As we grow older and experience life, many of us look for ways to quiet our inner little boy or little girl rather than take a deep dive into our subconscious. Over time, we may become bitter and jaded, forgetting how magical and extraordinary the world around us can be. As children, our curiosity fueled endless adventures, and our imagination created the story that went along with it. Think about the statement ‘looking at life through the eyes of a child.’ It is possible to connect with our inner child and heal any open wounds from the past.
What is the Inner Child?
Inside each one of us is a younger version of ourselves, representing us at various ages and stages. This part of our personality, or psyche, stores our memories (good and bad), true feelings, needs, or wants. It’s where our vulnerabilities lie, including those “I’m not good enough” thoughts. Our passions, creativity and spontaneity, and our ability to trust begin here.
Our inner child ends up wounded and hurt when our needs are not met or we are repeatedly mistreated. If those old wounds and scars are left alone, our inner child acts out during adulthood. Unconsciously, our inner child shields us from further harm by replaying those stories of not being good enough or smart enough and so on. We end up stuck in the false narratives we’ve come to believe.
How Do I know If My Younger Self Needs Healing?
Almost everyone has an inner child that needs a helping hand to heal old emotional scars and past trauma. By adulthood, most of us have experienced some type of traumatic event, including abuse, neglect, or apathetic parents. Anyone who believes they don’t have any issues needs to look deeper. Our minds are adept at hiding our pain and pretending it doesn’t exist. Signs like the following are just some common indicators of an inner child in need of healing:
- Poor self-esteem
- Unable to express feelings
- Trust issues
- Habitually people pleasing
- Attachments to people
- Fear of being abandoned
- Social anxiety
- Unable to defend yourself
- Hoarding of material items or animals
- Difficulty forming & maintaining relationships
- Believe something is wrong with you
- Shame or misplaced guilt
Quieting the Wounded Inner Child
When we feel that we don’t belong, we’re not loved, we’re not good enough, or just have an overall feeling of malcontent with life or ourselves, we seek a quick fix. We’ll find something that soothes us and eases our pain, even if it’s only a temporary solution. We’ve learned that we can numb those thoughts through alcohol, sex, drugs, gambling, shopping, binge eating, or other activity that numbs our pain.
Unfortunately, hidden wounds do not heal. They show back up in your adult life as unhealthy behaviors, chaotic situations (drama!), toxic relationships, and stress. We are easily triggered and quickly become defensive, reacting rather than responding. Unaddressed pain and scars can eventually affect every aspect of our lives even bleeding into everyday scenarios such as work.
Meeting Your Eternal Child
Connecting to our inner child is possible through various techniques such as guided meditation, breathwork, and mindfulness. Channeling our inner younger selves can also be done through journaling, creative outlets, playfulness, recalling childhood memories, and even watching children enjoying themselves. People who have difficulty opening their minds to their younger selves may need the help of a spiritual guide or mental health therapist.
Healing Your Inner Child
Inner child healing work takes time and commitment to peel back the layers of hidden feelings and coping mechanisms. Allowing the subconscious mind to take the lead to walk us through the past enables us to free ourselves. In the present day, we can re-parent ourselves and can provide that love, attention, and security that we didn’t receive in childhood. Healing our past hurts makes it possible to integrate our inner child with the adult we are today. That doesn’t mean we can’t be silly and playful; it just means our past will no longer have the power to control our reactions and behaviors today.