“Childhood is what you spend the rest of your life trying to overcome.” ~ Birdee Pruitt
Unless you had a perfect childhood, you more than likely have some healing work to do with your inner child.
The inner child lives in all of us; it is who we were before life happened to us. When the negative experiences of life happen in childhood, our inner child becomes fragmented. We disconnect from that vital aspect of ourselves and shove that part of our psyche down into the dark.
As we grow up, the inner child is still very much alive, often dictating our responses to life. Those traumas that you experienced as a child become your template for responding, which is why it’s not uncommon to see an adult responding with extremely childlike behaviors. We grow up, but the inner child still calls the shots.
In order to fully mature and grow up, we have to reintegrate the inner child. The inner child experienced life in a certain way and learned to respond in a specific way in order to have his/her needs met or to protect him/herself. When those patterns show up in adulthood, they keeps us stuck and unable to have our needs met. The same protections we put in place to keep us safe become the things that keep us from getting what we want.
Healing the inner child is possible and necessary to our soul’s evolution. Here’s a process I came up with to help you along the way:
Find a photo of yourself as a child that you feel represents how the inner child feels. Print out the photo and tape it to a candle along with some affirmations. Make the affirmations the things that you needed to hear as a child, but didn’t.
Some suggestions might be “I love you,” “You’re worthy,” “You’re safe,” “I’m here for you,” “It wasn’t your fault,” and “I see you.”
Spend at least five minutes a day burning the candle with the intention of reconnecting with and healing your inner child. Look at the photo of yourself as a child with compassionate eyes; imagine yourself as a vulnerable, impressionable child and give that child the love and compassion you needed. State the affirmations out loud while you look at the photo and feel love and compassion in your heart. Do this for at least 30 days.
As you go through this process, learn to listen to what your inner child is saying. Create a conversation with your inner child so he/she knows you are safe and they are heard and respected. By learning to listen to your inner child, you are giving that aspect of your experience a voice without allowing it to jump into the emotional drivers seat.
When you feel the inner child triggered, you can reassure yourself that you are the adult now, you have the situation under control, and that the inner child can trust you.
With this process, you are engaging in re-parenting your inner child in the way that you needed when you were a child. Although the inner child healing work is ongoing, this is a process you can use repeatedly until your inner child is healed, restored and feels safe once again.
Author: Lisa Vallejos
Image: Stephan Hochhaus/Flickr
Editor: Lieselle Davidson
Copy Editor: Khara-Jade Warren
Social Editor: Erin Lawson