Within you lives the essence of the child you once were. This is referred to as the 'Inner Child.' Your body grows into an adult but the child essence in you remains intact.
Your inner child may be buried under layers of conditioning or deep rooted traumas. He or she may be in hiding. But the presence remains nevertheless.
If you have an active and alive inner child, please pat yourself on the back for nurturing this precious relationship.
However, if you feel disconnected from your inner child, there is hope! You can reclaim your relationship with him or her. One of the primary reasons for disconnection from the inner child is wounding. The process of growing up can leave many children wounded. Dysfunctional patterns in parenting and teaching practices are the most common factors behind inner child wounds.
This is not to blame any parent or teacher for everyone does their best, given their circumstances and the baggage of their own unhealed traumas. As a parent, I myself struggle at times and am constantly learning how to parent my child consciously. Numerous mistakes happen along the way. But I forgive myself and move on. The truth is that no matter how hard we try, almost all of us inflict some wounds on our children. We are human after all. Besides, we were raised differently. So, it takes time and effort for us to unlearn old ways and imbibe new ones. It was a similar scenario with our own caregivers too. So, we really cannot blame anyone for our wounds.
Types of Inner Child Wounds
Childhood wounds can range from mild to severe. While wounds caused by parental(or teacher) disapproval and authority may be at the lower end of the spectrum, wounds caused by abuse (mental, emotional, physical, verbal or sexual), parental separation, loss, illness and such severe traumas fall on the higher end.
No matter what the range of your personal trauma may be, if you wish to heal yourself and your inner child, the most important step is to be willing to release the past. Very often, it's easy to get so caught up in our stories that we'd rather make our trauma our identity than create a new empowered life for ourselves.
Inner Child Work
Inner Child Work
Once you make the choice to release the past, you can consider working one on one with a therapist who can help you through this process of inner child healing. You may also choose to be a part of inner child workshops/retreats where the group energy acts as a powerful catalyst for the healing process.
Inner child healing is a cathartic process. Part of the process is reliving the pain and agony you may have felt as a child. You feel the pain and heal it. Once you feel it completely, you are able to rise above it with a newfound strength and empowerment. Inner Child facilitators are trained to guide you through these processes. Once your inner child is healed, you will begin to see your parents, teachers and your entire childhood in a whole new light!
Inner child work is a very liberating experience. It is a must for anyone whose childhood traumas are holding them back from reaching their full potential or from creating a joyous life. However, the very first step is one's willingness to make a bold new choice to reclaim the beautiful inner child.
For now, just hug yourself, remember the child you once were and say to him or her, "I love you!" Do this everyday and you will find your inner child slowly come alive again. And for deeper healing, do consider taking an extensive inner child healing course.
Sending love to you and to your inner child!
Useful Resources for Inner Child Healing
Homecoming- Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Child by John Bradshaw.
Recovery of your Inner Child by Lucia Capacchione