Updated: Dec 9, 2019
We all have one. That little vulnerable voice inside of us, that is the voice of our inner child. The voice of the little "me" deep inside that holds all of our experiences, limiting beliefs and wounds that occurred as a child.
Every child, at some point, experiences some level of trauma. Through my experience in "crisis counselling" I discovered that trauma can be as small as a regularly scheduled TV show being moved to a new time or a friend embarrassing you in public; to more extreme trauma like abuse, neglect, violence, a sudden death of a loved one, job loss, etc. Regardless of your own perception of what is traumatic, and what is not, the brain does not discern between big trauma and little trauma. The brain cannot differentiate so all traumatic experiences, large or small, are processed in the brain in the exact same way.
When one experiences trauma the prefrontal cortex stops processing and the amygdala flips open (aka "flipped his lid"). The prefrontal cortex is the area of the brain that helps you with rational thought, problem solving and processing. It is the part of the brain that records events, for reflection at a later time. When trauma is in full "action mode" and the prefrontal cortex shuts down, the only thing left is our primal brain - the amygdala. There is no more logical processing, no more rational thought and no more recording.
When the amygdala flips wide open, it is in fright, flight, freeze or fight response also known as chronic stress response mode. When we are in a continual cycle of a chronic stress response, it is extremely hard on our mind and physical body. There is no "chill mode" as we are always in a state of fight, flight, freeze or fright. We don't recharge, reset or regoup.. we just keep going hoping something will break the cycle.
When we don't process the causes of the chronic stress, we enter into a chronic stress response cycle that never ends. We need to break the cycle to have a different outcome.
Identifying the inner child traumas is key. Some of the traumas can include (but not limited to):
Feelings of danger and vulnerability
Traumatic sudden events (sudden death of a loved one)
Criticism from adults, creating low self esteem, doubt and confusion
Negative put downs
Limiting beliefs (for example: children should be seen and not heard)
Identifying and connecting to your inner child, allows you to be able to label, process and release childhood trauma. It helps you to lessen your chronic stress response cycle and even jump off that merry-go-round, because you are starting to process and release built up stresses and traumas.
Even though we think of trauma as "bad", it can actually hold some valuable learning lessons for us. It can teach us about processing and releasing. It can teach us about what is right and wrong; what we want/don't want for our own lives as we grow up.
So what do we do with our inner child trauma and reduce the chronic stress response cycle? How do we identify it, process it and release it? Here are a few steps to help you start the process:
1. Identify With Your Inner Child
The first step to healing your inner child, is to acknowledge that your inner child exists, is hurt and needs healing. This is the hardest part of the whole process.
Acknowledge that you inner child is the part of your adult being. Take a moment and just ponder that thought. The inner child part inside of you, is where you feel vulnerable, unsure and at times, afraid. It is that part of us that wants to retreat to a safe dark corner, being invisible to all, safe and protected from harm.
When we are in situations out of our comfort zone, high stress and completely overwhelmed, we feel vulnerable, unsafe and sometimes afraid of the unknown. Some of that vulnerability we feel deep inside, comes from our inner child experiences. We use the inner child experiences in our lives as a benchmark, comparing our happiness and sadness to internal experiences inside of us, without even consciously realizing we are doing that.
In order to heal your inner child you need to identify with him or her. So find a quiet place, where you won't be disturbed. Take a note pad with you if you like. Then as you sit quietly, take time to reflect back on your childhood experiences, good and bad. Jot down any random feelings, thoughts or experiences that come to mind.
Each inner child experience has formed building blocks of your values, integrity, determination and principles. Each experience has helped to form the amazing person you are right now, today. So whether those experiences are good or bad, don't judge them - just jot the feelings that occurred in those experiences.
Focus on the hurt for a moment. Write down all the upset feelings. Write down the hurt, sadness, grief, loss, rejection, resentment, anger, abandonment, fear, etc. Note any people, circumstances or places that come to mind through this process. As you write down these feelings, experience them. If you need to cry, cry - there is no judgement through the healing process. Releasing through tears is healthy, cleansing and healing. Some may not cry to release any hurt, and that is perfectly fine too. There is no wrong way to heal your inner child, as it is your way; the way that works best for you.
Now shift your experiences of the inner child to the positive. Think about the pockets of time where your inner child experienced laughter, joy, friendship, love, happiness, wonder, excitement, passion and glee. For some, this process might be quite difficult as the inner child hurt might overshadow the good experiences. If this is the case for you, think back on birthdays (yours and friends), think back on sports days in school, recess playing with friends on the playground, think back during summer breaks playing outside. Focus on the joyful experiences you had as a child, even if times were troubled and hard.
As you think of the joyful, happy experiences of your inner child jot those down on your note pad as well. Experience the feelings of joy, playfulness, happiness, carefree wonder, etc. Jot down the feelings and events, people or situations that helped your inner child feel joy and love and happiness.
2. Discover What Gifts Your Inner Child Brings
Now looking at your notepad, are there any main themes that emerge on the side of "hurt"? Is there a theme of rejection? Abandonment? Mental or emotional abuse?
Are there any main themes on the "joyful" side? Is there a theme of wonder? A theme of playfulness? A theme of love and compassion?
The experiences of "hurt" and "joyfulness" are all gifts. Your inner child can teach you:
The "hurts" teach us to:
treat others better in order to prevent more hurt.
use the rejection as a force for your determination
use the lessons of abandonment for improving inclusion of others in your life
be stronger in life, overcoming more obstacles than most
compassion for other people's feelings because we know how words and actions can hurt
What has your inner child taught you through the hurtful experiences?
The joyfulness teaches us how to:
laugh and have fun
look at life through the eyes of wonder
to appreciate the gifts of love
to ignite our passion and follow our dreams
to balance our life with joyful experiences
What has your inner child taught you through the joyful expereinces?
3. Discover What Lessons Your Inner Child Teaches
Everyone's inner child has lessons learned, that are engrained in our being. It is up to us to connect, identify, release and then learn those lessons. Take a moment and reflect on your note pad. What lessons is your inner child teaching you about your:
What lessons has your inner child taught you, about yourself? These are your gifts from your inner child.
4. Forgiving Your Inner Child
Your inner child was just that, a child. Your inner child did the best they could under the circumstances they were placed into. It is time to acknowlege that your inner child did the best they could, at that point in time.
You will need to forgive your inner child for any circumstances, experiences or events that occured that you attribute to your inner child. Your inner child persevered, found the joy where he/she could and became part of who you are today. There is no shame, no judgement, no criticism at all of your inner child. Remember the inner child is you, it is time to forgive yourself.
Healing of your inner child does take time. It is a process whereby you are peeling off layers of hurt, abuse, neglect and sorrow. It took years to develop, but it won't take years to heal. By reflecting on both the good and bad experiences, knowing that you have received invaluable lessons from all the experiences is key to moving forward. You are changing the cycle of the chronic stress response because you are identifying, processing and releasing bottled up stress and trauma in your mind, body and spirit.
5. Healing Your Inner Child Meditation
Connecting to your inner child via meditation is one of the best ways to create a safe space for you to explore your thoughts and feelings around your inner child.
I have created a meditation for helping some of my clients heal their inner child. It is free for all to use. It walks you through the steps listed above, then encases the inner child in healing, loving light for continuous healing.
Feel free to use this healing meditation as often as you need to. Repeating it regularly will help you to peel back those layers and release the hurt, allowing you to find more acceptance of yourself and more joy in your life. It will help you to increase your ability to cope, appreciate the lessons your inner child has taught you and to change your liimiting beliefs into positive outcomes.
Give it a try - it's FREE !!! Help to heal yourself !!
If you have any questions or would like to partner the healing of your inner child with a Reiki releasing session, please don't hesitate to send me a note.
As always, love and blessings
Laurie Fulford, PMP
Owner, Harmony Hands Energy Healing