If you’re reading this article, you are either searching for healing for your inner child, or wondering what an inner child is. I was curious about this exciting concept and decided to share it with others to help support their inner child.
First, it is good to know that everyone has an inner child. This is not a childlike personality or version of yourself, but a part of who you are. Think of your inner child as a piece of your subconscious. This piece has navigated through some of your hopes and dreams for the future and has maybe experienced traumas, fears, neglect, or loss. We walk around with our inner child every day, and it can show up in various ways. Your 7-year-old self could present when you feel unheard by your partner, or your 13-year-old self could appear when you feel critical about yourself. Our past experiences shape how we interact or comprehend our world, relationships, and needs. Healing your inner child can be a valuable tool for healing any trauma, unhealthy patterns, behaviors, or unhealed wounds.
Indicators Your Inner Child Needs Healing
When it comes to our inner child, some may call for more healing than others if it is needed. We should not expect inner child work occurs due to trauma or neglect to extreme levels. You can connect with your inner child for several reasons, but this section will focus on the pain an inner child may be experiencing and could benefit from healing. If you can resonate with some of these sentences, you should consider inner child work:
- I am a perfectionist.
- I tend to criticize myself.
- I do not feel “good enough.”
- I feel unheard when I express my feelings.
- I was responsible for adults in my childhood.
- I avoid conflict whenever possible.
- I fear being abandoned by a family member/friend/partner.
- I have a hard time saying “no.”
- I did not receive much affection as a child.
- I was told not to have strong emotions.
Ways to Honor Your Inner Child
Introducing Compassionate Self-Talk: Reflect on how you speak to yourself when things do not go the way you expected. Some people have a habit of criticizing themselves in response to the unexpected. When you feel hurt or ashamed, take a moment to say kind statements to yourself. Here are a few suggestions:
- I’m proud of you.
- You are worthy and deserving of kindness.
- You deserve the time and space to do things you love.
- I love you.
- I have a happy future awaiting me.
- I am whole and complete.
A common coping strategy is journaling, which allows you to have a space to express your thoughts and feelings. Journaling does not have to look like in-depth writing. It can be voice memos or a personal vlog if you prefer. Make it your own. If you need help getting started with journaling, think of some prompts such as asking yourself how you are today or how you hope to honor your inner child. Additionally, think about writing a letter to your inner child, reflecting on what you needed to hear as a child. Your childhood needs could be things like not having adult responsibilities, having a space to share your emotions, or receiving hugs. Nothing is too small or too big.
Developing Healthy Relationships
Take time to reflect on some signs of a healthy relationship and your needs in different relationships you have. Is it when someone spends quality time with you, or feeling supported when someone challenges you? Consider your non-negotiables in your relationships. Ask yourself your values and boundaries, then inquire how you can uphold them with friends, family, or significant others. Relationships are essential, and having healthy ones is vital.
Doing Something You Enjoyed from Childhood
Make space for your inner child by incorporating things from your childhood that brought you joy, or something you wanted to try. As adults, there are activities we would probably consider childish and unbecoming, but inner child work includes experiencing the enjoyment we had as children. For instance, have a sleepover, a dance party, draw or color, and even watch cartoons. Some individuals make their inner children happy with collectables such as Legos or Funko Pops. The opportunities are limitless to explore what made you happy back then, or trying new activities you may not have experienced as a child.
Seeking Professional Support
If you find yourself having triggers or uncomfortable memories, it would be best to seek support from a mental health professional. These professionals can assist you in coping with any traumas or difficult emotions. Some professionals specialize in inner child work and can help you face your pain and aid with addressing and resolving any issues mentioned previously.
Your inner child work can take some time, but keeping an open mind and seeing one of our therapists to work through it can be very beneficial. Call us today or fill out our intake form to find a therapist that can best fit your needs.
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