In part 1 of this article, we went over how negative experiences from our childhood has lead to us having unhealed wounds in our adulthood. We also discussed the 22 ways you can tell that you may have unhealed wounds.
Now it’s time to move onto the fun part – that is, the healing part!
The importance of healing your inner child
When we nurture our unhealed wounds from childhood, we are “re-parenting” the childlike part of ourselves. We are telling our inner child that it’s okay, that she’s not in danger, and that we haven’t forgotten about her. Okay, I know it sounds super hippy-dippy and New Age-y, but TRUST ME, it will make such a huge difference in your life! Besides, the alternative is much worse.
If we ignore the fact that our inner child has wounds (which a lot of us do) and if we don’t give our inner child the nurturing and attention it needs (which a lot of us don’t), we’ll keep performing the same negative behaviours over and over and over in our life. And it will just make us feel worse and worse about ourselves.
Too often, instead of giving our inner child the attention, encouragement, and support that it yearns for, we put her down and criticize her. We look in the mirror and lament about how much weight we’ve gained or how “ugly” we are. We scold ourselves if we eat a little bit too much, if we don’t do something “perfectly”, or if we say something “wrong” in a social situation. We tell ourselves that our partner is going to leave us, that we’re worthless, that we’re a failure.
We need to stop putting our inner child down.
It’s time to re-parent that forgotten part of ourselves. It’s time to revisit the unmet needs, irrational fears, unsolved questions, suppressed emotions, lost enthusiasm, and forgotten creativity. Our inner child is and always has been there, and she’s crying out at us for the guidance that was lost along the way.
12 ways to heal and reconnect with your inner child
1) Apologize for neglecting your inner child
You need to acknowledge and tell yourself that you’re sorry for disregarding your inner child for so long. This is the first step in getting a dialogue between you and her started back up again!
2) Remind yourself how wonderful you are
Stop focusing on your flaws and all the things “wrong” with you. Every day, write down three things that you love about yourself. It could be anything from your ability to make other people laugh to your Minnie Mouse-shaped birthmark on your foot!
3) Be mindful of (read: CENSOR) your inner critic
Remember – just because you’re an adult doesn’t mean the child you once were is gone. Look at a photo of yourself as a child and realize that whenever you say hurtful things to yourself, you are saying those hurtful things to that vulnerable child in the photograph. I know, it’s sad – but it’s true.
4) Find a safe place
Make sure you have a physical space where you can just hide away from the world for a while and let your inner child’s thoughts and imagination run free. Maybe it’s your favourite cafe, maybe it’s a spot in the forest, or maybe it’s in the corner of your closet!
5) Pay attention to your feelings
Ask yourself throughout the day, “how am I feeling right now?” (*spoiler*: the answer you get is from the voice of your inner child! She loves when you ask her this question). Keep in mind: the most important part of this is taking how she responds seriously.
6) Tell yourself you have nothing to feel ashamed about
There’s no need to hold onto shame or regret of things that happened in the past. You’re a human, you’re learning, and you will make mistakes (because that’s what humans do). Just let it go and make sure your inner child knows that you forgive her. Trust me, this will make her VERY giddy to hear!
7) Remind yourself that you’re not at fault
As we’ve learned, a lot of how you behave isn’t because of you, but because of your environment. Go easier on yourself – a lot of it’s not even your fault! Think about it, would you blame a child this much? Likely not!
FYI – this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work on bettering yourself, it just means you shouldn’t do it from a place of blame.
8) Rediscover a forgotten passion
Did you love making art when you were a child? Grab some coloured pencils and get drawing! Don’t worry about it being “good” or not. Your inner child doesn’t care about those sorts of things.
9) Do ‘childlike’ things
Reconnect with the little things that brought you joy as a kid. Maybe you loved a particular type of sugary cereal – buy it and have it for breakfast every now and then! Maybe you loved playing games on your PlayStation – get an old copy Spyro or Crash and just enjoy!
Related Article: 15 Ways to Cope with the Pressures of Being a Good “Adult”
10) Write a letter to your inner child
Write anything that comes from the heart. It could be nurturing words, an apology, encouragement, advice, or even a short story! Just write something – your inner child will love reading it no matter what it is (bonus: your inner child doesn’t even care about grammar!)
Here’s a fun exercise – grab a photo of yourself as a child and stand in front of a mirror. Look at the photo, and then look at yourself. This will really help you make a connection between yourself and your inner child and will help you visualize yourself as that child now!
*Tip: This is a great exercise to do onto other people as well. Look at the people in your life – your friends, your partner, your parents – and imagine them as children. When you do this, you’ll come to realize that everyone, just like you, has an inner child that has wounds and insecurities that needs nurturing. This is a great way to cultivate compassion and understanding towards others.
12) Remember it takes time
Years of neglecting your inner child won’t solve itself overnight, but with little steps taken each and every day, you will get there. Each time you do something to reconnect with your inner child, you’ll notice that little differences start sprouting up in your life. And trust me, it’ll be an amazing thing for you to experience.
When we heal our inner child, we let go of things in the past that we didn’t even realize we were holding onto. We learn to become in tune with ourselves in a way that we didn’t know we were missing out on. We learn, most of all, to love ourselves.
Content Creator at Mindaya