Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay
Inner child work is not just about healing your childhood trauma and issues, as important as that is to do. It’s also important to connect to your playful, happy, joyful, innocent, curious inner child. This post will show you how to connect to your happy inner child. When I first attempted to connect with my inner child, it was through letters between my inner child and my adult self. My inner child wrote about her experiences and how they made her feel, see previous post here. My adult-self letter to my inner child was supposed to comfort and reassure my inner child. Instead anger, blame and resentment towards my inner child were subconsciously written in the letter. I wasn’t even aware at that time, that I had anger towards her, but it turns out that I did!
That’s the thing about inner child work. Similar to shadow work, it raises all sorts of emotions and issues you didn’t even know you had. But, this is how we heal, by bringing issues into your awareness, then you can accept and let go of what doesn’t serve you.
Connecting to my Inner Child
Although, I did rewrite the letter, this time with compassion and giving my inner child reassurance. Something still didn’t quite feel right, it was like I could not relate to that little girl. A few weeks later I realised, I still held anger and resentment towards my inner child. This wasn’t a conscious decision, I had carried self-loathing with me since I was a child, so it had become second nature. It wasn’t something I could shake off easily.
After much soul searching and reflection I realised that I blamed my inner child for how she ‘handled’ things which has impacted my whole life. I didn’t take into consideration that she was a very young child who went into self-preservation mode, a perfectly normal thing to do at her age.
I now knew that I needed to connect to my inner child without blame or judgement. If I was to heal, I needed to show her the love and attention she hadn’t received. So, I decided to give visualisations a try!
Visualisations and Dialogue with my Inner Child
I decided to use a technique I learned from the book ‘Dark Side of the Light Chasers’ by Debbie Ford. This is a book about the shadow self, it’s a technique where you have inner dialogue with your shadow. I just adapted it to a dialogue with my inner child. I struggled to do it with my shadow, I guess I just wasn’t ready. However, it has been much more successful with my inner child. Miraculously, I now feel fully connected to my inner child.
The more I have done my visualisations, the more detailed it gets and the easier it is to ‘escape’ to this special place.
Although I wrote the second letter to my inner child without any judgement, anger or resentment towards them. I think I still held on to that anger subconsciously. It was only when I started doing visualisations and having dialogues with my inner child, picturing a time when my inner child was happy (I used a photograph) did the anger subside.
After doing visualisations and dialogue several times, I found for the first time I felt ‘love’ towards my inner child. I saw her for the beautiful, innocent, happy, playful and loving child she was before the effects of her experiences impacted her. I now do these visualisations regularly, they makes me feel good. They make me feel like I can give unconditional love, and have complete understanding and empathy towards my inner child.
I’ve never really been able to visualise before this, I always seemed a struggle. Now my visualisations are so vivid and clear. I’m not saying I’m the Steven Spielberg of visualisations. But, somehow I have created a beautiful special visualisation where I can go to make myself feel safe.
I go down 7 floors in a lift (I learned this from The Dark Side of the Light Chasers, when I first did shadow work). When the doors open, it opens into a beautiful oasis. It’s a beautiful peaceful place, it has a gentle water fall with a lagoon of crystal clear blue water. It has the greenest grass you could imagine and beautiful bright flowers and trees. The sun is shining, there are playful dogs running free, rabbits hopping around, squirrels and birds singing and flying around. It is so tranquil, yet full of life and there awaits my inner child.
She has the biggest smile on her face, she is so happy to see me. This wasn’t the case the first time, initially she looked scared, broken and timid. But once we had our first real conversation, she new she was loved and safe, she reverted to the child she once was.
There is a wooden bench set back from the lagoon. This is where I first sat with my inner child and asked her to tell me about her pain, experiences and difficulties she endured. I then acknowledged her emotional pain and told her she should never had to of experienced what she did. I told her I was here to protect her, that I love her and she has nothing more to fear because she is safe now. In my visualisation when my inner child smiles at me, which is quite a lot now, I instantly feel happy.
Don’t be surprised if you get extremely emotional when you first talk or write to your inner child. You are facing issues you have spent most of your life trying to avoid or not even been consciously aware of. These issues are often very painful, so acknowledge your courage in facing these now.
How to Connect Positively with your Inner Child
You can connect to your inner child in positive ways, it is not all about your trauma and doesn’t have to be by visualisations alone. You can do this by acting childlike in play, in art, in activities, and in your personal interactions. To be clear, childlike is very different from ‘childish’, I don’t mean acting immature. Tap in to how you felt during one of your happier memories during your childhood. This may have been playing with friends, holidays, day trips, visiting relatives, birthdays or just a particular memory you have. When you tap into happier times, really tune in to the emotions you felt then as a child, think of that Christmas Eve feeling!
Be aware, recollection of your childhood may exclude happy memories. I found it difficult to recall many happy times, as my thoughts were overriden with not so good times. However, once I obtained a photograph of my smiling self as a child, it prompted me to remember happy times. Also the image of me in the photograph depicts a happy child, so this helped. Do you have a photograph or image depicting a happy memory?
Be in your Child State
Consider what children do for fun, what makes them smile or happy. I have a particular memory on holiday, bouncing on a trampoline next to the beach. It made my stomach turn, made me smile, laugh, it felt good, uninhibited, it was exhilarating. Can you recall any memories where you felt this way?
Other simple, but good memories for me where using colouring books. For many, colouring in can take you out of reality, help you focus and take your mind of worries you may have. This is a form of mindfulness, where you concentrate and focus on what you are doing in the moment. There are adult colouring books you can use for this, they are suppose to be good for stress relief, I like this one here.
Watch a feel good movie aimed at children; Home Alone is a classic favourite of adults, but there are many other’s, is there a film you absolutely loved as a child? watch it again, buy it if you have to. When watching it, imagine you are that child again. Laugh out loud at the funny bits, cry at the sad bits, don’t hold back, express your emotions as you watch it. You may want to do this alone, so you don’t feel self-conscious or inhibited. Enjoy it! My favourite (I used to watch with my nephews) is Monsters Inc. More recently I watched ‘Small Foot’ on Amazon Prime video which I really enjoyed.
The key is when you connect to your happy, playful inner child, be present and saviour each moment. If any negative, judgemental thoughts pop to mind, such as ‘this is silly’ or ’embarrassing’, let them pass. Remember, stay in your child state, the child state doesn’t care, they just enjoy the moment. Young children don’t know what it is to judge themselves or others in their true child state.
Apart from watching children’s films, try find some of your favourite programmes you watched as a child. If you lived in the U.K. these will bring back some memories, see here. If you are outside the U.K. You Tube is a good source to watch retro children’s programmes.
You may have also had a favourite food or sweet you haven’t had since you were a child. If there are any particular foods or drinks that bring back comforting memories of childhood, have some or see if you can source your favourite candy bar.
How it Feels to Connect with your Inner Child
Connecting with my inner child has been an amazing thing for me. I view her as a separate person with me in the parent role. I feel very protective and caring towards her (me), I just want her to be happy. Continuing my connection with her, it is an ongoing journey. I hope it will make me less self-conscious and help me to adopt more of a ‘not a care in the world attitude’. But most of all, I hope it will bring me inner peace!