Every human, no matter their age, has an inner child within them.
Most people assume that as they grow up they need to lose their childlike wonder and curiosity in favor of responsibility and career. This couldn’t be further from the truth!
The child version of you sticks with you; it’s your choice whether you want to connect with that part of yourself or not. The truth is that we tend to stick with the same programming from childhood throughout adolescence and adulthood.
Sure, we may learn new things or have new experiences, but our core beliefs stay the same unless we make a conscious effort to change them. The human brain loves consistency, predictability, and safety. So when we adopt beliefs about the world at a young age, the brain takes that as truth.
This means that all adult humans walking around today still have an inner child. The adult self still holds onto similar fears, coping mechanisms, and the same level of confidence as when they were a child. Most of these are buried in the subconscious mind. The inner child goes unnoticed because we have learned how to ignore our needs.
The inner child usually stays quiet until a strong emotion elicits something from it. Typically when we are scared or fearing change, the inner child comes out in a big way. See, the inner child wants to remain safe and protected, so it will do everything to stay in their comfort zone.
Have you ever experienced fear or uncertainty toward change? Well that’s the child side of you wanting your attention! Unfortunately, most people stuff away these feelings with their favorite distraction or numbing technique—leaving your inner child abandoned, lost, and confused. No wonder why change or the unknown can leave most adults weary. They don’t know that a child is at the seat of their decision-making.
When I realized that my inner child was at the core of my anxiety and fears, everything changed for me. See, I realized that she needed to be cared for and looked after. She needed to know that life was safe and that she will be protected no matter what. This is why the anxiety that I carried since childhood remained with me for decades—because I was so disconnected from myself.
The beautiful thing about being an adult is that we can come in and care for our inner child like a parent would. We can give our inner child the things she didn’t receive growing up. We can make the conscious effort to reparent ourselves in a way we never experienced. When the child side of us, which is really just our soul, is feeling scared, we have a beautiful opportunity to connect with ourselves in a new way.
Connecting with your inner child is especially important if you are highly sensitive or experience big emotions. This connection to the child is a beautiful way to not fear emotions or life changes. Instead of numbing, you can learn about yourself and build up your confidence like never before. You will be able to handle anything life throws at you and know that you’ll always have your own back.
For those of us that are highly sensitive, we usually felt scary and big emotions when we were children. We didn’t know how to process the world around us and sometimes our parents didn’t know how to care for our sensitive nature. This led to us blaming ourselves, being insecure, and feeling anxious most of the time.
When I started my self-development journey and looked for ways to regulate my daily anxiety, I learned that my inner child needed attention. Since I never learned about anxiety or emotional regulation as a child, my coping mechanism of self-blame or numbing feelings away. This time, instead of running from my feelings, I decided to get to know her all over again.
I learned that when she feels safe, adult me also feels safe. When she knows that life is there to support her, adult me knows it too. When she knows that anxiety is an opportunity to further learn about herself and become confident, adult me knows it too. When she knows that she can always count on me for support, life opens up in magical ways.
After I started to honor her more, everything changed for me. I stopped blaming myself when things went differently than I expected. I stopped letting anxiety run the show and learned what it was trying to tell me. I started to thoroughly enjoy life and found the magic in every day, just like my inner child would. I honored my childlike curiosity and wonder for life and never looked back.
Now when life gets tough, because it inevitably will, I no longer am afraid. I know that I can handle whatever comes my way and come out stronger on the other side. I genuinely get excited about big changes because I know that life is always looking out for me. Connecting to my inner child was the best discovery I have ever made.
And now I want to pass on a powerful exercise so you can form this connection, too. You can start to learn about her and realize what she is needing from you. You can honor her and do things that bring her joy. You can parent her in a way you never got to experience yourself. It’s a beautiful opportunity to expand your life and consciousness.
Grab a journal and carve out 20 minutes to complete this exercise. You will be so happy you did.
Inner Child Reflection
1. Find a quiet place to sit and turn off any distractions. Take three deep breaths and sink into the present moment.
2. Bring up an image of yourself as a child, hold onto this image throughout the exercise.
3. Reflect on the below questions with your inner child, just like a normal conversation, and journal the response:
>> How does she feel right now?
>> What do you want her to know?
>> How can you support her?
>> How can you show her love?
>> What does she need from you to feel safe?
>> How can she feel more daily joy and love?
>> Parting words for her?
4. End the exercise by thanking her. Revisit this exercise anytime you are experiencing fear or worry.
The beauty of this exercise is that it’s so simple yet so powerful. When was the last time you even thought of yourself as a child? I bet you will be amazed at what you feel as you do this exercise. It’s my absolute favorite thing to do if I am having a tough day.
What lessons can you learn from your own inner child?