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Living the story of the inner child.
Do you feel stuck in life and unable to reach your goals?
Do you easily overreact and take small things personally without any real understanding of why?
Do you struggle with saying how you feel?
Do you people please and resent yourself for doing so?
We may feel we are grown up, but our inner child parts live alongside us on a daily basis. Without realising, we may be subconsciously aligned with stories of the past, which manifest into the story of our current lives.
Childhood wounds carried into adulthood include not being heard, not being seen, not feeling loved, not feeling good enough at school, not feeling popular, not feeling attractive…sound familiar?
What if you were subconsciously aligned with beliefs you held about yourself from the past and these beliefs were blocking the freedom of your future?
We can all experience painful experiences from within the family, such as not being noticed frequently, humiliation, not being heard or believed, or feeling abandoned or unwanted. Sometimes caregivers unintentionally cause emotional pain to their children, but these experiences deeply impact our adult lives today.
How can past experiences actively shape who we are today?
Maybe you were told that children are seen and not heard, so you are scared now to have a voice.
Maybe you frequently felt unwanted when adults wanted to have their time and now feel nervous meeting people or anxious a partner will find someone new.
Maybe you were humiliated by a parent in front of other people for something you did not do, and you carry a sense of shame and a fear of being seen in front of a group of people. Or you learned your needs were unimportant or embarrassing.
All of the above are general examples of how a childhood experience can manifest in a symptom or block in adult life.
Perhaps we do not remember consciously the experience (more often we will not know), but our inner child part still carries the burden and this is affecting our everyday lives.
>> Do you feel excessively nervous walking into a room?
>> Do you avoid social situations?
>> Do you use alcohol in social situations every time?
>> Do you worry your partner will cheat on you frequently?
>> Do you withhold from moving forward in life in fear of failure?
>> Are you overly sensitive to criticism?
Childhood parts can carry the burden of the painful experiences or trauma in the form of guilt and shame, which are the biggest destroyers of positive adult mental health. That part of you still feels that hurt (or shame). Although it has learned “coping” strategies to help it minimize that pain, the pain itself has not gone away.
Various symptoms of minimizing pain, guilt, and shame can include:
>> Food disorders
>> Poor boundaries
>> Social Anxiety
>> Hyper- focus, procrastination
>> Harsh inner critic and outer judge of others
>> Feeling disconnected from life (spectator of own life)
Self-Soothing and Compassion:
As adults, we are able to explore our inner landscape and connect to the inner part who carries the feelings of pain and shame. Once we witness the story of the child part we can reassure and support that part with what was missing at the time from the caregivers. Doing so can alleviate unconscious blocks that we as conscious adults have been experiencing.
Here is a simple exercise to tune into the energy of the child part:
Sit quietly somewhere comfortable. Close your eyes and bring awareness to the breath. Notice how the breath enters and leaves the body.
Move from judgement and analysis to curiosity. Settle into heart space awareness. Repeat mentally: I am curious, confident, calm, connected, and compassionate to whatever feelings arise.
Imagine yourself as a child, and welcome the child into your awareness from the heart space.
Look the child into the eyes and hold out your hands to them asking the following:
Where are you right now?
What is happening?
How are you feeling?
What do you need right now that you are not getting?
Receive the information with full compassion and no judgement. You may have words and actions of kindness to offer your inner child. Explain to your inner child they are no longer stuck in time; this is your world now with the adult you.
Breathe with the inner child and see how feelings, images, words arise into your awareness, and respond with love, reassurance, and compassion.
Finally bringing your child into your world, or placing them in a place where they are happy to be is a beautiful way of connection and promise of return.
Bring awareness back to breath and to the body before opening your eyes.
This is a gentle way of connecting with the inner child’s world and giving them words of encouragement, safety, and reassurance, which they did not have at the time. Checking in with the child regularly helps the feelings of isolation to transform into trust and connection. Using a professional therapist will allow you to travel deeper into your subconscious and upgrade powerfully the experience using psychotherapy and hypnosis.
Settling into heart peace awareness or Self Energy (IFS) allows us to experience rather than become expressions of feelings. Although our parts (i.e. addiction ) serve to protect us from pain, they can be extreme and ultimately cause more harm long-term than good.
One of the more common protector parts can come in the form of the inner critic, which has usually absorbed the energy of a caregiver in a moment of punishment or reprimand. Do you often tell yourself that you are not good enough, attractive enough, will fail, are not able enough, not popular enough? This part is actually trying to save you from feeling unloved and a like a failure.
It uses harsh language to dissuade you from making the efforts and then be disappointed if it doesn’t go according to plan. It was born from an intense feeling of rejection, sadness, disappointment, or rejection, and will do anything it can to prevent you from reexperiencing that again.
However, repeated experiencing of such a critic can result in low self-esteem, low mood, procrastination, eating disorders, and so on. Making a journal of such thoughts and your responses can be helpful in tracking their emergence and how you can change your response to them. Parts will learn to trust you in time and release some of their protector roles.
Talking to the inner critic:
Close your eyes and bring awareness to the breath. Notice how the breath enters and leaves the body. Move from judgement and analysis to curiosity.
Settle into heart space awareness. Repeat mentally: I am curious, confident, calm, connected, and compassionate to whatever feelings arise.
Sense the energy of the inner critic inside you inner landscape and notice where it is present in the body. Give space to the feeling and breathe with curiosity.
Ask the part what it is afraid of if it doesn’t have the job of inner critic. Ask the part about its story and its age.
Reassure the part that you are okay to handle rejection and this is part of being an adult.
Show the part all the wins you have had in life no matter how small. Thank the part and reassure that you will check in again.
This is a gentle exploration of body-centred therapy and can be taken much deeper with a somatic therapist or hypnotherapist.
Finally rewriting our adult experiences from a new positive perspective allows us to deeply connect with our strength, courage, and determination when times have been difficult. This can also feed new information through to listening parts and offer them the reassurance that you are no longer a vulnerable child. Instead you are a creator not a spectator of your own life.
When you can rewrite the story focussing on your strength and success, you set yourself free from so many of those old blocks and limitations.