Finding the Inner Child
Undoubtedly, there isn’t really an inner child inside you as a being. The expression refers to an aspect of you whos development has been stunted emotionally, and reacts and behaves still from a child’s perspective.
Why Bother Connecting with Him/Her?
Because most of this emotionally stunted behavior in yourself is generally unconscious, and is pulling the strings a lot of the time whether you like it or not. Most of the time to your detriment.
The best way to address and improve this immature part of yourself is to first become aware of it at a deep level, since that’s where it resides. Having a superficial awareness of your unwanted reactions or behaviors isn’t enough to do anything about it. Behind them usually lie many numerous layers of past experiences and protective mechanisms that have to be uncovered, which means a lot of digging.
The most common ways to get in touch with your inner child are as follows:
1- An old picture: I’d say that the most popular way to do this is to find an old picture of yourself of when you were 5 years old or younger. One that you can look at and really “feel” a kinship with, as if you were friends.
2- A Random Picture: Another way people first make contact with their inner children is to find another picture that they FEEL strongly represents their inner child. It can be of an actual child like this one below:
With an image like that one above, people might relate to it even MORE than with a picture of themselves for a variety of reasons. The child’s way of holding themselves, the emotion associated with it, the background and general mood, all together or in isolation can be what is what does it for someone.
This work is a very abstract process so there are no hard and fast rules. Speaking of abstract, a picture with NO child (or people) in it can be just as effective:
The surroundings might remind them of a similar setting they felt they were in as a young child, and that might give a person a stronger feeling to their past than an image would with a child in it. Looking at this image brings to mind the emotion of despair, and a life in ruin.
3- Look in the dark: Close your eyes and focus, having the intention of finding your inner child within, in the same way the woman is in the image at the top of this post. Really put some effort into it and see what comes to mind. You could connect to an image, some words or a feeling that puts you strongly in contact with your younger, less developed self. Whatever it is you find is just as valid and useful as the other 2 picture methods.
Now that you’d discovered or found your inner child, it’s time to deepen the connection. Don’t worry if the image you have, whether external or within, is kind of vague and fleeting. That will change in time, until you can not only summon the younger part you at will, but feel it is with you at all times, becoming integrated into your consciousness.
Photos – If you have any physical pictures of yourself, try leaving them in places where they will be seen a lot, like your bedroom or home office. The idea is to form an association between what you see and what you feel when you see it, and by seeing it numerous times over the months and years, the connection will become stronger. If it’s a digital image then using it as a screen saver or finding another way to have it seen regularly will have the same effect.
Feelings and Images Within – Anything felt or seen within should be connected to at least daily. This is true even for those people who have physical photos (they would internalize their picture in their mind’s eye).
Find a time in the day when you can sit and be alone for 5 minutes. It’s best to do this at the same time each day so that it becomes habit or routine. Close your eyes and focus upon whatever it is that connects you to your inner child. In this exercise you should:
1- Feel whatever feelings come up. Having a “felt sense” of your inner child is the most powerful way to connect and overcome, or heal.
2- Talk to your child by asking questions. Get into their world and try to figure out exactly what they are thinking, feeling and afraid of.
3- Listen to him or her. Listen to what they have to say as if they had something incredibly valuable to teach you. They likely hold keys to the mystery that is your emotional healing and growth, so paying attention to and caring about their plight and condition pays off for you both.
Going Even Deeper
Doing the above 5 minute visualization exercise daily will give you insights and a much firmer grasp on that part of you that has been in control, to some degree, for most of your life.
To really take the bull by the horns so to speak, and get profound and lasting results, you should try the following on top of the 5 minute exercise.
Writing about what comes up during your 5 minute sessions immediately afterwards has the advantage of forcing you to sort out your thoughts, which bring clarity and a definitiveness to what you are unearthing. Each time this is done it carries over to the next day, compounding the effect and speeding up your process.
Paying attention to, and writing down your dreams are incredibly helpful too. After awhile you’ll see a pattern emerge in your dreams and will be able to connect some of them to what you have writing about after your visualization time.
Paying attention to your reactions and thoughts throughout the day is tedious but is one of the best ways to truly see how you react to other people’s words, judgements and situations that occur in your interactions with them. You’ll be watching your inner child, react through the adult you as you move through life. It’s very revealing and tends to surprise you from time to time.
Admittedly it is a lot of work, but the benefit of a better quality of life with less suffering makes it worthwhile. And, as an added gain, choosing to undergo this process is very engaging and imbues one with a sense of meaning and fascination.
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