There are many people in your life you may feel the need to make amends with. We learn that healing broken relationships brings peace and is a sign of being a bigger person. However, this advice often leaves out the most important person, your inner child. In this post, I cover why healing your inner child is the key to happiness and how you can begin the process.
What is Inner Child Healing and Do I Need It?
If you once wore diapers, ate strained peas, or played in the mud, you have an inner child who needs healing. You were a sponge absorbing the good, the bad, and everything in between. Quite the opposite of running on autopilot in adulthood. You didn’t turn a certain age and become a separate entity from your childhood self. In fact, much of her/him is still fairly easy to see. If you’ve ever thought someone was behaving childishly you were witnessing their inner child taking over the wheel.
Healing old wounds from your developmental years is also referred to as shadow work, but no matter the name, the mission is still the same. Just as I focus on in my coaching, the ultimate goal is building self-awareness. When you embark on the journey of self-awareness, meeting with your inner child is essential. Why? Because just as you would be at a loss stepping over ancient artifacts rather than examine them to gain knowledge of the past, your inner child holds valuable gems about your past.
I explain to my clients and community members that we all have a unique internal processing system. It’s partly how siblings can grow up in the same household and develop completely different attitudes, values, and behaviors. There will be experiences that seem silly to call a trauma that still cut into a deeper layer of our awareness triggering deep emotions.
My friend Ana Canon writes that her first-grade teacher gave everyone cute pencils reflecting their personalities. She noticed other girls getting ones that read “ballerina” “princess” and “smart cookie.” Hers read “born to talk.” That coupled with “talks too much in class” on multiple report cards made her feel like she was disruptive and annoying. It led to shame and a habit of not making herself heard in adulthood. These traumas (referred to as little T traumas) may not be life-threatening, they certainly leave an impression. Sound familiar?
How and Why Does My Inner Child Act Out?
Your inner child has the same basic needs that we all have. To be seen and heard. To quote Jim Morrison, “The most loving parents and relatives commit murder with smiles on their faces. They force us to destroy the person we really are: a subtle kind of murder.” You can add educational institutions to that list.
Many of us grew up in a culture that told us to be seen, not heard. My youngest memory of betrayal may sound laughable. My mother refused to believe I was uncomfortable overly bundled in my snowsuit as a kid (roughly 5-6 years of age). Voicing my discomfort with most things was usually met with “Oh, you’re fine.”
Another more significant incident occurred when I told my mother a family member made me uncomfortable (a bit too touchy-feely). My mother respected my wishes to not engage in family functions. My grandmother responded, saying I must be mistaken. Not only did that destroy my relationship with my grandmother, but I also have reoccurring dreams of pleading for my mother to listen to me to no avail. As a result, one of my triggers (anything that activates your inner child wound) is when I feel my husband fails to take me seriously.
I’ll bet that there are many instances where your inner child cries out for your attention. Some places to look for hints of your inner child acting out are:
- Which behaviors do you judge yourself and others the most for?
- What makes you feel defensive or shut down when interacting with others?
- What’s your role in your relationships? (The fixer, the secret).
- What types of partners do you tend to attract? (narcissists, emotionally unavailable, needy).
Tips To Start Your Inner Child Healing
There are many ways you can begin to repair your relationship with your inner child right now. If you take the self-healing path, reflective journaling is an undervalued asset in any personal growth. Find a quiet space where you can think as far back as you can remember and write down whatever stands out to you. Read this post for ideas on how to journal for great results.
You can work with a coach or join a community of like-minded women looking to break through their false truth and limiting belief systems. Ambitious Women Rize is an option that’s off of social media. Within this personal growth and development community, there are groups for inner child healing, recovering from toxic relationships (family, romantic, and work environments), and more.
The community is unlike any other. It offers group coaching, monthly goal-setting meetups, and accountability check-ins, even at the free membership level. Spots are booking quickly at the free level so be sure to reserve your spot today.
Working with a coach or therapist who specializes in shadow work is another great option for individual attention. No matter which option is best for you, learning to heal your inner child is the best investment you can make in your happiness.