Your inner child is that beautiful, innocent, intuitive, fun-filled, little being that just wants to create, play, and use their imagination. They’re that part of us that reminds us to have fun, not take things so seriously, lighten up a little, and splash in mud puddles. Their job is to play! Yet somewhere along the way, they end up feeling as if they need to be the adult because they feel unheard, left out, scared, abandoned, isolated, and lonely. Why? Because they have no one telling them that they’re okay. They don’t have anyone to remind them that they’re children and that children play. Children get dirty, they don’t have to worry about things that adults worry about. Because our adults are unaware of this, the children are the ones who think they’re the adults. It’s like the movies: 13 Going on 30 or Big starring Tom Hanks. The child is now the one being the grown up.
It’s also the part of us that is unhealed from emotional wounds and traumas caused in our childhood. We all have them. Nobody caused them on purpose. Even if you had the worst parents in the world, not one said, “I am going to have kids to abuse, hurt, and wound.” When we are children we need to believe that the adults around us have all the answers. The truth is that most adults, no matter how good of a parent they are, are operating from their child as well. When referring to our child, it is important to not leave them wounded, hurt, or injured. It’s important to acknowledge that this is not who they are. This is the way they are feeling from years of not being validated, seen, or heard.
Those children, because of events in their lives, feel as though they must be adults before they’re actually adults. We’re all kids in big bodies trying to assimilate into the world of adulthood with the emotional, mental, and cognitive ability of a child. This leads to “Adult” temper tantrums, feelings of inadequacy, and general insecurity. This translates into poor decisions and repeating negative patterns, and can often lead to addictions.
Why? Because our adult has NO idea this is even happening. Our adult has been busy doing adult things, but not handling adult emotions.
Our inner children have a place within us. To laugh, play, inspire us with their creativity, fill us with their joy and laughter. They help us find balance in an often too uptight adult world. Without them there would be no silliness, laughter, creativity, and fun in our lives.
With that said, they need to be listened to, loved, validated, heard, nurtured, and let go to fill the role of the child. When they are not in their role, they are in the adult role.
As adults, we have no idea that we have inner children and they’re the ones running our adult life. They’re making decisions that children have no business making and reacting to most situations like a child. Our adult self on the other hand, goes on with day-to-day living, surviving, just getting by, thinking we’re in control when it’s our child who actually is. Our actions toward others, our feelings about ourselves, and our views on the world show otherwise.
Understanding the inner child is the key to understanding our difficulties with relationships (personal and work), addictions, anger, jealousy, fears, ego traps, sabotaging and self-defeating behavior, etc.
Too often we allow our children to make the decisions that need to be made by our “adult” selves.
Because we have no idea that this is happening.
Lesson 2 Homework:
- Find a picture of yourself as a child.
- Glue or tape it to a journal for this course.
- Look at this picture and imagine what she/he is saying to you.
- Close your eyes and feel what they’re feeling, hear what they’re saying to you, and see what they’re showing you.
- Write down everything that comes to you. Don’t judge it. Just allow yourself the connection between you and this picture.
- Don’t worry about the spelling, how you’re saying it, or what it looks or what it sounds like.
- You might be surprised by the feelings that you’re having. That’s okay.
- You’re providing a safe space for your child to speak to you.
Here are some positive examples of how they might be feeling:
- Are they happy?
- Are they funny?
- Are they goofy?
- Are they introspective?
- Are they wise?
- Are they playful?
- Are they silly?
- Are they creative? In what ways?
- Are they loving?
- Are they kind?
- Are they sweet?
- Are they active?
- Do they like to play outside?
- Do they prefer lots of friends or only a few?
Now, look at the other side of who they are. How do they feel when they don’t feel their best?
- Are they scared?
- Are they lonely?
- Are they isolated?
- Are they intimidated?
- Are they mad?
- Are they sad?
- Are they angry?
- Are they insecure?
- Are they feeling broken?
- Do they feel unsafe?
- Do they feel not seen?
- Do they not feel validated?
- Are they feeling unloved?
- Do they feel unnurtured?
After identifying some of the ways they’re feeling, slowly examine each feeling. Start with the positive feelings. Get to know who they are. What makes them silly? What makes them smile? What makes them wise? What makes them laugh?
Now spend some time feeling and getting to know some of the other things that might make them shut down.
- Write down how they’re feeling.
- Start with only one feeling and write about that feeling.
- When you feel that you are done with the one feeling, move down to another.
- Continue to write down whatever it is you’re feeling for each one.
You might have only one or two that you identify with right now, or you might want to connect with all of them.