Updated: Jun 7, 2019
You may be an adult now, but you were once a child. A baby that needed to be cleaned, fed, loved, disciplined and taught. Even today's wisest or most "successful" people wore diapers at one time and were completely helpless babies. We all share the experience of having been a child and with that experience, we have memories. Some of these memories may be easy to access and look back on with an emotional response good or bad. Other memories exist within the abyss of your mind, creeping around, mingling with internal systems of development, self cognizance, intimacy, love or lack thereof, and your perceptions of reality. Specifically, your personal reality.
Before you are able to fully experience your present moment and authenticity, before you are able to be your own number one, your main love in life, and definitely before your love goes to others, you've got to sit down and go back in time. All of that childhood baggage that we've been
carrying around has been a heavy burden whether you have come to realize it or not. Sometimes these past influences are discreet and you may not even be aware of their impact in your current life. It is so easy to forget about how we came to be who we are. For many of us, we think our memory of adult development actually began (or so we tell ourselves) when we left our family unit. Whether you admit it or not, to a certain extent, your childhood has left its marks on who you are today. This could mean that you do all you can to deny your roots, that you constantly monitor yourself to not repeat traumatic family patterns. Or maybe you work hard to forget, believing that as long as you do not recall the past, it has no power over you. Regardless of how you have compartmentalized your past in order to understand your present, who you are and who you perceive yourself to be can only become synchronized when you conscientiously revisit your past and get to know your inner child.
Inner Child is a phrase that I never enjoyed talking or thinking about. Getting to know your inner child just felt foolish or rather childish. As an adult, I thought to myself, what do I need to know this so called inner child for? Didn't I grow out of that? For me, I thought I was already able to connect childhood experiences and emotions to my current status quo. I already came to terms with being a child of divorced parents, I spiritually forgave my step-mom and biological dad for their emotional absent, and I finally realized that it's nobody's business what my interests are, who I really am, or what I decide to do. I felt like I had my childhood difficulties under control. Mission accomplished.
But no... the mission continues. Acknowledging your trials and being proud of your triumphs is only the beginning to releasing yourself from self-limiting beliefs. Until you greet your inner child with understanding and curiosity and conscientiously cultivate a relationship with this person, you are locked into potentially binding ancestral patterns that can affect you and your lineage. In order to step forward into the present free of the burdens of your own emotional estrangement, you must be ready to reevaluate your past experiences using compassion and love as your guide to build your
life with a foundation of self acceptance and love. Sound crazy yet? Well it kind of is. But the crazy part isn't the inner child concept. The craziest thing is that we are raised to bottle up emotions, memories, grief and trauma. The person who suffers most in life is the one who suffers in silence, denying the past of an existence and keeping it hidden from the light of acknowledgement and love.
Sometimes, that which needs to be healed happened many years ago. Going back to these times with meditation or journaling is actually one of the most accessible ways to work with your own healing path. Inner child work is something that everyone can benefit from, even those who say that their childhood was "perfect."
In the next post, we will talk about how to get to know your inner child and where to take your relationship next.