In therapy circles the inner child is known as the original, untainted child self that is innocent, full of life, inquisitive and all trusting. Oftentimes we hear of the phrase based on the traumatized inner child awaiting healing and attention so she can return to the original inner child. It is the subconscious part of us. I’ve noticed that many people still react to things the way their traumatized inner child would. For instance, I would spend money I didn’t have thinking “I deserve this” or “I can have this because I worked really hard” (usually said about food but also money). Or you’ll see neediness, attachment issues, tantrums and excess impulsiveness – general child like thoughts and behaviors that manifest in adults. Essentially unhealed inner child allows people to respond from a child like perspective. We can also see this in many emotional reactions or interactions with our families and jobs. We cower thinking that some outside force is our protection and never really built up our safety from within. In short, many of us, as adults, can still operate from a child like perception and response. I’ve learned how to identify this and I want to share it with you. The first thing we ALL must do is become aware of our generational patterns (which oftentimes are perceived by us in childhood, but we are not aware), which are lessons and stories passed on to us about who we are, how we should think, and how we should operate as people. We usually don’t have a space to unravel these concepts and work through them. In order to do this we must ask ourselves several questions when we want to change a pattern in our lives and know that there is something holding us back. Here are a few:
- where did I get this perception of this person, place, event from? Is it from my intuition or a social/cultural and familial suggestion?
- why do I continue to experience this same feeling for this specific situation?
- what do I need to tell my inner child that she has never heard before so she is satisfied, happy and nourished? (I am safe, I am healthy, I can do anything I want with work and focused attention?)
This is just a starting place for where you can go with the inner child work. I feel this work is essential for our emotional and spiritual health to consider how we operate on a daily basis and whether it is true to a healed self or a hurt self. A key component to determining this is through the relationship we have with our inner child.
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