The inner child loves to make itself known during times of change or when you are pushing your personal boundaries. This change can happen either by choice or when something new is imposed on you by a circumstance outside of your control. The inner child often reveals itself in these times, through a sense of fear, or thoughts that usually revolve around worrying whether you can do this or not, or whether or not you are safe. It also might remind you of another time that you tried to do something different or when you were in this situation and did not go so well. After working through this with a client recently, I wanted to give some tips for how to deal with this inner child and not let him/her get in your way, but instead become an ally.
Get in the Right Headspace
A lot of the time people get discouraged or think something is wrong with them when an old wound comes up and makes them feel certain emotions that they would rather not feel. They look at it like they are reverting into an old pattern, or even worse they use the fear and the inner dialogue as a reason to give up. However, usually if something is coming up for you it means that it is ready to be dealt with and let go of. This means that you are actually growing as a person. Keeping this in mind, and knowing that there is nothing wrong with you, can help to make it easier to deal with the inner child.
Allow it in
If your inner child is coming up so that it can move through you and out, you want to allow it to do that instead of resisting it. It is easy to try and ignore your inner child because it can be uncomfortable and bring up some difficult emotions. However, it is important to remember that what you resist persists, so don't try to push it away because it is difficult. It is better to deal with it now and let it go than to carry that around with you and let it get in the way of moving forward in your life.
Talk to it
Once you allow your inner child to be there, you can try to get a better understanding of why it is showing up and what it needs to be released. Try asking it some questions like, where does it think you are, how old is it, how is it trying to help you, and why is it showing up now? Allow yourself to just sit in silence until you hear or know the answer. It may be easier to do a stream of consciousness writing by asking the question and just writing down whatever you think of until you feel like something clicks or makes sense to you.
Play a Movie of Your Life
Oftentimes you will hear the inner child say that it is trying to keep you safe or that it is worried that whatever it is you are trying to do will allow you to be hurt or fail. This is when I like to have clients play a movie in their head. In this movie, you want to show your inner child how far you have come in your life, and all the ways you have showed up for yourself. If you are just now starting to show up for yourself and don't have much to show, maybe it's as simple as showing your inner child that you are reading this blog and are willing to start trying. Maybe you show it the one time when you tried something new and succeeded. Or maybe you show it what strengths you do have that you can rely on to make it through. Whatever it is that your inner child needs to hear or see to make it relax, show it that.
Ask for Help
Once the inner child knows it can begin to relax, you still may notice that there is some resistance and that it is unwilling to completely go away. Keep in mind that the inner child is a part of you and asking it to go away completely may feel like killing off a part of yourself. Instead, ask your inner child how it would like to help you on this journey that you are embarking on and then ask it how it would like to do that. Maybe it would like to help you have fun and remember to play in whatever it is you are doing. Maybe it would like to help you remember to practice self-care. Or maybe it will help to alert you to when something is not right for you.
Knowing that your inner child will probably show up every time there is a shift or some transformation in your life makes it easier to deal with. Reparent it, and use these techniques to make it work for you instead of against you. And when the dust has settled from the change you have experienced and you have made it out safely, remember to show your inner child that it all worked out and to celebrate the win with something your inner child would love like ice cream or a fun activity. Let us know how your inner child work is going in the comments below.