What in the world is your inner child and why should you protect, heal and nurture it anyway?
Your inner child is exactly that…a part of your personality that still reacts and feels like a child. That urge to stick your tongue out at people. The fact that after a fight with a friend, your inner child is really sad and wants to say “Let’s forget it and be friends again!” The part of you who wants your parents to say that everything is going to be okay. And the truth is, it will be. So let’s dive in to the work shall we?
At times, we don’t treat ourselves with the love and respect we would even show our own animals, and that includes that inner voice. I will not forget the time someone made me face my inner child. I thought I was going to break down and not be able to get back up again. The truth is, I had pushed everything so far down that voice hurt. That voice had not felt very child-like as it unfortunately saw too much, understood too much and tried to be an adult early on to heal people around it. And the realization that I continued that and never really allowed myself to heal was interesting.
I am not going to force you to take a look at your inner child back then as nothing can change in the past. Nope. Not a thing. So I am going to help you as I learned to help myself. In the present moment only.
5 Ways to Protect and heal Your Inner Child:
- Tell yourself that it is okay to express your feelings and that it is perfectly normal to have a bad day. Even as an adult. You don’t have to be strong all the time. In fact, take a few days as needed and journal around a way to describe your feelings. You can bring in as many words as needed and even draw a picture that describes how you are currently feeling. Taking good care of yourself is important in this phase.
- Decide who you want to “play with” and if they make you feel “icky” acknowledge that. As a teacher to many hundreds of children over the years, I know that children are especially receptive to raw energy. They don’t know analyze why they don’t like someone. They just seem to know. Do you over-analyze what will happen if you draw away from someone’s bad energy? What if you just acknowledged it and sat with it for a bit and then sad, okay then. Less time with so-and-so because I feel ____. Drained. Spent. Shattered. Depleted. Used. Awful. Dirty. <<< not nice feelings. Your inner child is very aware of what is toxic to you, the adult. Listen to that.
- ________ (your name here) I love you, I value you, and I accept you as you are. Give yourself that love and validation your inner child might not hear as often as it needs. Why are we so afraid to say, you know what, I did a great job!! Being vulnerable is totally okay and you need to know that you are not only worthy of love, but deserving of it as well. Write down “I am worthy of love and respect.” If you feel your voice isn’t heard often, write down “I hear you. You have valuable things to say.” Listen to what that inner child needs and recognize it.
- Forgive yourself and others as needed. The other day I worked on forgiving people…including myself, for what I say and do in anger. I am trying to really get to a certain point where I might even be able to say it to someone in person one day, but I am not quite there yet. The wound is deep and old, and I know it needs to be healed, but the adult is getting in the way. However, remember when you were forced to say sorry to someone and you didn’t mean it?? Well, I am trying to slowly get to the point where I really mean it and not force myself. So step one is knowing that. My inner child was forced to be shamed for being different and the adult didn’t appreciate it. It’s like changing your skin color or your DNA. So I am getting there by realizing that not everyone was raised the same way and some reactions are not entirely their own, but were programmed in for years. So that is what I hope to mend. Forgiveness of things we carry that are not always ours.
- Feeling supported and uplifted. My inner-child finds great support with my online community. I am not going to lie, I feel very refreshed helping others in my group and likewise, I really value their support. There are days when I don’t feel like I could comment publicly on my own feed, but in my closed group, I can tell them what is going on. Your inner child needs to find their own “fort” or safe place as well. Somewhere where you feel safe from judgement and are free to express your fears, desires, hopes and dreams. Just like my fort. <<< If you want to check out my fort, you can. I don’t mind sharing.