YOUR INNER CHILD NEEDS TO FEEL SAFE & LOVED IN A CHAOTIC WORLD
If you were outside in the cold and a very young child who was scared and crying and was reaching up with little arms, you would likely bend down and pick them up to comfort them and soothe them with words. Why aren’t you doing that for yourself?
Inner child work is not just for people who struggle with big “T” trauma. This work is so important that there are entire psychological evidence-based interventions that are dedicated to that work and it can change your emotional responses that can feel out of control. Healing the little child inside of you is paramount to you stepping into the confident version of yourself.
There were likely times in your life as a child that were scary, troubling and, in some cases, terrifying. Connecting with your inner child will help you overcome most of your current self-sabotaging behaviors. Having a therapist who you can really connect with can be very helpful to release you from unhealthy coping mechanisms that leave you feeling worn out and frustrated.
Many therapists use stories, or narrative therapy, to help you. They may have you write a letter to your younger version to get back in touch prior to the trauma as a means to heal it. This is difficult but incredibly healing. Talking to your younger self is also very soothing, like “I see you” or “I love you.”
IT’S NOT SILLY
It may feel silly at first but no one else can talk to your younger self except you. For some, writing it out as if you are pen pals can be equally effective. You need to be your own hero.Using words paired with visualization or a visual prompt, like a photo of you as a child, can also help promote your healing. The goal is to go from hopeless to empowered.
I was recently having a conversation with a friend who was putting on a calm face to the outside world, yet we both knew she was struggling in very difficult ways.
Pretending to feel positive when you are struggling inside is a psychological conflict and doesn’t rest well with the body and mind. We often want to appear one way so that no one sees the pain going on internally. While this may work in the short term so that you can power through projects and challenges, it is very hard on the psyche.
TIME LIMITS HELP
Triggers can happen when you least expect them. When your inner child is screaming at you to pay attention, give them the time they needs. If the trigger feels overwhelming, give it a time limit but also give it your uninterrupted attention. Acknowledge it and get yourself to a place where you are not likely to be interrupted and set a time. Feel all the feels.
Your inner child needs attention; they are reaching up to you in desperation. Self-soothing mechanisms and grounding work require you to feel it and talk to it. Rubbing your hands together to generate heat and hold your palms over your eyes is one way to soothe yourself. Gently tapping your temples with your fingers with an alternating tap can also be calming. For further information on this form of tapping, consider YouTube videos on “Emotional Freedom Tapping.”
The point is not to ignore your inner child any longer; dive into it alone or with a therapist you trust. Healing your inner child can change the trajectory of your life and improve your relationships and help you feel more in control with what used to feel out of control emotional responses.