Updated: Dec 28, 2022
Why Is It So Important to Make a Healthy Connection to Your Inner Child?
Human connection brings a sense of belonging, being seen, heard, and understood by someone. It builds a bond and when this need is met people feel better, so it isn’t a huge surprise that it can increase our overall well-being. People with a strong sense of feeling connected report feeling happier, healthier and having more fulfilling lives.
Studies have shown that a lack of social connection is harmful to your health.
Unfortunately, feeling connected in relationships can be challenging when you experienced childhood emotional neglect or trauma. Often, the relationships you do make, to avoid loneliness, are a continuation of learned unhealthy patterns that include negativity and criticism, a dance of distancing, anxious and avoidant attachment, codependency etc.
What is Your Inner Child?
Everyone has an Inner Child self. Your Inner Child is that inner part of you that is linked to all your past experiences energetically, emotionally and physically. She (because I work with women and individuals who identify as women, I am using the pronouns she and her. Feel free to insert any other pronoun that works for you.) has stored the messages and beliefs (both negative and positive) that play a role in shaping who you develop into as an adult.
If you haven’t healthily connected to her and learned how to take care of her, she is also the part of you who reacts as she first did when something reminds her of a traumatic experience from the past.
At the moment when you are “triggered” 45-year-old, you might find yourself thinking, saying and acting like a hurt or angry 5-year-old.
At the moment, it is almost as if you have no control over yourself. It can be very embarrassing after-the-fact when you are left to deal with the damage you’ve caused by lashing out or are stuck with the consequences of hiding or procrastinating.
Signs You Might Have a Wounded Inner Child:
· You have trouble reaching out for help and trusting others. You feel like you are on your own.
· You stuff down your emotions, hold your breath to avoid crying and hold back tears, or try and pretend you aren’t angry when you are
· You feel your worth is tied to how much you do, your productivity or your success.
· You are a perfectionist. If you aren’t the best at things you feel like a failure.
· You avoid conflict at all costs. “Don’t rock the boat” is your motto.
· You’re a people pleaser, and struggle to say no, setting or keeping healthy boundaries.
· You do toxic dances in romantic relationships, always seeming to choose the same “type.”
Connecting with others takes a willingness to be open, and vulnerable.
You need to believe that others are not “out to get you” and that you are worthy to make yourself available for genuine connection.
If your Inner Child is wounded, it is difficult to extend yourself in this way because your primary goal is not to compassionately and empathetically get to know the other, and share your unique gifts: it is to protect yourself.
How to Make the Connection With Your Inner Child & With Others:
1. Stop defining yourself as broken:
If you grew up as a child of emotional neglect, or with some trauma, you might have come to believe that your Inner Child is a “problem child”, or that you are a “bad girl”. Some of us work so hard against this label by doing more, more, and more that we literally make ourselves sick with exhaustion trying to prove we are good enough.
Instead, learn to appreciate who you are and that you are worthy. Make a list of your unique gifts. What do you bring to the world? Do you have the ability to make other people feel at ease? Are you good with numbers? Can you see other people’s good qualities? Are you good with your hands, have an ear for music, good at painting, drawing, making people laugh, and belly dancing? Write down all of your amazing qualities and if you aren’t sure ask people who know about your best 3 qualities.
Start looking for the best qualities in others.
It is easy to see other people’s flaws. Instead, write down the things you admire most about the people in your life. Then people who are acquaintances, and co-workers. Lastly, write down 1 thing you admire about someone you struggle with. Everyone has good qualities, see if you can find them.
2. Invest in your relationships:
Often people look at Inner Child work as a chore.
Instead, try thinking of your Inner Child as a valued relationship and nurture it. Relax with her, hold her, and get to know her.
You can’t expect to just pop in and out of the picture once in a blue moon and develop a relationship that has trust, bondedness and a genuine connection with your Inner Child or with anyone else. Relationships take consistent effort.
Try scheduling time together. A morning check-in with your Inner Child, a weekly meet-up with an accountability partner, and regular texts throughout the day to your romantic partner can keep connections strong.
3. Stay With the Feeling – Whatever It Is:
When you were little big emotions may have gotten pushed away by others and then by yourself. Now, when you feel a big emotion try and allow yourself to stay present for your Inner Child. Let her feel whatever it is she needs to feel: sadness, anger, fear, or happiness, are all valid.
Stay with the feeling and breathe. Say to her, “I am here. “ Be the love for yourself and ask your Inner Child, “how can I support you?”
Allow yourself to experience an emotion if it arises in the presence of another person. Stay with the emotion, and breathe.
Think to yourself, “I am here.” and learn how to tolerate another person experiencing an emotion without judging or having to fix it. You can simply be present for them, breathe and say, “I am here.” Be the love for another and ask, “how can I support you?”
If you need support as you learn how to connect to your Inner Child and others I’m here to help. Before you know it, you’ll be a woman of confidence with relationships and a life you love.
I help women heal their past, and learn simple strategies to reclaim their power to become the women they were always meant to be. If you are looking for ways to feel happier, healthier, and live more authentically, I’d love to help you get started on your inner journey.
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