The inner child is the part of our personality that still reacts and feels like a child. These behaviors are often believed to be a result of wounds that were caused by negative childhood experiences and traumas.
Feelings such as insecurity, shame, dependency, fear of abandonment and loneliness are just some behaviors that affect the way we do things through our wounded inner child and many psychologists believe it’s crucial we get in touch with our inner child to work through these emotional sensitivities to commence healing.
When we continue to ignore this scarred part of ourselves, we often act in unproductive ways. A wounded inner child can affect our relationships, our ability to take certain necessary life steps, and makes us feel strongly about things that may mean nothing to others.
In order to take steps towards a healthier and happier life, we need to take responsibility for ourselves, face our fears and get in touch with our inner child to dissolve the pain and suffering.
Here are five suggestions to help us reach this goal:
- Recognize and accept that you have a wounded inner child that needs love. Your adult self can act as a parent to your inner child. When you become aware or mindful of the inner child coming out in you, make sure you acknowledge those difficult feelings. This encourages you to be more self-compassionate.
- You deserve to be happy so it’s time to stop the suffering. Some of us grew up with someone close to us telling us our life’s misfortunes are a direct result of something we did. We are shamed into thinking things did or didn’t happen because we didn’t try hard enough or we weren’t good enough. Build the self-confidence back up and be supportive by speaking to yourself in non-shaming words. Children need support when they’re young because they aren’t capable or developed enough to manage certain issues. Instead of receiving the support, they may have had some tough love resulting in a fear of abandonment or neglect. Tend to those issues now as a parent to yourself.
- Forgive yourself and others. People make mistakes as it is a part of learning in life. As an adult, we may know this, but be mindful of when we are hard on ourselves for not being perfect. Also, recognize that if your parents or caregivers did not provide the proper support for you when you were young, they may have been parenting you the only way they knew how and any sensitivities they had were also coming from their inner child. Forgive them because they were doing the best they could.
- Be proud of yourself for doing your best with what you knew maneuvering from childhood to adulthood. It has made you the fine person you are today. Thank your inner child for protecting you.
- Have a conversation with your inner child. Find a quiet spot where you will have privacy and take the time to talk to your inner child for 5-10 minutes. Speak directly to your inner child. You can say, for example: “In the past I neglected your feelings but I am here now and I hear you. I will protect and care for you”. Let the feelings come out as painful as they may be. If you need to hug yourself, cry, hold a stuffed animal or rock back and forth, it’s okay. Allow yourself to do anything that comforts your inner child as if you were comforting a real child and remember to ignore any adult voices in your head telling you that these are ridiculous exercises. These exercises promote self-care and self-love. Repeat these conversations with yourself every so often (or every day if you can) until you start to feel the healing.
Slowly over time you should notice a more confident, stronger you as you integrate the wounded inner child with your adult self. It’s a beautiful thing.