Healing Our Inner Child
Healing is a process we often associate with physical ailments. When we break our arm, catch a cold, or scrape our knee, we know our bodies instinctively have the tools to mend us back to health. This happens unconsciously, as our bodies kick into overdrive to get us back to our normal state.
But, what about our mental health? Are we able to heal from our inner wounds too? I’d argue yes - if we put in the work.
As adults, we are able to recognize that there are certain unresolved issues that continue to pop up throughout our lives. Have you ever been triggered by something someone said or did, and irrationally lash out? Where did that even come from? There are always underlying reasons to our behavior, and to lead healthier, happier lives, pinpointing these triggers is essential to our healing.
There are four main inner child wounds:
Abandonment wound: tends to feel left out, scared to be alone, co-dependent, and often attracts emotionally unavailable people
Guilt wound: tends to feel like things are always their fault, doesn’t like to ask anyone for things, doesn’t set boundaries, often attracts people who make them feel guilty
Neglect wound: tends to hold onto things, has low self-esteem, angers quickly, doesn’t say no, bottles up emotions, tends to attract people who take them for granted
Trust wound: tends to have their guard up, finds reasons to not trust others, has low self-esteem, tends to attract those who don’t feel safe as well
So, how do we heal from these wounds?
The first step to healing your inner child wounds is being able to pinpoint what these wounds and triggers are. Sometimes they are not as easily identifiable as a specific traumatic experience. Maybe your parents didn’t love you in the way you receive love (different love languages come into play here). Maybe you never had close friendships or a romantic relationship. Maybe you were excluded by your peers.
These “subtle” experiences (not obviously harming) can sometimes be even harder to work through, as they are harder to get to the root of. It may take some real deep diving into your past hurt (as well as doing some work with a professional) to bring these wounds to light. But once you do, then the real healing can begin!
The second step is recognizing your wounds and triggers as lessons. We are all here to learn and grow, and whether we realize it or not, we have learned from every experience we've had thus far. Remember: you’ve survived 100% of your bad days - so pat yourself on the back for that! Our “negative” experiences have allowed us to grow to be more resilient, and they also teach us what matters most to us. What do you value? These incidents have probably shaped your thinking, thus also shaping your priorities in every aspect of your life.
The third step is acknowledging him/her/they. Yes, acknowledge your inner child! Check in with how he/she/they are doing. What is he/she/they trying to communicate to you? It is essential to create a “dialogue” with the child in you to ensure you are addressing every wound that needs healing. Talk to him/her/they as if they were a loved one - gently and lovingly. To do this, you can write a letter, or even a video journal to your past self. Show him/her/they the compassion you always wished you received! This will not only help you in healing your past, but also give you a self love boost.
Lastly, it is essential to allow yourself to feel the hard emotions. I know, you want to suppress these feelings, bottle them up and chuck it in the ocean. But, to truly heal, you must feel! This may require you to go back to when these experiences occurred, and yes, it may cause a rush of unwanted emotions. But, remember, that our emotions are tools to provide us information - they do not define us, and they can be fleeting if we let them. When we allow ourselves to be immersed in these emotions, we are able to then release them, as we have fully processed that feeling enough that it is no longer trapped inside us.
By being able to pinpoint our wounds and triggers, recognize them as lessons, continuously listen to our inner child, and let ourselves feel our emotions without letting them consume us, we are then able to release these pent-up emotions that have been trapped in our bodies for so long. This is inner child healing: the release of past feelings so that they no longer control our current behaviors.
While it does take time, learning how to heal ourselves mentally is just as important as healing ourselves physically. If we want to break our negative behavior patterns, it all starts with purposefully looking within.
So, what do you say, are you ready to heal? As a women empowerment life coach, I'm ready to tackle your battles with you! I am currently offering free one-on-one sessions which won't last for long, so email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up. Happy healing!