Her:
Put your hand on your heart. Stay with your inner child, hold her, validate her, comfort her through the experience.
“You are not that little girl anymore.”
“You never have to feel that way ever again because…. you have a voice, you are worthy, you are competent, you are not powerless.”
Breathe in, breathe out and ask her, “How can I support you? What do you need at this moment?” Allow time for solutions to come through and then write them down.
Thanks for reading this article, and I'd love to hear your comments.
It is never too late for you to learn how to nurture your inner child, and it is never too late to heal. If you are ready to do the inner work of healing and would like the help of someone who has been there and has strategies to support you, let’s talk. Schedule a FREE 30-minute consultation. I guide you to find clarity and create a plan that works for you.