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How to start inner child work.
Podcast show notes for Episode 5: Learn to Love Yourself at Any Stage: How to start inner child work.
The only person that will be by your side unconditionally and always is yourself. Be kind to yourself. It took me 25 years to feel love towards myself. I had moments of pride and appreciation, but I didn’t truly feel love for my body, mind and soul.
It’s not easy to love yourself. We’ve all done things we wish we hadn’t; we reject our own humanness. Society puts so much pressure on us and depending on where and who we grew up around, certain expectations may or may not have been set. This can impact your subconscious thinking.
From the ages of 0-7, we are the most impressionable. We pick up on what people are doing around us, most specifically, our parents. We model their behavior. Beyond that, up until 14, and arguably even until 25 as our brains are still developing, we are still very impressionable on a subconscious level. You aren’t even aware of this process.
You may have also noticed that if, for example, a parent is distant, you may have a tendency to be worried about what everyone thinks of you, and be worried about not upsetting others around you, rather than checking in on how YOU feel. This is because in your 0-7 year old brain, which only thinks in black and white and doesn’t have the ability to rationalize, you’ve developed this subconscious fear of being unlovable, or having to work really hard for attention that has now carried into adulthood.
This is just one example, and I’m not a psychologist, but this is proven by science. We present from our younger self the majority of the time. Someone is getting angry? Their inner child is triggered by an event specific to them. One of the greatest life hacks is using your feelings, especially anger and fear, to heal your inner child. You have the power to stop in these moments and think, “Where is this coming from? What is the core wound here? Is it feeling unlovable or ashamed? When was I triggered by something like this in childhood?”
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What really helped me come home to myself is speaking with my inner child. I remember the first time my therapist told me to do this. I imagined I was talking to my little self, which felt really awkward at first. I apologized for her feelings of hurt and internally felt a sigh of relief.
Now, when I feel angry, sad, scared, lonely, you name it, I put my hands on my legs and talk to my inner self. I ask myself why I’m feeling those low feelings. Sometimes I don’t have an answer, and that’s ok. Just giving myself time to feel is important.
Some triggers are incredibly painful and hard to work through. Especially if you experienced abuse, had family members who were or are addicts, or other extremely painful events, such as familial suicide or illness.
In that case I highly recommend you speak with a therapist before doing any inner child work, to have support along the way for anything that may come up.
There are also 12 step groups and local support groups if you or a family member have a certain condition. If you’re not sure where to start, reach out to your local hospital for resources.
If you have a little more money to spend: EMDR, massage therapy, acupuncture, sauna and other health treatments can be extremely beneficial supplementary things to try.
For your assignment, I want you to try speaking to your inner child:
Write a letter
Close your eyes and visualize hanging out with your younger self
Take a quiet moment and go for a walk in nature and see what feelings come up
Speak out loud and have a conversation as if your younger self was in the room
Sit and look at yourself in the mirror for five minutes
What was a time you felt hurt and why? Give them a hug and talk through the emotions.
What is something I can do that would make my inner child happy?
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