“We did not come into this world loathing ourselves or wishing to numb or feelings. As small children, we operated from a place of wonder, curiosity, spontaneity and creativity.” ― Christopher Dines
Safety – A fully loaded word, as without it, nothing else matters. Whenever the term ‘inner child‘ comes up, you can pretty much guarantee that a lack of safety, or true sense of self, is lurking there somewhere. Without safety, our body’s stress response mechanism, or ‘fight or flight’ switch, is thrown into high gear and activates the release of a stress hormone called norepinephrine.
But what exactly are people referring to when they reference their inner child?
Our inner child is that part of us that is deeply entrenched within and holds tight to our innocent, child-like nature. It is the part of us that never seems to age, despite how many times we turn the calendar page.
The inner child is always a part of you as it is, essentially, who you are.
Quite literally, your inner child is the child that lives within you – within your psyche that is. It is important that we stay connected with this sensitive part of ourselves. When we are connected to our inner child, we feel excited, invigorated, and inspired by life. When we are disconnected, we feel lethargic, bored, unhappy, and empty.– LonerWolf.com
Through no fault of our own, many of us did not grow up in a childhood that resembled those portrayed on television. Quite often, the feelings of turmoil, anxiety, stress and isolation that were created in childhood are difficult to shed as adults, but not impossible; it just takes work!
Here are some signs that you may be neglecting your inner child, just to name a few:
- You are a perfectionist
- You thrive on drama
- You carry a deep sense of inadequacy
- Difficulty starting and/or completing tasks
- Addictive nature
- Feelings of alienation from one or both parents
- Fear of abandonment, meaning you’ll do anything to hold onto a ‘bad’ relationship
- Difficulty saying ‘no’
- Avoiding conflicts at all costs
- Apprehensive to meet new people
- Difficulty expressing ‘strong’ emotions
But here’s the good news: A little self-care can go a long way, especially when it comes to nurturing your own inner child.
Here are some ways you can begin to heal:
- Write a letter to your inner child
- Write a letter from your inner child to yourself (it works best when using your non-dominant hand, to bypass the ‘logical’ side of the brain)
- Talk to a therapist, coach, or trusted friend
- Practice daily affirmations
Unfortunately, stress will never end; and while some days feel a lot more stressful than others, the only thing we are truly capable of changing is our relationship with ourselves.
Holly Onorato, Spiritual Life Coach