It can be daunting to start working with your inner child in order to heal. It’s often seen as an intense process that can bring up a lot of emotions and memories — some not so pleasant, and that can be hella scary. If you’re not ready for it, or if you’re not sure how to get started, here are three simple methods that can help you connect with your inner child and ease into the work.
I’m a big believer in easing our way into things rather than dismissing them completely, and inner child work is a form of healing the part of us that is deeply hidden and buried, that’s connected to our playfulness, our creativity, and our spontaneity. Your inner child is a part of your personality, and the part of you that spans your entire childhood.
Inner child work is a beautiful way to connect with a part of you that’s still troubled in some way that is producing issues in your life today. Your inner child is the part of you where most of your challenges and issues in adulthood stem from because events and experiences in childhood created beliefs you hold onto throughout your life.
A Personal Example
When I younger than two, my father left Nigeria to come to the UK to better life for his family. At the airport, young me was bawling her eyes out as my dad walked through departures because I felt he not only left, but he left me. I felt abandoned. I was crying for him to stay, but he didn’t listen to me and he left me behind. Right in that moment, my mind developed the belief that that I don’t matter and that people close to me will reject me. That event was my first experience of abandonment and a feeling of rejection.
How do you suppose that impacted my life going forward? Of course, fear of rejection was very much embedded in me; fear of abandonment was very much embedded in; the need to be wanted was very much embedded in me; the need to people please so that people don’t leave was very much embedded in me. And I carried that all the way to adulthood. All from an event that happened when I was two years old.
So where does inner child work come in? It’s where I can sit with my younger self and console her, I can reassure her, I can validate her, and I can love her. This form of healing is an incredible way to reparent the younger version of yourself who went through a lot, but it doesn’t have to require you to look at traumatic scenes and dig all of your past. There’s a way to ease your way in because starting small is better than not starting at all.
1. Recall happy childhood memories
Things that made you laugh as a child; those places you went to that were fun; the things that you loved to eat as a child. This is as simple as sitting down, closing your eyes, and just taking yourself back to those memories and those instances, those fun times, those trips; it’s a beautiful way to connect beauty and have an association of positivity with your inner child. Another thing you can do is to connect with people who knew you as a child, and ask them about fun or happy childhood stories.
2. Flip through photo albums
Go through old photos, especially photos that are connected to happy moments and places. Look into the eyes of your inner child, and notice what you see. You might see mischief; you might see fatigue; you might see contentment; you might see hurt. Looking at your inner child’s photo, tell her what you know she would love to hear in that moment, and go ahead and say it out loud.
3. Write a love letter to your inner child
This is one of my favourite ways to connect with my inner child, and you can do it in conjunction with a photo. Looking at a photo of your inner child, or seeing her in your mind, write a letter of love expressing what she needs to hear. Maybe she didn’t get the reassurance that she needed back then; maybe she didn’t get the embrace that she needed back then; maybe she didn’t get the validation that she needed back then. The beautiful thing is that you can give it to her now by writing a love letter.
If you need some inspiration, here’s one I wrote to my 7 year old self:
Inner child work is a healing not just for your inner child and all of the things she went through, but it’s also a healing for you as an adult now. It’s the love, the validation, and the care you deeply sought that you can now give yourself. It’s a beautiful form of reparenting where you get to show up for your self as a loving parent because you know, more than anyone, what you need.
Getting started with inner child work can feel daunting or overwhelming, and you can also have amazing breakthroughs through it. These three simple ways are great for you to dip into inner child healing with little to no pressure.
Which sounds easiest for you?