Inner child work is a powerful psychological spiritual practice that allows us to tune into the child-like aspect that we all have, and start to heal our deep-seated childhood wounds.
On the flip-side inner child work can open up us back up to the awe and wonder of the world that we gradually lose as we grow older.
By becoming aware of our inner child, we see the underlying cause of so much of our unconscious behaviors as adults, and can begin to shift them accordingly.
If you have never done inner child work before, or aren’t sure if you’re doing it right I want to show you how to develop a consistent practice. This is a process of reparenting where you become aware of this fragmented aspect of yourself and can integrate it.
What Is Your Inner Child?
We all have an inner child within us, it is the part of our psyche that retains that childlike sense of wonder, innocence and creativity. Our inner child can also contain our fears, traumas and natural gifts that we have repressed in adulthood.
The inner child is the part of us that surfaces when we feel like our needs are not being met by another person. When we feel unheard or unseen it can trigger uncomfortable memories from childhood, and make us act in a way that doesn’t represent our adult selves.
Most people are not in tune with this inner child, and so continue to project it out when they feel threatened. They can walk through life with this repressed inner child, and bring these same patterns into their adult relationships.
I want to go over an exercize that will provide a safe space to work with your inner child. Be aware that this is intense work – you may uncover wounds you haven’t addressed in decades, proceed only when you are ready.
Signs Your Inner Child Needs Healing
- You blow up easily in confrontation
- You become quickly irritated, angry, and frustrated
- You often feel ignored or misunderstood
- Your relationships feel like battles
- You’re a people pleaser and lack strong boundaries
- You aren’t comfortable stating your needs
- You have trouble expressing emotions
- You excessively criticize and put yourself down
- You avoid conflict completely or gravitate towards it
This list is only to be used as a rough guide, as the ways our childhood can affect our adulthood patterns is endless. There are probably some examples on this list that instantly stick out to you – those are the ones you focus on.
We ALL have some level of inner child healing to do, although it is more apparent for some. Inner child healing isn’t only necessary when we have experienced overt trauma, as childhood wounds can also manifest in many subtle but insidious ways.
Observe Your Triggers
One of the quickest ways to identify and begin healing your inner child is through observing your triggers. A trigger is something seemingly mundane that causes you to have a heightened negative emotional response.
Our triggers show us where there is still healing to do. They also show us where our boundaries lie, and what are needs are so that we can communicate them better. Dealing with triggers is all about awareness first, and then clear communication.
For example, one of my biggest inner child triggers is people moving my stuff without asking. Through inner exploration I found this trigger highlighted a deep scarcity mindset, I was always worried that the little I had would be taken from me.
I found that even when people had good intentions I would become hyper-vigilant and overprotective, when there was really no need to be. I would immediately go into a panicked state, feeling like my small semblance of order had been messed with.
To heal this I had to start placing firmer boundaries, while discerning when and where these were necessary. Then I had to address the deeper wound – which was a deep lack mindset. Any time I started thinking in terms of lack I would gently redirect myself to a feeling of abundance.
When you find yourself in a situation where you are feeling irritated, ignored, or dismissed ask yourself “What does this remind me of?” This simple but powerful question will get you thinking about how your present behaviors are being influenced by your past.
Inner Child Meditation
I use a variation of this meditation for past life integration and connecting with my shadow self. There’s a power in pairing visualization with intention, and creating a mental space wherein heavy emotions can be safely released.
This meditation will allow you to release those emotions in a safe environment. Before you start this meditation/visualization it can be helpful to reference a childhood photo of yourself to get the image fresh in your mind.
Start by visualizing yourself in a peaceful room, forest clearing or some other space that makes you feel comfortable. Incorporate all five senses as best as you can, noticing the sights, sounds and feelings that flow over you as you take in this environment.
In the center of this space imagine a bench with two chairs at either side facing each other. This is where you and your inner child will sit down and converse. Once you have built this space up in your mind you can move onto the next step.
Visualize your child self (inner child) either walking up a pathway or through a door into the space you are in. Don’t worry if the visualization isn’t perfect yet, just do the best you can.
Inner Child Affirmations:
Then come face to face with your inner child and hug them tightly. You can recite some affirmations such as: ⠀
- “I am here”
- “I see you”
- “I’m listening”
- “You are safe now”
Spend as much time as you need. Comforting, affirming, conversing or giving advice. At this point you can allow any heavy childhood memories and experiences to surface. You may feel angry, upset, you may even cry. Just let it all flow and be released from your system. ⠀
You can then visualize your inner child filling with white light. Feel them dissolving into you, becoming fully integrated. When you come back to yourself just take a few minutes to process it all, and then write your experience down. ⠀
The first time you try this exercize the visuals will probably be unclear, and you will likely have trouble maintaining the space in your mind. Try your best and work with what you’ve got. With practice this will become as easy as walking into a physical room.
Treat this space just as you would any sacred space you work in. As you revisit it in future sessions you’ll start building up a familiar energy here, one of complete safety and security. This is an inner sanctuary you should feel comfortable retreating to.
Signs Your Inner Child is Healing
- You are more introspective and less reactive
- You are more aware of your triggers
- You communicate clearer
- You aren’t as influenced by outside judgement
- You can set clear boundaries
- Your self love is growing
- You aren’t afraid to be playful
- You are filled with a renewed sense of awe
Remember that the inner child is not just a wounded aspect, it also contains the positive beliefs and habits we picked up in childhood. The inner child is also the aspect of ourselves that is filled with endless awe and playful energy.
When you approach inner child healing make sure you embrace both the light and dark sides. The idea is to bring balance to all aspects of yourself, and integrate those parts you have repressed. Take things slowly and do the best you can – this can be intense work.