How to Rediscover Your Inner Child
Growing up and becoming an adult does not just mean getting old and accumulating years, seeing a wrinkle on your face, or getting things done. Growing up means learning to mature over time, retaining all the good from each of your life’s stages.
However, it is not always easy to mature harmoniously or happily. There are times in our lives when the adult we have grown to be is frustrated and filled with unresolved internal conflicts that trap us and drown us. We can lose our enthusiasm for the things and people around us and, even worse, for ourselves.
When we talk about our “inner child” many people probably dismiss it because they do not understand its meaning. Sometimes it is associated with a literal childhood, that period of ‘blind innocence’ where one has no depth of understanding of how the so-called world or life really is. Because of this inevitable innocence or, rather, naivety, we allow children a certain touch of madness and of spontaneity, because “they have yet to learn.”
However, though it may be hard for us adults to believe, children may know much more than we do – they still have certain values that we have long lost. It is also said that we all go through life with an inner child, hidden away in the depths of our psychology. It’s our inner child who allows us a certain balance between rational thinking and another, more free, pure, and hopeful kind of thinking that continues to demand our love and attention.
Our inner child’s voice
Believe it or not, our inner child has not gone anywhere in order to give way to the serious adult you are now. It still resides deep in you, though it is hidden and suppressed most of the time. We feel we cannot afford to let it out because of what it was and what it, to this day, represents.
The inner child demands of us a number of things, but we do not always know how to listen:
- It asks you to not give so much importance to things, to play down the importance of problems, and to take off that shell of sadness and replace it instead with a cheerful expression so you can walk freely into the world.
- Your inner child asks you to love it and care for it adequately. It demands love and that you, in turn, be able to provide that love. It wants to be embraced, cuddled, cared for, and wants to become the focus of your life.
- Sometimes, your inner child also demands you to not be so hard on yourself. It asks you to relax a little and focus on the simple things in life that surround you. It wants you to value the little things, the small joys and triumphs. And it wants you to play around and experiment! It begs that you, above all, do not lose your enthusiasm for life and for yourself. It wants you to be spontaneous – to dare to be.
However, there is a vital aspect that we cannot ignore when we talk about the inner child. It is entirely possible that your childhood was not exactly happy, and that you are guarding within you too many wounds, voids, and griefs – in this case, you may never really, truly have been a child.
Your circumstances may have forced you to grow up violently without the privilege of enjoying the variety of dimensions that nurture any creature: love, recognition, affectionate emotional bonds, support.
All of this makes it so we grow up with insecurities, with general mistrust and with fears. What can we do in those cases?
Rediscovering and saving our inner child
It is often said that one who lives by creating art knows how to live minimally, understands the value of sending smiles in the direction of others for no particular reason, and has never had the misfortune of breaking their ties with their inner child.
It is possible that such people are labeled as ‘crazy’ for their spontaneity or occasional eccentricity. However, whether we believe it or not, keeping the hypothetical umbilical cord attached to a healthy and happy inner child may be an enriching experience that could cure many of our emotional wounds and strengthen our self-esteem.
How can we unite with and heal our so-called “inner child?”
- Visualize yourself as a child, look at an old picture if you need to. This is a simple exercise to try and make yourself reflect. You are trying to inspire a moment of introspection into your essence and history where the child that you were hides.
- Think about that image in your mind, and bring your memory to a moment when you were 7 or 8 years old. What do you see? Are you a carefree creature, loud, rambunctious, and outspoken? Ask yourself if you have any similarities now to what you see. Were you a child that enjoyed hugging your parents? Hold on to that love. Do you maybe see some grief from the past, or a painful wound? Accept it and forgive, and you will feel much freer and lighter. You need to bring a calmness to that memory – a balance – where you feel no resentment toward whatever has weighed you down and which will let you live in peace.
- Continue on in your personal visualization and work to establish a dialogue with the child, with your younger self. You must establish a strong bond with them, and ask what they need now in order for you both to be happy again. Take in their words, their pleas. You must convince them that you are going to better attend to their needs from now on, that you will love them more, that you will take good care of them, and that together you will progress forward with a new enthusiasm: playing down the impact of problems you face, laughing, being more pure, and not suppressing your most basic needs.
Take your inner child firmly by the hand and do not lose him or her again.