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Inner Child

DETAILS

We briefly described the concept of the inner child in our second installment of this month’s Play Zine, and would like to take the chance to delve into how to find your inner child, and why it matters. 

Your inner child is an expression of your early lived experiences and is carried with you for your whole life. What we experienced as children does not simply go away - it stays with us and develops into behaviors, beliefs, and patterns. Acknowledging, accepting, and conversing with your inner child is not a regression from adulthood but rather a progression towards self-acceptance and stable mental health. 

No one is exempt from experiencing childhood trauma, but a clinically proven form of healing from trauma is connecting with your inner child. Many anxieties, insecurities, and fears that we hold onto are a reflection of a wounded inner child. 

“You’re allowed to use your childhood trauma to inform and dignify your adult dreams, rather than perpetuate more trauma in adulthood. Give yourself that permission. You deserve it.”

HOMEWORK

As adults, we can learn to be our own inner parent to form newer patterns and behaviors that best serve us. It just takes a playful mindset and small steps to validate our inner child’s pain, fear, and perspectives without judgment. 

Here are some ways to do just that: 

  1. Take a moment each day this week-- perhaps before bed or after waking up-- to converse with your inner child and determine what messages and needs your inner child may be expressing
  2. Revisit childhood memories by flipping through old photo albums, yearbooks, and memorabilia. Pick one photo or memorabilia and journal on what it felt like to be that age. 
  3. Write a letter or journal entry to your inner child. Write out questions that you have, explore past experiences, and reflect upon your relationship to your younger self.
  4. Write a letter to your parents or guardians speaking all of your truths and don’t send it. 
  5. Play! Engage in a playful activity that you truly loved as a child. 
  6. Try this Inner Child Meditation practice 

Questions to start a conversation with your inner child:

  • What messages did I get around who I was or who I was supposed to be?
  • What activities or actions did I take part in to receive love or approval?
  • Were there secrets or topics that we did not discuss or hid from friends/family?
  • Did I feel free to be myself?
  • When I felt scared or hurt, how did a parent/guardian address my emotions?