How to Heal Your Inner Child

Have you ever felt like something in your life just doesn’t add up? No matter how much you achieve, you feel like there’s something holding you back. Maybe you feel like you can’t seem to shake certain emotional responses, or you struggle with intimate relationships. These feelings could be a sign that your inner child needs healing.

What is the Inner Child?

Your inner child is a representation of the child you once were. Your inner child includes your emotional and psychological experiences during your childhood, including your fears, joys, and traumas. Your inner child is still a part of you, and it can influence your decisions, relationships, and self-perception.

Why do You Need to Heal Your Inner Child?

Unresolved childhood trauma can cause a range of challenges in adulthood, including difficulty establishing healthy relationships, low self-esteem, and feelings of insecurity. Whether the trauma was physical, emotional or psychological, it can have lifelong effects which can impact your well-being.

How to Heal Your Inner Child

If you want to heal your inner child, you need to take an active role in understanding and addressing the traumas that might have happened to you. Here are some steps that you can follow to help you heal your inner child:

1. Recognize the Symptoms

The first step in healing your inner child is recognizing the symptoms. This might look like a feeling of emptiness or disconnection, lack of joy or pleasure in life, difficulty trusting others, low self-esteem, anxiety or depression, feelings of abandonment or neglect, and perfectionism. Once you’ve identified these symptoms, you can start exploring the traumas that may have caused them.

2. Identify the Traumas

Once you have recognized the symptoms, you need to identify the traumas that have caused them. It’s important to note that not all traumas are severe or obvious; they can range from subtle emotional neglect to more overt abuse, and can come from family members, friends, or peers. You might identify these traumas by revisiting memories or talking with family members or a therapist. Therapy can be especially helpful in uncovering buried emotions and experiences that you may have forgotten or suppressed.

3. Validate Your Emotions

It’s important to acknowledge and validate emotions you feel about the traumas you have experienced. You may have been told in the past that your emotions were wrong or not valid, but it is important to realize that they are real and need to be processed. Validation means accepting and experiencing a full range of emotions and, most importantly, not being afraid to feel them. Feelings, particularly unpleasant ones, are essential to feel to help you in moving forward.

4. Practice Self-Care

Healing from childhood trauma takes time and consistent care. One great way to practice self-care is to learn how to regulate your emotions. This could look like yoga, meditation, or physical exercise, to help you to see how you are feeling and to reduce feelings of stress and tension. Here are some other ways to practice self-care:

  • Journaling: Writing down your thoughts and feelings can be a therapeutic and grounding practice.
  • Breathing exercises: Deep breathing exercises can help you to feel calmer and more centered when you’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed.
  • Mindfulness: This is a form of meditation that encourages you to stay present in the moment without judging or evaluating your thoughts and feelings.
  • Counseling: Talking to a licensed therapist can be incredibly helpful as they can offer helpful coping mechanisms, and validate your emotions in a space of non-judgmental support.

5. Forgive Yourself and Others

Moving forward from childhood trauma means acknowledging that various factors may have influenced it, some of which may have not been within your control. It’s important to work through any feelings of blame, shame, or guilt that may be embedded within you. It’s also essential to work towards forgiveness, of yourself and others. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that what occurred was right or that you are forgetting what has happened, but it means you’re doing so to release the pain and trauma that is holding you back. This self-forgiveness process can lead you to a place where you start to feel empowered and take control of your life.

Conclusion

Your inner child was shaped by your experiences during your childhood, and while it’s not possible to change the past, you can take an active role in healing your inner child in the present. Recognizing the symptoms, identifying the traumas, validating your emotions, practicing self-care, and forgiving yourself and others are essential steps towards healing. By taking action to heal your inner child, you can start the journey towards feeling more empowered and in control of your life.

FAQs

FAQs about How to Heal Your Inner Child

1. What is an “inner child”?

Referring to your “inner child” is a way of acknowledging the experiences and emotions that shaped your personality and psyche during your childhood. These experiences can leave a lasting impact on your sense of self, self-esteem, relationships and behaviours in adulthood.

2. How do I know if my inner child needs healing?

If you experience low self-esteem, self-doubt, feelings of worthlessness, negative self-talk or mental and emotional instability, it’s possible that your inner child needs healing. Additionally, past trauma or abuse, neglect or abandonment can lead to a damaged inner child that requires attention for personal growth and development.

3. What are some ways to heal my inner child?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to that question, but there are various ways that can help in healing the inner child such as seeing a therapist or counselor, practicing mindfulness or meditation, bodywork techniques like yoga, focusing on self-care, rewriting your narrative with affirmations and self-talk, writing in a journal or talking to a trusted friend or family member about your emotions and experiences from your childhood.


References

1. Frazier, P. A., Tix, A. P., & Barron, K. E. (2004). Testing moderator and mediator effects in counseling psychology research. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 51(1), 115–134. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-0167.51.1.115

2. Irtel, H. (2005). Healing the inner child: A meditation technique. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 37(2), 207–217. https://doi.org/10.24972/ijts.2005.37.2.207

3. Seligman, M. E. P., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2000). Positive psychology: An introduction. American Psychologist, 55(1), 5–14. https://doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.55.1.5