Last year I promised myself to add a new habit in my day-to-day life – meditation. It’s known as being beneficial to our mental health, and it’s powerful too to calm down and even discover yourself, so I thought I would love to experience that myself.
As with all the new habits, it was a real rollercoaster. I knew that it is not that easy to sit in one place for a long time, but I didn’t expect it to be THAT HARD. Meditation is not just sitting calm and thinking about nothing, it’s more about focusing your mind. And that, my friend, is hard work for those who are known for not being able to control their thoughts at all. I wasn’t prepared for that at all. But still, I kept going forward.
So, at first, I was trying to sit in silence. Silence is a fortune these days and I wasn’t lucky to find one as my neighbours were pretty loud. I found a way to cancel their noise – I began to listen to relaxing music (thank you Spotify). Later I joined Jay Shetty’s meditation challenge, where I experienced guided meditation for the first time. I found it easier to stick to, so started using guided meditations that I found on Spotify (there are so many of them!!!).
I found that there are plenty of different types of guided meditations. It is so interesting that they all are created with different purposes and you only need to use your imagination. You can take a wonderful walk in nature, you can sit under the waterfall and let the energy flow through your mind, you can connect with the world creating roots from your body, you can open your heart and share the love with all the people in the world.
There are so many things that you can do with your imagination and all of them are amazing, but I’ve noticed that meditations that require meeting your inner child were the most powerful for me.
I actually didn’t know about the inner child. Well, I heard the term, maybe once or twice in my life, but it was more in those situations when you hear someone saying don’t act childish, but that’s mainly it.
So when I attended this type of meditation it revealed that there more work to be done, some wounds that need to heal.
Can you imagine meeting your younger self? Would you even dare to do that?
I was afraid of meeting my younger self.
As the person who thinks that she’s a failure, I was afraid that I will be uncomfortable with her seeing me not as she wanted us to be in the future. I always tried to be a good girl, a people pleaser, follow the rules, and be something others wanted me to be, but I was making mistakes, I ignored my feelings, I lost myself and my path on the way. I was afraid of another round of embarrassment and feeling a failure. And still, I met her. And I cried. And I cry to this day when I meet her.
But meeting my inner child was a life-changing experience and I want to share this with you.
WHAT IS AN INNER CHILD?
A lot of psychologists agree that the inner child is the true part of each and every one of us. Of course, it’s is not physically there (unless you are pregnant), and we aren’t talking about dissociative identity disorder (multiple personalities). The inner child is more like a subpersonality or the side of our character or the subconscious part of our mind. It is a part of who we are as a person.
Now, as you can guess, your inner child is the same kid that you have been once. That means that you carried every experience, every memory, and feeling, into your adult life.
When we are young, our brain starts to collect information that turns into our subconscious mind. A lot of that information comes from our parents, our family, and the environment that we grow up in, and the experiences that we had. Besides that, as young kids, we have our own needs that need to be fulfilled (love, care, encouragement, etc.), so it is also recorded somewhere deep inside of our mind.
As we grow up, we forget the things we learned or experienced as kids (not all of them), but our subconscious mind, depending on our experiences, created different thought patterns and defence mechanisms to deal with all kinds of challenges we have to face as grown-ups. And that’s where the inner child comes in to play.
“The inner child reflects the child we once were in both his or her ‘negative’ and ‘positive’ aspects. Both our unmet needs and suppressed childhood emotions, as well as our childlike innocence, creativity, and joy, are still waiting within of us.”
If you are holding, ignoring or repressing emotions or do not want to share or don’t know how to express them, it might be that you were offered the attention only when you are “good”. And it might be the reason why your inner child is always in a mood of rebellion, or anger, or sadness. Or if you experienced trauma or abuse, you might learned to hide the pain and live in fear.
Our inner child has a lot to do with the way we live, the decisions we make, what kind of relationships we have, how happy or unhappy we are. A wounded inner child might be the reason why we get ourselves into destructive behaviour, like:
A wounded inner child, like a real child, might be narcissistic, impulsive, dependent, needy and have a huge fear of being abandoned. This behaviour leads in every part of their lives as they never learned how to control their emotions healthily, they refuse to take responsibility for their lives, they tend to act out and show their refusal.
We were all children once, and that child is still living inside of us. Not a lot of people are aware of that as we grew up hearing them saying “grow up” or “don’t act childish”. We’ve been told that we have to stop being kids, which means stop exploring, having fun and playing, discovering the world and creating joy, and finally, grow up. But most people never grow up. Most people just get old. Their inner child didn’t have time to be a child, to learn about the world, to get his/her basic needs, and properly heal from trauma. People grow up with their inner child being neglected, denied, ignored, pushed away or destroyed, and they take all of it to their further life. Imagine a six-year-old child living the life of a 40-year-old person. Imagine what kind of decisions they make, how much responsibility they have.
It might sound funny, but the way you live right now, the person you are at this moment is connected to the young version of who you are. Everything you’ve been through, what you wanted as a child, what you get and what you didn’t get shaped you into who you are.
WHY YOU SHOULD CONSIDER ABOUT YOUR INNER CHILD?
The child that you’ve been once still lives inside of you. And this child is the reason why it might be so hard for you to live a normal happy life. You might notice that you have some sort of reactions to certain situations that were unconsciously brought from your childhood.
Like, if you easily get angry about the things other people do (or don’t), maybe you feel unseen, not important enough, which might be emotional or physical neglect from your caregivers. Or if you tend to rebel against the rules or act out in certain situations, maybe you were not allowed to express your curiosity and suppress your playfulness.
Everything is ok until you realise that you would love to react differently. Maybe you feel that it creates a lot of mess, a lot of discomforts, and a lot of difficulties in your life and you want to change that behaviour.
There are a lot of ways how we can heal your inner child. This process, as a lot of psychological processes, isn’t fast, it requires a lot of patience, energy and most importantly – your willingness. It might be revealing and it also might be very painful. But it’s totally worth it.
Healing your inner child is uncovering and releasing those childlike acts so that you could start making decisions and respond to challenges as an adult, not as a kid.
I will dig deeper into the healing methods on my next blog post, but until now, if you are interested in healing your inner child, I would recommend doing the most import step – acknowledge your inner child. Tell yourself that you know that she/he exists and you love her/him the way they are. Believe in it. And I will see you next week!