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  • Jennifer Stafford

Who is Your Inner Child?

The cry we hear from deep in our hearts, comes from the wounded child within. Healing this inner child's pain is the key healing to transforming anger, sadness and fear. - Thich Nhat Hanh

Inner child is a term that has steadily increased in popularity over the past few decades. In my professional opinion, it may be en route to becoming a mainstream phrase over the next couple of years. If this is your introduction to the concept then you may be onto something significant when it comes to increasing your self-knowledge.

At least that is what some medical professionals, researchers, philosophers and spiritual healers believe. I also believe it and so did the well respected Psychologist Carl Jung, who first suggested the concept of the inner child when he introduced the idea of Jungian Archetypes back in the early 20th century. Not to worry, I will explain and define as we go. The idea of the inner child states that there are unconscious drivers that influence our mind and behavior, thus impacting the whole of our personality. These unconscious drivers stem from what we have learned and experienced during our earliest years of life.

These learnings and experiences imprint upon us during our early brain development creating templates for our way of being. These invisible templates make up predominant parts of our personality. If these learnings and experiences are negative because of trauma, neglect and anxieties the inner child learns to behave in traumatic, neglectful and anxious ways.

Are you starting to understand why this sort of self-knowledge may be critical to our experiencing of life?

Discord in sense of belonging, dealing with death, facing fears and lacking the feeling of love have been at the root of every symptom I have ever treated. When you think about it, those are the ingredients to every mental health diagnosis in the book. In acknowledging and recognizing the inner child's trauma and hurt we can allow for healing to begin.

When the child within us sustains in anger, fear, guilt, shame or rage, they either withdraw from the world or lash out at the world and/or at those closest to them. They may think childlike and hold onto nonsensical black and white belief systems as an unconscious means of feeling in control and/or safe from the outside world. The inner child that is wounded is unable to manage their intense emotions and struggles to let things go.

Nurturing, love, kindness and guidance is what the wounded inner child needs. That requires patience. The wounded inner child needs to learn trust and how to feel whole again. This requires patience. If your inner child did not receive this, it is not too late. It is never too late to heal. It just requires patience.

It does not matter what color your skin is, what language you speak, where you live or how much money you earn; there is an inner child within all of us.

If you can open yourself up to seeing through this lens...does your inner child have any wounds? Have you checked in with yourself to find out?

If after deep self-reflection and introspection (aka thinking about your childhood) you find that your inner child is wounded, remember that there are sages, studies and some professional people out there that believe you can give yourself permission to heal.

You will need the curiosity of your inner child to look at the wounded side of itself. You will need your own patience and compassion when you inquire upon yourself. Remember your brain developed tricks early on in life in an attempt to protect you from feeling pain. You can give yourself permission to feel now, you can feel for your inner child now.

You are wiser, you are an adult now.

Gently and compassionately power through any resistance to heal, it is okay to practice trusting yourself. Your inner child needs you.

More than likely, it needs you to heal some wounds from childhood so that you can set your adult self free. So that you can be the person that your heart knows you to be.

The choice is up to you.



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