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How to heal your inner child

Ah, the inner child—that magical place in all of us where joy, wonderment and creativity flow freely. It’s also where we can get stuck if we’ve had a traumatic past. Adults are taught to ignore or repress their feelings to function in society. But when it comes to healing from trauma, it helps to give your inner child some attention and care. Here are some techniques for how to do just that:

Recognise what you’re feeling.

When you are feeling something, it’s important first to understand what that feeling is. For example, if someone says something that upsets you or makes you upset, ask yourself:

  • What am I feeling? How do I know it’s anger?
  • How does it feel in my body? Do any parts of my body tense up when I’m angry? Is there a knot in my stomach or chest? Am I breathing differently than usual?
  • What is the difference between being angry and acting on the anger (i.e., yelling at someone)? Does the feeling fade away in a few minutes, or does it stay longer than usual with each day that passes by without relief from whatever caused me to be angry in the first place?

Embrace the feeling.

When you’re feeling a lot of shame, it’s natural to want to push the feeling away. But this isn’t helpful. You can’t get rid of your inner child, and trying to push her away creates more shame. Instead, embrace your inner child. Treat her like a friend or a small child who needs comfort and care from you, her parent figure in this situation (you).

Try not to think about how shameful it feels when she cries; instead, just let her cry until she stops crying—and then some more if she needs more time than that! It’s important that you take care of yourself when dealing with feelings like these:

  • Take breaks between sessions if necessary—baths are especially good for this purpose
  • Go for walks outside (if weather permits)
  • Take naps whenever possible (if possible)
  • Read books that make you feel better

Name it.

  • What is the feeling?
  • What is the cause of the feeling?
  • What do you want to do with the feeling?
  • What does it feel like in my body?
  • How does looking at this emotion make me feel on a scale from 0 to 10, where 0 means “bad” and 10 means “good” (if possible)

There are only two rules for naming your feelings: First, make sure that you can name them accurately. Second, don’t judge yourself for having them. There’s no need to be hard on yourself or criticise how you’re feeling; just observe these emotions as they come up in your life and notice how they affect your actions and behaviours moving forward.

Talk to yourself.

It’s time to get real with yourself.

When you talk to yourself, do it like you’d talk to your best friend—as if you care about what they’re feeling. When we communicate in this manner, it is easier to hear what we are saying and how we feel.

Ask questions like: “How am I doing?” “How can I improve?” “What do I need right now?”

Imagine your inner child’s needs being met.

Inner children need to feel safe, loved, and understood. If you can’t imagine what your inner child needs to feel safe and loved, imagine that some part of you knew exactly what they needed—that would be an excellent starting point. If this isn’t possible for you, it’s okay! You can still work on healing your inner child by imagining that someone else is meeting this need for them.

You can heal from the traumas of the past with some creativity and compassion for yourself.

It’s important to understand that you can heal and that it’s possible for everyone. You may think this isn’t true for you because it doesn’t feel possible in your case, but trust me—you’re not alone. Over 90% of people have experienced trauma at some point in their life! It’s important to realize that there is no right or wrong way to do this; the only requirement is to allow ourselves time and space (and maybe a therapist if needed) to explore our feelings about childhood experiences and move forward as adults.

Let me be clear: Healing does not mean forgetting what happened or pretending like nothing happened at all; healing means being able to acknowledge those painful memories as part of who we are today without letting them define us forevermore into adulthood simply because they happened when we were kids.

It’s good to know that you’re not alone in your journey to healing. We’ve all been there and done that, so it’s nothing ordinary. I hope these tips help you on your path towards healing and self-love!

Inner child work is a different avenue from traditional talk therapy around trauma. If you are curious or ready to try a different way, reach out today. Let’s walk together and get in touch with your inner child.