We have all experienced some sort of suffering, trauma or emotionally painful experiences throughout our childhood whether it was physical, mental or emotional. These painful experiences create emotional pain and if not processed emotionally will create the ‘wounded child’ often known in adult life as your ‘inner child’.
It is from these unresolved negative childhood experiences that all of your core beliefs are formed – the negative beliefs I mean.
These negative beliefs filter how you see the world and will influence your thinking and behavioral patterns which can play out later on in life as abandonment issues, toxic relationships, codependency issues and so on (check out the list below).
From my personal experience, I now understand that negative beliefs are not held in the mind as most people think, they are held in the painful emotions. This is why it’s crucial that you learn to process these painful emotions so that we can release these negative beliefs and heal your childhood pain.
What is inner child healing?
Inner child healing is a type of therapy focused on healing childhood traumas that were left unresolved and that are still affecting a person’s life in adulthood.
Inner child healing seeks to resolve these inner conflicts caused by negative childhood experiences, in other words childhood trauma, so that we can break negative patterns, heal addictions, stop self-sabotage and basically live a happier, healthier and more fulfilling life.
Inner child healing has to do with feeling the emotions we were not allowed to feel as children, acknowledging the truth of what really happened, forgiving our parents, reparenting our inner child and lastly forgiving and learning to love ourselves.
As we heal our inner child wounds, we naturally open up to receiving more love, feeling more joy, and slowly starting to allow our true authentic selves to emerge.
One of the first things clients tell me when they come to see me is “I had a happy childhood”. I have lost count the number of times I’ve heard this from clients who suffered emotional abuse and even physical abuse as children. If you haven’t read my previous blog on healing the inner child and why most techniques don’t work, please read it before or after reading this. The inner child healing exercises shared on here is just to get you started in connecting with those inner child wounds so that you can process some of those old emotional wounds you have been suppressing for years. It’s really just scratching the surface.
Signs you have Inner Child Wounds:
- You are reactive (often reacting in anger or rage outbursts)
- You attract toxic relationships
- You are in a co-dependent relationship
- You are depressed
- You suffer from anxiety
- You are a people-pleaser
- You suffer from suicidal ideation
- You self-harm
- You struggle with your weight
- You have an emotional relationship with food (i.e. bulimia, anorexia)
- You struggle with addictions (not just drugs but think shopping, sex, porn, exercise, binge-watching Netflix)
- You fear being abandoned
- You feel that there’s something inherently wrong with you
- You have low self-worth
- You are self-critical and harsh on yourself
- You hate yourself
- You constantly sacrifice yourself for others
- You struggle to express your emotions (you may even fear it)
- You don’t trust people
- You fear intimacy and getting close to people
- You have a need to be seen
- You constantly seek acknowledgement from others
- You are afraid of speaking your truth
- You don’t want to take responsibility for your life
- You’re not happy and it’s not because you lack anything on the outside
The list goes on…
Below are some inner child healing activities for you to start connecting with and healing some of those inner child wounds.
10 Ways to start healing your inner child
Take a memory you would like to work with and imagine yourself at that age. Close your eyes and connect to yourself at that age. Talk to this inner you, ask yourself how you felt and give that inner child of yours space and time to express him or herself and simply listen.
2. Write your inner child a letter
This is similar to the above but through writing. Pick a traumatic event in your childhood and write a letter to that inner child reassuring him/her, acknowledging her emotions and basically telling her everything you would have wanted to hear from your parent or someone you love back then.
If emotions come up as you write, please take your time to feel them.
3. Look at old photos of yourself as a child
Get a picture of yourself as a child and take some time to simply sit with this little you. See if you can create a connection to this inner child, notice if any emotions come up for you or perhaps any memories. As you work through your inner child healing, carry this picture around with you as a reminder and to create a connection with your inner child.
4. Reparent your inner child
Reparenting your inner child is all about being the parent you wished you had as a child. Tell your inner child that you will be looking after them from now on, that they have nothing to worry about. Reparenting your inner child is about nurturing your inner child with love and care and communicating the guidance you needed back then.
Any time you feel yourself about to act out or getting triggered, take time to connect with your inner child, try to understand them and acknowledge their emotions. Make them feel safe in even having emotions and give them all the space and time they need to feel them.
You can do this through visualization or even by speaking aloud to them while looking at your photo or yourself as a child. You are basically guiding the wounded little you throughout her healing process.
If you weren’t allowed to really play as a child, this is for you. You may be surprised to hear that not everyone experienced playfulness throughout their childhood, some children were too busy looking after their parent’s needs which robbed them of their childhood care-free stage.
So take time weekly to allow your inner child to play. Allow yourself to be unconcerned about your adult responsibilities for a little while so you can experience the joy, happiness and laughter that comes from our natural human state. Play really is what will keep you young and make you feel alive.
6. Get Creative
Choose a creative childlike activity such as painting, colouring, singing, playing an instrument, or even dancing, and simply get creative with abandon. There is no agenda here to be perfect or to create a masterpiece, this is about having fun and creative expression. Give your inner child the freedom to get creative without judgment. Feel and create in whatever way that may bring you joy and excitement.
7. Go get ice cream on a cone
Take your inner child on a date. Whether it’s getting ice cream on a cone or going to the cinema to watch a cartoon, perhaps make a list of all the things you wished you could have done as a child, or that you loved to do as a child, and go out and do that. Give your inner child permission to be and experience life with a childlike wonder. Let the world be magical again and immerse yourself in it simply in experiencing.
8. Do what you used to LOVE as a child
What did you love to do as a child? Flying kites? Riding your bike? Climbing trees?
We all have our own unique gifts and talents or activities we simply love to do. Doing these things is what brings fulfillment to the Soul and it’s important we continue to do them as an adult. We don’t necessarily have to quit our jobs to pursue this, but at least keep it as a hobby.
When we do more of what we love, we feel more joy, fulfillment and happiness. We feel more energized and enjoy being alive.
9. Feel your emotions
This is really the key to healing your inner child’s wounds. When emotions come up while doing any of these exercises, the most important thing you can do is to sit and allow yourself to feel your emotions. Having said that, you may have built up so many protective layers that you may not be able to feel those core childhood wounds. I do recommend you seek help on your healing journey.
10. Get professional help
If you want to dive deep when it comes to your healing, working with a healing coach will help you get to the root cause of your childhood traumas as well as get results faster.
I have come to understand that my ability to perceive and understand my client’s suffering, and to help them access and process their core emotional wounds, comes from the depth of the inner emotional work and healing I’ve done on myself. I do not analyze through the lens of psychological concepts, rather I perceive very clearly the emotional dynamics that took place in your childhood and am able to feel the depth of your emotional wounds because I’ve gone to those depths myself and I can take you there safely.
It doesn’t matter how much intellectual knowledge you have about psychology or how many self-help books you’ve read, if you’re unwilling to see the truth and feel your emotions, you will not heal.
If my work resonates with you, I would be honored to accompany you on your inner child healing journey.
All techniques and information I share are considered coaching, self-help or complementary therapies. I am not a licensed psychologist, psychiatrist or medical doctor, I have a degree in Health Sciences in Holistic & Complementary Therapies. Everything I write and talk about comes mainly from my own experience in healing myself and the tools, techniques, and resources I learned throughout my own inner journey.
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