I’ve harboured unnatural fears, anxiety and unnecessary guilt throughout my life. It’s been difficult for me to set healthy boundaries and I’ve said sorry way too many times for things that didn’t require an apology. I became an expert at negative self-talk, small things have disproportionately upset me and I never gave myself the validation I deserved — all signs of inner child wounds. The side effects are different for everyone. These may be familiar, or you may feel a sense of abandonment, neglect or find it difficult to trust.
We each have our own wounds and traumas. You didn’t think you were the only one, did you? No one escapes!
Our fears and phobias are the marks left from the needs that weren’t met as a child, even if we are blessed with the most well-intentioned parents. These wounds are formed when we felt abandoned or unsafe, and I believe some originate in previous generations.
The anxiety and pain I experienced was never about what was happening in the moment. We attract people and situations that trigger the re-opening of our inner child wounds. We subconsciously invite the pain back in. We convince ourselves we want it to go away, but at the same time we feel an irrational comfort in its familiarity.
Until we re-connect with our inner child, we will continue to replay our old patterns. That’s why I attracted similar traits and behaviours in partners, I was unsatisfied with my career choices and was constantly frustrated by the madness of making the same mistakes.
Not making peace with my inner child prolonged my pain. I was an unhealed soul, seeking solace in other unhealed souls. Being in the company of people who validated me in my suffering instead of encouraging me to grow, kept me stagnant. I needed to address the issues instead of suppressing them. Our loved ones often enable us instead of compassionately challenging us. Unknowingly keeping us stuck in the pain of a destructive loop.
For all those years I was attempting to protect myself, but denying the real issues, just separated me from my true self. We instinctively want to feel safe, but we can only break the cycle when we are aware of the source. I couldn’t heal until I acknowledged the scars. Bringing them to the surface meant I had to re-live the pain. Until we are faced with a health issue, breakup, death or other significant life event, we may not be motivated to seek answers because it seems too hard. Inner child work locates the source of our pain — the real reasons why certain people, or situations trigger us.
To begin to heal our inner child wounds we need to unpack the conditioning that has smothered us and break the spells that have hypnotised us.
U — Understand that it’s a lifelong process. It won’t be fixed overnight.
N — Nurture and communicate with your inner child through meditation, or journaling.
P — Parent the younger self that felt abandoned. Imagine her hearing what she needed to hear, when she needed it.
A — Ask yourself what lit you up as a child. What did she love? What were her dreams? What brought joy then, can bring it now.
C — Connect with the part of you that needed your more mature self. Be compassionate and speak kindly to the younger you.
K — Keep an open mind as we may need outside help or therapy to achieve breakthroughs.
It’s always easy to say in hindsight, but we do make things way too serious sometimes.
Each day ask your inner child to make an appearance. To bring you back to your centre of gravity and make you feel alive. She can take away the seriousness of life, and help you can become less rigid and more free.
We get caught up feeling lost in life, but we just need to support one another to find our way back home. Just like Dorothy was wearing her ruby slippers the whole time and had her ticket home in The Wizard of Oz, your inner child has the answers you’ve been looking for outside yourself.
My inner child is my constant companion now. Someone I rely on. Someone who tells me the truth. How could I ever feel alone? She knows me better than anyone. She has my back. She is vulnerable, fun and free. In a life where not much is certain, I know she is the one soul guaranteed to be with me until the very end.
Why not make friends with your most loyal ally. Inviting your inner child to play may be the start of a beautiful relationship.
Thanks for taking the time to read my thoughts. If you want to hear more from me, please like my ‘Lisa Benson Author’ page on Facebook or follow me (lisabensonauthor) on Instagram.