Updated: Sep 11
Understanding the connection with my inner child and learning how to express the gifts this connection brings has been one of the most impactful parts of my personal healing journey, and is often a deeply important aspect for the clients I work with.
Let's clear things up right away - what do I mean by inner child?
For me, it's two-fold.
First, our inner child contains the memories and lived experiences from our babyhood all the way through to our young adult years. Our brains don't finish developing until around age 25-27 so we're still not into our true adulthood until the end of our 20's. This aspect of our inner child contains many gifts from our life and can also point to different developmental stages we may not have completely mastered (AKA. skill sets we still struggle with in adulthood). A quick example - I see a lot of us adults struggling with black-and-white or all-or-nothing thinking. This can be a legacy from our childhood development (it can be related to other things too). We don't start understanding "the grey" or nuance until our later childhood years into our adolescent development. If we didn't have adult caregivers who mastered the skill of a more nuanced approach to life, then they wouldn't be able to fully help us complete this developmental task either. And so we'll have the opportunity to develop this skill set in adulthood, if we so choose.
The second element of our inner child is the pure essence of a child - magic, curiosity, growth, a desire to learn and play, wonder. Such gorgeous characteristics that can infuse our adult self and life with a whole bunch more connection, love, and depth. This magical part of us has been present from day-one and yearns for expression to this day.
SO how do we start this whole process (or maintain it if we've been exploring our inner child for a while)?!
It's a relationship, and like any relationship that we want to grow and strengthen we need to show up consistently and with intention.
Take a moment and consider what your intention might be for connecting with your inner child?
Perhaps your intention could be:
Offering myself deeper understanding and compassion.
Connecting with fun and play.
Bringing curiosity to myself to expand my self-awareness.
Now that you have an intention in mind let's consider the following steps for regular connection and strengthening in our relationship with our inner child:
Be consistent and committed: Like any relationship, building and expanding upon connection requires consistent effort. Say hello to your inner child as often as you remember. Ask their opinion or insight on matters. Demonstrate through your actions and thoughts that you want to develop this relationship.
Continue to clarify Adult you: Seems funny we're talking about Adult you on Step 2 and it's TRUE! Think about when you were a kid...what grown-ups did you feel safest around? The ones who most consistently exemplified the qualities of an adult (ex. healthy boundary setting and limits, healthy expressions of love, appropriate expressions of emotion, deep care for us). It's worth creating a list or reflection on the qualities of the adult you want to be. This Adult self will help connect most impactfully with our Inner Child.
Ask for support: Ask a trusted person in your life for support in this venture. Be specific in how they can support you. For example, "Friend, I have decided to connect more with my inner child. I'd love if you could please gently ask me about this for accountability check-ins about once a week. Would you be able to do that for me?"
Look for opportunities to include them: Find meaningful places for your inner child to shine. This can be so simple, like letting them choose what socks you wear that day or what song you listen to on the drive home.
Do some research: There are so many incredible resources out there - books, podcasts, IG posts, chatting with friends - on the topic of inner child healing and continuing to develop our adult self, so why not dive in further to get more ideas? This also can help foster self-trust as it demonstrates that we really mean it with connecting with our inner child.
I recommend that right now you PICK one of these ideas to implement today. How will you remember?
Implementing these ideas and starting any new practice can be best approached with support. If you're curious for more support, ideas and insights then attend my Inner Child workshop live on Thursday September 21st, 2023 from 11am-12:15pm EST. Purchase your ticket here and use code FALLINTOYOU for $10.00 off the ticket price as a thank you for supporting my work.
If you're seeking personalized support then consider booking a consult call for us to see if we're a good fit.
Either way, please go kindly with yourself with this information, understanding that this is a life-long relationship with yourself...we don't need to rush ourselves!