What Is Your Inner Child?

What Is Your
Inner Child?

Your inner child is the part of your psyche that existed prior to receiving preconceived narratives about yourself, others, and the world; the part that still retains its innocence, creativity, awe, and wonder toward life. Put simply, your inner child is the kid that lives within your heart space. This is more than just the expression of your child self, but your lived experiences through all stages. Because early experiences play a significant role in your development as an adult, your inner child is a source of great strength. Thus, it is vital that we stay connected with this strong, sensitive, and curious part of ourselves. A connection to your inner child can help you feel excited, invigorated, and inspired by life.

Your inner child is always a powerful healer and source of strength, however, you may have a deeply wounded inner child from negative childhood experiences or trauma(s). If you often feel lethargic, bored, unhappy, and empty, these may be signs that you’re disconnected from your inner child and they are still carrying around old wounds. We must address the source of these wounds to heal your inner child and, therefore, release ourselves from these experiences.

Signs of a Wounded Inner Child

  • Deeply feeling like there’s something wrong with you
  • Disproportionate anxiety around trying new things
  • People-pleasing
  • Having sex when you don’t want to in order to please others
  • Conflict avoidance
  • Lacking a strong individual identity
  • Rebelling without a cause (desire to start conflict for the sake of conflict)
  • Hoarding or having trouble letting go of things
  • Feeling guilty standing up for yourself
  • Feelings of inadequacy
  • Overachiever and/or perfectionist
  • Difficulty starting or finishing tasks
  • Fear or shame around expressing strong emotions such as anger or sadness
  • Experiencing emotions as 0-100 (e.g. skipping mad and going straight to rage)
  • Feeling embarrassment or shame around natural bodily functions
  • Out of control sexual behavior
  • Distrusting of everyone, including self
  • Avoiding people and/or fearing others
  • Suffering with addiction
  • Never having felt a strong connection to one or both of your primary caregivers
  • Fear of abandonment
  • Difficulty or inability to say “no”
This by no means is an exhaustive list of how a wounded inner child presents and if you’re like me, you see yourself in at least a few of these items. I want to be clear that relating to this list does not mean anything is wrong with you, inversely, it basically means you are like most humans today. Most of us carry around both big and little traumas that affect the way we relate to ourselves and others. In the next sections I will explore the how to and the benefits of connecting to and healing your inner child.
young girl chasing a bubble

How to Develop a Relationship With Your Inner Child

The first step to connecting through inner child work is to keep an open mind, invoke the spirit of the child by remaining curious. Resistance or the lack of belief that you are capable of getting in touch with your inner child can present a barrier to connection. A few great ways to connect include:

  • Having an open dialogue with your inner child (outloud or in your head)
  • Journaling from the perspective of your inner child
  • Guided meditations to meet your inner child
  • Meditating to feel in touch with your inner child 
  • Caring for an object that represents your inner child (e.g. a doll, toy, etc.) 
  • Invoking the spirit of your inner child by being playful and not taking yourself too seriously
  • Engaging in the activities you enjoyed as a child (e.g. dancing, painting, running, etc.)
  • Allowing yourself to fail and learning from it
  • Learning to parent yourself (nurturing and taking care of yourself)
  • Consensual kink or BDSM scenes that feel healing 

Benefits of Inner Child Work

As stated earlier, connecting with your inner child can help you feel excited and inspired. When we work with our inner child, we are healing old wounds and traumas, therefore, you might remember repressed memories that are keeping you from reaching your full potential. Inner child work is very powerful and can help you feel again after years of experiencing numbness. Through learning to reparent your inner child, and in turn yourself, you are learning how to take better care of yourself. You are giving space to feel the full range of human emotion and learning what works best for you in how to cope with those emotions. You are also going to be able to understand your boundaries better and be able to implement them with others. 

Inner child work often has the benefit of increasing compassion, especially for ourselves which can lead to gained confidence. Lastly, my favorite benefit of all, is that you are able to let go, have fun, and enjoy the wonders of life. 

Difficult Work for a Big Reward

I want to be clear, inner child work is very powerful and can be really difficult. It can stir up a lot of memories and emotions that you thought you had gotten over. I suggest doing this work with a trained professional, however, if you are inclined to do it on your own please take it slowly and be gentle with yourself. 

Additionally, connecting with your inner child does not mean that you are immature or are avoiding growing up. This work can actually make it easier to understand your adult experience, help heal the pain from your past, and tackle any future challenges with a new perspective and gained self-compassion. Connecting with your inner child can also be viewed as a form of self care, helping you regain a childlike sense of joy and wonderment. Depending on your wounds, it may be difficult at first to hear and connect with your inner child, so remember to take it slow, respect their boundaries, and in time, together, you can create a more whole sense of self. If you’d like to learn more, contact us today to talk to an expert therapist.