Upon doing my research on healing your inner child, I discovered something I’d never realized: how badly I needed to do this for myself. I read story after story about other people who have gone through this unique healing process and were brave enough to share their past experiences as a child that still affect them today. I found my own inner child staring back at me.
As I was reading these stories of all the different people from all walks of life on healing your inner child – some of them tragic from having suffered at the hands of abusive parents. At the root of it all is the same hurt; the same emotional baggage weighing on my shoulders that I have carried with me into my adult life.
The Feeling Of Unworthiness
The feeling of constantly having to prove myself. The loneliness. The depression. Being too hard on myself. Sabotaging myself. Isolating myself. Hating myself. All the while, constantly striving to find love in all the wrong places.
These are feelings that, unlike my own story, are not unique to me. We all experience these feelings on some level throughout our lives, and that is what binds us together as human beings.
What we all want…
At the end of the day, we all want acceptance and to feel deserving of love in spite of our imperfections. The irony is that no matter how different we may seem, or isolated we may feel, we are all the same. Our race, gender, sexual orientation, decisions, and past do not confine us to a simple label in the work you must do for healing your inner child.
We all experience hurt and we all need to heal the inner child.
Much of the hurt we carry around inside of ourselves stems back to our childhood. What happens to us as we’re growing and developing shapes who we become as adults. When something negative happens to us during that process, it becomes a part of the mold that we take. However, that is not the only reason that the inner child inside of us can be calling out for help.
We could have had amazing childhoods with amazing parents. We could have been brought up in nice homes, safe neighborhoods, good schools, and feel lucky about how we were raised. But we’re still hurting and don’t fully understand why, or how to overcome that pain.
The Answer to Healing Your Inner Child is Actually Simple
Sometimes, the choices we make don’t align with who our inner child is. Or maybe something bad happened to us as we were coming into adulthood, that shocked or scared our inner child into hiding in a dark corner, never having experienced something so horrible.
As you can see, there are different ways our inner child can be suffering without us even realizing it. Luckily for all of us, there are 9 steps we can take that may heal that part of ourselves, so we can finally let go of that pain we have been carrying around on our shoulders for so long.
Give Your Inner Child Permission to Heal | Kristin Folts | TEDxOcala
Give yourself permission to walk down memory lane as you talk with your inner child about your childhood. What was it like? How has it influenced you? At this moment, give your inner child permission to heal as you walk down memory lane and begin to heal specific pain points from your childhood.
Here are five things you can say to yourself to bring peace, empathy, and love into your healing journey.
- I give you permission to heal
- I give you permission to forgive yourself and others
- I honor our journey
- Thank you
- I love you, Parent coach and adoption advocate.
This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedx
VIDEO: Inner Child Meditation
Dr. Nicole LePera is a Holistic Psychologist who believes that mental wellness is for everyone. She evolved her more traditional training from Cornell University and The New School to one that acknowledges the connection between the mind and body.
*Make sure that when you do this, you have at least 30 minutes to an hour to yourself, a pen/paper handy, and a peaceful, relaxing atmosphere.
The first step to healing your inner child is to acknowledge that (s)he is there inside of you, buried deep under all of this emotional baggage. Scared and neglected for years, maybe even decades.
Take some deep breaths, 4 seconds, 4 seconds out. Clear your mind completely by focusing on following your breath in through your nose, down into your lungs, filling them up completely, then released fully back out of your mouth out into the world.
Do this as long as it takes to come to a peaceful, relaxed state, free of any wandering thoughts of what happened to you today. Let go of worry about any plans you may have for the future, just for this moment. Be here, now.
Then, acknowledge your inner child. Give him/her your full attention (they deserve it).
Picture them in your mind’s eye at whatever state they may be in. They may be glad and excited to be acknowledged. They may be scared of or worried about the attention. Just feel your way into healing your inner child, and whatever comes into your mind is what you are meant to feel.
Now that you’ve acknowledged your inner child’s presence, they probably have something to say that you need to hear. It may not be easy facing this, but it is all a part of the healing your inner child process. In order to overcome our problems, we need to face them head-on, without fear, in order to resolve them.
So listen to what comes up in your mind when you acknowledge your inner child. Pay close attention to these thoughts. They may start out as memories of your childhood, taking you back to a time when life was much simpler and you were trying to understand the world around you.
They may take you back to particular events that have happened to you that were either cherished, happy memories long forgotten, or past traumas that have been repressed.
They may be forcing you to remember who you really are deep down, before the mistakes you made, before anybody hurt you or broke your heart. Listen to any thoughts or feelings calling out to you and don’t hold back. It can be painful reliving the past or realizing harsh truths, but it is necessary for this important healing your inner child process.
3. Step back
Okay, the hard part’s over. You have successfully felt your way deep down into the depths of your soul. This next step is taking a step back mentally from all of those thoughts and feelings you have just experienced.
In NLP, this is called dissociating and is an effective technique for healing childhood programming. Imagine pushing those thoughts back at a distance so that you can observe them, but not feel them anymore. Instead of being in the midst of your thoughts and memories, you become an observer of them. Aware of them, but not controlled by them.
4. Shift your perspective
You have cleared your mind, connected with healing your inner child, and take a step back. Now is a good time to shift your perspective on those thoughts and feelings you have just experienced. You might realize that you are not your past or your mistakes. You are not what has happened to you – you are much, much more than that.
If you have been hurt in the past, allow yourself to move on and heal from it. Whatever happened to you may have been months, years, or decades ago. Now is the time to release yourself from the hold it has had on you, push it back, and look at these memories from an outsider’s perspective.
If cherished memories from your childhood come up, take a moment to appreciate them and who you were as a kid, so full of wonder, excitement, and imagination. Your new perspective as you begin healing your inner child might be how incredibly lucky you feel to have these memories to hold on to no matter what happens in the future.
These are the kinds of memories that you should be focusing on, not the negative ones. Take the time to explore different perspectives other professionals have for healing your inner child in order to gain a newfound understanding of your past.
With this new perspective of your past, maybe you realize that you have been holding on to the anger or pain that someone has caused you. The most powerful thing you can do in healing your inner child is to move on from that pain and truly forgive whoever hurt you for what they did.
Holding on to that anger is like drinking poison and expecting them to feel pain when in reality you are only hurting yourself. It can be hard to forgive someone for what they have done, but it is the only way to truly move on from it.
If you are angry at yourself for making a mistake, it is also important that you learn how to forgive yourself. It may be easier said than done, but it is possible. Forgiveness is such a powerful tool, yet one of the most difficult in the healing your inner child process. If you need help, here are the 12 steps to forgiving yourself that you can take that may help.
Going through this emotional healing your inner child process may feel like a roller coaster ride, but your inner child is probably thanking you for doing this. All of these steps are taking you back to your true self, which is who you were before life happened to you.
Healing these wounds inside of you is creating more room for your inner child to finally step forward into a new perspective in your life.
Now is the time to recall your inner child back into your heart. Allow yourself to feel their presence fully, and try to hold onto that feeling as you go about your day.
Acceptance is the ability to look back on your life and who you are now, and not feel the need to change anything. Life is a crazy ride for all of us and perfection doesn’t exist. Accepting your past won’t allow it to both you anymore. Accepting yourself as you are right now will allow you to love yourself and begin healing your inner child unconditionally.
Now that you have finished recalling your inner child back into your life, you probably don’t want to hurt them again (otherwise that means going through this healing your inner child process again). From now on, try to make choices that align with them, and be conscious of their vulnerability. Protect them like you would want someone protecting you when you were a kid.
9. Look forward
Take your eyes off the rearview mirror. With your inner child awake and safe inside of you, embrace the chance to look forward to the future with bright eyes. Try to have more fun in your life, see the beauty in everyday things, and be more spontaneous.
Go on more healing your inner child adventures. Spend money on more experiences and less on material things. Love often and without condition.