Parenting the Inner Child
Would you let a child run your life?
I am sure your answer is, “Absolutely not!”
Well guess what?
It happens to us all the time when we don't attend to our childhood hurts and pain with mindful awareness.
We all have an inner child living in the half-remembered store of emotional experiences that ushered us through childhood.
Many of us mature in age, but our emotional state stays undeveloped. We operate in life triggered and reactive from the wounded soul of our inner child who keeps on showing up wanting to be noticed, cared for and loved.
Our parents did the best they could when they raised us. But each child, each day, each combination of needs and circumstances is completely different. Even when parents do the best they can, there are times when children feel vulnerable, unsafe and unloved.
Subconscious beliefs form in childhood
Emotional fear and pain affects how we perceive ourselves and others. It shapes what we come to believe. Moments of feeling unsafe and unloved can transmute into beliefs such as:
I’m not good enough
I’m not lovable
I’m not worthy
I don’t matter
The world isn’t safe—
I can’t do that; I can’t trust myself; I can’t trust other people.
All too often, these turn into powerful, persistent, limiting beliefs that can be summed up as …
“There is something wrong with me!”
You don’t need trauma to feel traumatised
Even without traumatic events, strong emotions such as fear and anger arise naturally in response to all sorts of childhood experiences.
Since children are naturally ego-centric (all things are about them and because of them), coping with strong emotions generates strong self-centred beliefs …
“Mum’s upset. It’s my fault.”
“Dad’s not listening. I’m not good enough to matter.”
Shame often accompanies limiting beliefs. It feeds into our emotional and behavioural patterns. It influences our decision-making. It affects the relationships we form with others. It becomes part of the lens through which we view the world.
But carrying hurt childhood feelings into adulthood conditions us to misread situations. The inner child reacts to what it perceives as hurtful behaviour. Old internal narratives spark strong emotions and we react in frustration, usually with anger and shame.
Meet your inner child
When we react from the hurt heart of a child, we tend to either loud or quiet extremes.
Loud adult temper tantrums include lashing out, yelling and storming off.
Quiet pain turns to silence. We disconnect, check out, disassociate, preferring not to communicate at all.
Neither of these emotional patterns allow us to live a full, well-balanced life. Instead, our inner child is crying out for compassionate attention—wanting to be seen and heard, wanting to be loved.
Unbeneficial habits persist in our adult lives until we are willing to slow down and bring mindful, kind, loving, compassionate attention to our needs.
It is our responsibility and within our power as adults to attend to our past pain and hurts. We can connect, communicate and take good care of our inner child. We might ask:
Why do I feel so angry/anxious even though this is really no big deal?
Is it me, the adult, reacting so strongly? What am I feeling? Why do I feel this? What am I thinking? Why do I think this?
These questions speak to the inner child who is asking to be seen, heard and loved, not ignored.
If you have a problem, don’t waste it
Our childhood hurts and pain can be a portal to greater awareness. When we take ourselves on the journey of healing our inner child, we commit to a powerful process of transformation.
We shed habitual behaviour and build a supportive relationship with our inner child. We soften our heart and listen. Through mindful practice, we learn how to honour, connect and communicate with our inner child.
from Letters to a Young Poet
“How should we be able to forget those ancient myths that are at the beginning of all peoples, the myths about dragons that at the last moment turn into princesses; perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless that wants help from us.
― Rainer Maria Rilke
Reparenting is a healing process
When we attend our uncomfortable feelings, limiting beliefs and restrictive stories (especially those which formed due to painful and charged events), we start the powerful process of reparenting ourselves with love, kindness and compassion.
When we practice (and it is a practice) non-judgmental self-compassion, a space for healing forms within and we find we can act, react and respond to life with maturity.
Through reparenting, we grow our capacity to pay attention to our own needs, and be kind with ourselves no matter what.
As we soften towards ourselves, we soften with others; we soften to life itself.
No one else can do this for us. No one else can fill the void of childhood pain. We can nurture ourselves as we would an innocent child reaching up for the perfect reassurance of unconditional love.
How can inner child work help?
Through Parenting the Inner Child, I work with you to co-create a safe space for you to re-meet and listen to your inner child with loving attention.
The program entrusts you with tenderness. This in itself creates permission. Permission to examine your inner child’s stories using techniques such as guided visualisations, structured self-inquiry, bodywork, intuitive handwriting and mindful meditation practices.
All methods and practices are designed to help you:
• Reconnect with your inner child
• Attend to pain
• Continue to be open and aware when your inner child acts up in your life needing loving attention.
Is your inner child feeling confused, ashamed or ignored?
Choose to be your own loving parent. With gentle, tender, trusting steps, open up the healing flow of unconditional love
Become aware of and attend your needs with self-compassion
Gain greater understanding of who you really ar
Learn to encounter challenges in a way that lets fear subside
Expand your safe space by developing healthy boundaries with others
Attend other people's needs with greater understanding and compassion
Grow the child within you to be joyfully present in your adult life
Let immature reactions diminish as you learn to trust yourself by being mindfully aware.
If your inner child is hungry for unconditional love, don’t make them wait any longer. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to have a chat about how you can help your inner child feel safe, heard and loved.