Inside each of us, there is a little child that continues to live on, even as we become adults. Our inner child is always with us. It’s a part of what makes us who we are.
For many, there are things that happen to us as children, that require us to go into fight, flight, or protector mode.
Any type of trauma that we experienced as children — unless healed — will live on in our daily lives as adults. Sometimes without us even knowing.
When we heal the hurt and smaller versions of ourselves, huge changes occur deep within.
We begin to live life from a place of trust and joy.
We are no longer acting out of a place of hurt that had previously remained unhealed.
And when we look at the hurt, nurture the inner child within, and then heal what needs to be healed we can move forward as full and vibrant beings.
The inner child is defined as a “person’s supposed original or true self, especially when regarded as damaged or concealed by negative childhood experiences”.
I like to think of it as our childlike spirit — our curiosity, our joy, our wonder.
Growing up, your impressionable inner child picks up messages about emotions, memories, beliefs, and life experiences before it can fully process what’s going on.
Our inner child is the one that remembers the way our mom’s perfume smells when she gives us a hug as she puts us to bed. It remembers the feeling of our hearts brimming with happiness when we see our parents in the front row for our concert or recital. Or if they didn’t show up. It was there when we were being ignored or made fun of because we were the new kid in school. It remembers how it feels to be ridiculed by a teacher for not knowing the answer to a question.
And because of these experiences, we may have formed beliefs about ourselves that are not true. We’re not unlovable because our parents had to work late and miss our recital. We’re not uneducated if we didn’t know the answer to a problem. We’re not uncool because someone in the 4th grade said we were.
These beliefs may have caused us to shut down parts of ourselves that make it “easier” to handle, or to fit into the idea that someone gives us about ourselves.
We dull our sparkle.
By healing our inner child, it gives us the opportunity to offer them the safety, reassurance, and security they might have needed in the past. To give them room to shine as you rediscover your natural gifts, curiosity, and your capacity to love without limits.
Inner child work is about uncovering that true part of you that has been concealed by childhood experiences.
Embedded deep in our subconscious mind, any of our unresolved trauma can end up sabotaging our lives and relationships without us even understanding what is happening in a conscious way.
When the inner child needs attention, it’ll behave and think based on beliefs or memories from the past — unconscious or not. These behaviors are usually based on what you would need to do to feel safe and what feels familiar to you.
These coping mechanisms may cause you to:
As you can see, a hurt or wounded inner child can affect many areas of our lives.
These following practices can help allow us to fully integrate the subconscious and conscious aspects of our lives to find healing.
To be able to nurture and heal your inner child — even if it feels silly at first — it helps to simply begin by acknowledging them.
Let them know that you see them and hear them. Spend time getting to know them again. Let them know their safety and consent are your top priority. That you want to make choices that are in their best interest and that you’re here to help release any negative cycles of the past that they might be repeating.
It’s important that you be open and vulnerable to allow your inner child to come out of hiding and ask for what it’s needing and share openly about what it’s feeling. Try not to dismiss or invalidate any feelings about your experiences growing up. These feelings were true and real to you then, and they deserve to be acknowledged.
And once your inner child knows it has your love and attention and you’re doing your best to provide it with its needs — this process can be so much easier and more joyful.
There are many different and beautiful ways that we can offer support, love, and healing to our inner child, and these can include:
What did you love to do as a child? Whether you loved to draw, dress up, explore the outdoors, or curl up with a book — doing what you used to love growing up can help you tap into and honor your inner child.
This can help you recreate happy and pleasant childhood experiences for yourself or to make new “good” memories and traditions.
Repeat affirmations that you know or believe your inner child has been needing to hear such as:
Write letters to your inner child:
Write them a letter telling them everything you needed to hear when you were a child. Give it the affection, validation, support, or whatever it may have needed more of as a child to feel more safe, important, and in control. Let them know it’s not their fault if their needs weren’t met when they were growing up. Let them know that you are here now to offer them protection and love and you want to help them grow, heal, and be healthy.
Spend time remembering and setting playdates with your inner child.
What did they like to do? Did they have a favorite snack? Favorite TV show to watch or book they read over and over?
Get back in touch with that playful side of yourself. Have fun with it!
Watch the shows or movies you used to love. Read your favorite books. Participate in activities you used to love as a child. Do the things you loved to do growing up. Allow your inner child’s lightheartedness, curiosity, and silliness to shine through you. If possible, buy yourself a toy or game that you weren’t allowed to have or couldn’t afford growing up.
Be careful not to judge the things that bring joy or light up your inner child. This light and joy can bring you closer to discovering your own as an adult.
A healthy inner child is happy, healthy, connected, and stable. They’re able to tolerate change, failure, mistakes, and roll with the ups and downs of life. They’re confident and aren’t easily affected by the judgment of others or need their approval.
When our inner child feels secure, loved, and heard, it allows the adult us to flourish and thrive.
If you’d like support in your inner child healing journey, I’d love to be that person for you. Please don’t hesitate to send me a message at email@example.com or book a complimentary clarity call with me here.