We each have our own inner child. This person, energy, or inner self is you when you were small. When we are young, we are the center of our own small world. We believe everyone and everything is here for us and because of us. If our childhood was happy and all our needs were met, we usually do not have problems as adults with our inner child kicking up a fuss. This circumstance is the exception. We are more likely to experience some kind of lack as we grew to adulthood and this is where a life-long struggle in some area of our existence begins.
Our inner child causes problems when we do not take care of ourselves. When we care for others’ needs and we do without, our inner child tries to get our attention in the way a child would. They use non-verbal cues such as pain so that you are stalled in any outward efforts. You are forced to do something for yourself. They also use emotions. When you feel upset or depressed, your inner being needs to be soothed. When we criticize ourselves instead of encouraging, we invite our child-like energy to be uncooperative which brings on more things to criticize.
We are part of the universe and therefore deserve love and attention as much as the next person. We can not be effective in any endeavor if we are not in tip-top shape physically or emotionally. Our inner child seeks to keep us balanced. They bring your awareness to your physical being and encourage you to check in. If subtle hints are not enough, they employ stronger, more urgent means. Paying attention to yourself is more important than you realize.
As soon as you feel something isn’t right, immediately call your Inner Child and see what is going on. Place your hand on your midsection just above the bellybutton. Take in a cleansing breath and blow it out slowly. Ask him/her, “What’s up?” Your Inner Child will answer in pictures and thoughts. Give them time to appear to your inner mind. Once you figure out what he/she’s afraid of, ask your Inner Child this question, “What can I do to make you feel more comfortable?”
Sometimes the answer is that he/she just needs a hug or to be held, and the reassurance that you are there. When your Inner Child needs this kind of comforting, imagine picking her up and holding her close. Imagine she lays her head on your shoulder just like a flesh and blood child would do. As you imagine doing this, physically wrap your arms around yourself as though you are holding a child in your arms. You can use a pillow or stuffed animal if it helps you to connect. For several minutes rock back and forth very slowly as if you are rocking a child.
Afterward, when you put her down, physically feel her relief as she smiles up at you. Feel this relief in your abdomen/gut where you previously felt that something was wrong.
Ask your Inner Child to go with a friend from your Inner Child’s playground, watch them both head back together, walking hand in hand. Your Inner Child turns around briefly to smile and wave. The sadness lifts almost instantly. Express gratitude for all. Return to your day’s tasks feeling focused and balanced.
When you ignore your own needs and desires, you make an unwanted enemy of yourself. Give yourself the attention that you deserve so that you make friends with life. We are all responsible for ourselves and only we can genuinely know what will make us feel better. When we care for others, we are merely guessing what they truly desire, even when they tell us in great detail. We are limited by our own perception of the situation. Our wholeness and contentment will spill over onto other people and allow them to feel better just by being in your presence. Your inner child is here to help you do just that.
Image- Child Asleep (The Rosebud) detail- 1841
Thomas Sully American
Metropolitan Museum of Art Open Access Collection