Understanding your inner child is an essential part of the inner work you will do in your lifetime. We all have an inner child, a part of ourselves that is truly us. In some ways I think of the inner child as the essence of a person, who they were before the world imposed beliefs and experiences on them telling them otherwise. It is not that the inner child is the best or fully realized version of yourself, but it is more like the point from which you began. The seed that you grew from and the flower that you continue growing and blossoming into.
The first ten years of our lives are incredibly influential on our souls. We are soaking up and absorbing experiences like little sponges until we begin to form our own opinions and ideas about the world.
These formative years are about laying the foundation for the way we think and view the world and creating a kind of framework for our character.
Any kind of trauma that is experienced during these years, no matter how huge or how seemingly small has an affect on us mentally and emotionally. They could be anything from experiencing death or loss, emotional or physical abuse, divorce, bullying, changing homes or schools or losing a special toy.
Whatever your childhood experiences were, how you reacted and dealt with them at the time and how others reacted to you is all stored in your subconscious.
However you dealt with it and the level of support you received is what really matters here. Your inner child is formed from these experiences and how you were able to cope and whether you received support and nurturing through it.
Most young kids are not able to use full cognitive awareness to understand and cope with trauma. That’s why sensitive children often feel they are to blame for abuse, divorce and so on. Their inability to understand complex situations and emotions means they internalize the situation as somehow being related to something they did or didn’t do.
This can become programmed into the belief that I am bad or something is wrong with me. That gets internalized into the subconscious mind and stays,despite growing up and realizing the truth of a situation. That programming can remain buried within the inner child, in our minds and can affect other areas of life in adulthood.
Inner child work helps us to reconnect with this wounded element of ourselves. We can connect to the root cause of our fears, insecurities and negative patterns and heal them by looking at how they originated.
It’s so common for people to resist doing this work, dragging up your past can be painful and tedious. Many people feel their traumatic experiences were not serious enough, or were just a normal part of growing up. But your feelings at the time were very real and should not be ignored. They are a big part of your emotional and psychological baggage in life.
It’s also important to note that doing inner child work is not about blaming others, especially your parents. When you do this work, have in the back of your mind that everyone at all times is doing the best they can with what they know in the moment.
I want to share some healing techniques with you today to help you learn to soothe and reconnect with your own inner child. These will help you to resolve deeply held self-sabotaging life patterns so that you can release that emotional weight and resolve your past.
1. Think about something that happened in your part, a life-changing event or traumatic memory you hold from those first 10 years. Try to recall how it made you feel. Go deeply into those emotions and feelings. See if you can relate how you felt then to the way you sometimes deal with things in the present. Journal about all of this as a way to record your memories.
2. Imagine yourself as the age you were during these traumatic/ life-changing events. See yourself standing before you now. Think about how that child version of yourself would have wanted to be supported, nurtured and comforted. Write a letter to your younger self with everything that you would have wanted to know and hear.
3. Meditate quietly and use the following visualization technique to speak with your inner child. Close your eyes and bring your breathing to a regular, calm rhythm. Let your thinking mind be still and just concentrate on listening to the silence within. When you feel you are in a calm state of mind, visualize a beautiful garden or place that makes you feel safe, happy and empowered. Once you have created this place in your mind, allow yourself to invite your child into this space. There you can meditate quietly and ask your child to speak to you, let them tell you whatever they want to. Just listen and be there to hear them. You can get better at this the more you do it.
4. Speak to your inner child in the following ways to heal and nurture them:
Say these words as often as you need to, while thinking of the past or during the day as you catch yourself falling into regular patterns or negative thinking.
Treating your inner child with love, compassion, kindness and understanding is a way to re-parent them today. It is possible to heal and change the past by the way you act in the present.
5. Remind yourself of who you were as a child. Look at photos and find the ones that resonate and bring you joy. Pin them up around your home in places where you can regularly be reminded of the spontaneity, adventure and innocence of childhood in a positive way. This can help you to connect with a sense of playfulness that you once had and to bring the presence of your inner child back into your life today.
6. Remember some of the activities or games you enjoyed as a child. From coloring to climbing trees or playing make-believe. Without judgement, try to recreate these activities in your life today. It may sound silly but it’s truly a powerful way to let your inner child know they are important, and that they contribute to your life. It’s an amazing way to heal and empower yourself as an adult.
7. Finally, set an intention to be more aware of the way you behave and act moving forward. When you become conscious of your patterns and what informs the decisions you make, you can make sure that you act from love and not fear or insecurity.
Through working with your inner child in these ways, you can learn to resolve and heal the trauma you may have been holding onto unconsciously for decades. Connecting with your inner child is truly the path to freedom, joy, balance and emotional wellbeing.
I hope these healing techniques help you on your journey. Tell me in the comments how you have worked on connecting to your inner child.