We all have what is called an inner child: the aspect of our psyche that still retains that child-like sense of awe and wonder of the world.
The inner child is also the part of us that contains all of the programming, patterns and unconscious beliefs we picked up about our self and the world around us as children.
Inner child work is a process of connecting with this aspect of ourselves and reparenting it. It’s bringing the inner child to light so that it no longer manifests at times when we feel unheard, unseen or unloved.
In this post I want to go over four things that your inner child needs to hear. Four key affirmations that I feel we all need to hear from time to time. In doing this internal work we can grow into the mature adults so many of us aspire to be, but feel we fall short of.
1. I’m here now
The foundation of inner child healing is shifting from the wounded inner child to the self-realized adult. Of course this is not a linear journey, but one with many ups and downs. This simply works as a starting reference.
“Be the person you needed when you were younger”
When I think of this affirmation it reminds me of the above quote, because that is exactly what we are doing. Many of us grew up in households where our parental figures simply weren’t there for us, sometimes on a emotional level and other times on a physical level.
As someone who grew up in foster care this is especially prominent as my birth parents weren’t around physically, and my foster parents weren’t there mentally or emotionally. At times it can be feel the wound goes twice as deep because of this.
As we grow we have to assume the role of parents for ourselves. Even if our parents provided a stable loving environment for us, the work has to shift at some point. Do not be mistaken, you can come from an amazing family home and still feel you need extra affirmation at times.
2. You are safe
It would be an understatement to say that how we are raised as a children impacts how safe we feel as adults. For many of us safety feels like an elusive concept, whether we are talking about physical safety, or feeling at home within ourselves.
This goes all the way from having a stable home to live in on a physical level, to feeling safe in expressing our needs and emotions. As adults this means validating the emotions that we feel, and providing a space where we can adequately work through them.
3. You are heard
So many of us grew up feeling unheard and unseen. Most of the time our parents try their best, but only have the tools they were given. We come to realize that our parents also have an inner child that feels desperately unheard, they simply didn’t know how to shift this for their own children.
This is an especially common wound for those who grew up very intuitive and emotionally mature. It’s likely that you were skilled at picking up on things, but didn’t feel safe enough to express themselves.
In adulthood it’s our job to rectify this by setting firm boundaries and making our voices heard. It can be as simple as saying “no” with conviction, or declining an invitation without feeling guilty. In affect, whenever we place a boundary as an adult we are giving voice to that unheard inner child.
4. You are loved
Last but by no means least, you are loved. For many people this can be a weird affirmation to get their head around, as we assume that this statement is only valid from an external source.
Feeling a lack of love is the foundation of the wounded inner child. This can come in so many forms and encompasses all of the different affirmations we talked about above. Feeling unheard, unseen or unsafe can all have us feeling unloved as children.
This serves as a great opportunity to examine how your parents expressed love, and the subtle ways that could have manifested. Oftentimes our parents express love in ways that isn’t the expected emotional closeness.
Then we can take this reflection and turn it back on ourselves, examining how we show love as adults. It’s easy to identify how our parents taught us to love by looking at how we express love in our adult relationships. From looking at how we interact with our friends to romantic partners, the patterns we picked up in childhood become clear as day.
Further reading: Inner Child Healing Guide
What does your inner child need to hear today?