If you have heard anyone drop references to their inner child, and wondered what they meant? They’re referring to their younger self. We all have an inner child within us who’s needs was not met or feelings not validated.
Inner child work or healing, is a way to address our needs and heal the attachment wounds we’ve developed when we were younger. These wounds were consistently unmet emotionally, physically or even spiritually expressed through our subconscious, impacting our current adult self. (1) As adults we have the ability to process things that happen to us but when we are children, our lens is skewed to what we see, even if we can make sense of it as mature adults, it’s not the same. Why is it important for anyone who’s on a journey to heal themselves, to walk through this work? This article will give you more insight to the role of healing the Inner Child and how it can help you.
Create Safety for Yourself
When we avoid addressing our past hurts and feel alone with them, the possibility (if not already) for them to transform into destructive behaviours can occur. Without even realising it, coping mechanisms can be unhealthy for ourselves or for the environment around us. They can develop into ultra independence, apathy, workaholism, alcoholism, chronic procrastination and so much more.
By healing our inner child, we begin to create the safety and security our younger selves have always needed. In order for grief to be resolved several factors must be present. The first factor is validation. Our childhood abandonment trauma must be validated as real or it cannot be resolved. (2) When you’re no longer fighting your own thoughts or escaping from them, you feel safe.
Safety within us helps us work with attachment wounds and alleviates the need to recreate scenarios that made us feel unsafe in the first place. Why continue to worry and be fearful? We have to transmit that wisdom to the inner child. We need to let the child within us know that he or she no longer has to be afraid. (3) Co-regulating our emotions by acknowledging feelings we have abandoned or rejected for so long allows us to unlock our natural gifts, our inner curiosity, and our limitless capacity to love. When you’re able to break the chain of pain, you absolve your future generation from an unhealthy cycle of pain.
Creating Space for Yourself
In order for us to start understanding our unconscious behaviours as adults we need to ask why. For example, why we keep attracting narcissistic men, constantly need validation from our partners or work, get paralysed by perfection, or take everything personally. Through inner work, it’s the space you allow yourself to explore true feelings that have been rejected or ignored at an early age. When we betray or deny ourselves in order to seek love from young (even if it’s a legitimate reason or not), it causes us to rewire ourselves in a different way through coping mechanisms. After validation and support one needs to experience the feelings that were not allowed. This must be done in a safe non-shaming context. The feelings involved in “grief work” are anger, remorse, hurt, depression, sadness and loneliness. (4) By exploring our true feelings, we will begin to peel back layers that help us understand the behaviours we have used to show up in life. By allowing ourselves to feel all those feelings, brings these unconscious behaviours to the conscious level and start working on them. Spending time to meditate or having an evening of solitude without needing to explain to anyone is the space you need.
Create More Openness for Yourself
If our unresolved inner child had us being overly reactive, sensitive or dismissive, then being able to have more awareness will help us learn how to be more spontaneous and playful with a sense of wonder. Our inner child may have revealed challenges of our past but now we can rewrite our future with openness and understanding. You don’t need to have the answers, just start to listen to the questions. The more you cultivate this listening, the more you will become present and aware. (4) By exposing the original fear from your inner child, through awareness we can begin to heal. The results of this practice doesn’t happen overnight, but it does get easier and the communication process allows you to reconcile your childhood fears and to prove that they no longer has any bases as adults because we can protect and defend ourselves.
By being more in tune with your inner child can lead you to a more complete sense of self and help boost your confidence. By affirming your intention to heal, you will reinforce the connection with your inner child and its a relationship so you will continue to listen and offering love and compassion that can stay open. Staying in tune with your inner child can lead to a more complete sense of self and boost confidence and motivation. Reinforce the connection you’ve opened by affirming your intent to continue listening, offering love and compassion, and working to heal any wounds that remain open.
If you’re ready, here are a few resources we recommend to get started on this journey:
- Guided Inner Child Meditation by The Holistic Psychologist (audio)
- Inner-Child Meditation by Rising Woman (audio)
- The Inner Child Podcast: #1: Why Does Bad Sh*t Keep Happening? The 4 Core Wounds From Your Childhood by Gloria Zhang (podcast)
(1) How to Do the Work: Recognize Your Patterns, Heal from Your Past, and Create Your Self by Nicole LePera (2020)
(2) Healing the shame that binds you by John Bradshaw (2009) p.140
(3) Reconciliation: Healing the Inner Child by Thich Nhat Hanh (2013) p.106
(4) Healing the shame that binds you by John Bradshaw (2009) p.143
(5)How to Do the Work: Recognize Your Patterns, Heal from Your Past, and Create Your Self by Nicole LePera (2020)