What is the Inner Child?
The “little you” – tender, emotional. Your inner-child is the innocent part of you – all about feelings and your primal needs.
Vulnerable and innocent
Deep feeling and sensitivity
Curious, creative and playful
Craves love, recognition, and validation
Desires connection and safety
Total in expression – be it anger, sadness, joy
Where did the term originate?
Carl Jung is reported to have originated the term “inner child” with the “divine child archetype”. It’s used as a concept to explore our challenges growing up and developing our personalities. In this sense, the “inner child” stays within us, forming a part of our consciousness as images. This has an impact on how we interact with the outside world.
Jung was a renowned psychology expert who founded many theories about personality, identity, and analytical psychology. His work has been studied the world over, and today, many of his theories and suggestions for improving one’s life are still used widely.
By connecting with our inner-child, we gain access to new information about our unhealed wounds, and the needs that may not have been met when we were actually children.
Healing the Child Within
In each of us, there is a young, suffering child. We have all had times of difficulty as children and many of us have experienced trauma. To protect and defend ourselves against future suffering, we often try to forget those painful times.
It may be that we haven’t dared to face this child for many decades. But just because we may have ignored the child doesn’t mean she or he isn’t there.
The wounded child is always there, trying to get our attention. The child says,
“I’m here. I’m here. You can’t avoid me. You can’t run away from me.”
We want to end our suffering by sending the child to a deep place inside, and staying as far away as possible. But running away doesn’t end our suffering; it only prolongs it. The wounded child asks for care and love, but we do the opposite.
How to recognize if you have a wounded Inner Child?
You feel that there is something wrong with you, in the deepest parts of yourself.
You experience anxiety when going out of your comfort zone.
You’re a people-pleaser.
You don’t have a strong sense of identity.
You deliberately like being in conflict with people around you.
You’re a hoarder of things, emotions, people, and you have a hard time letting go.
You feel inadequate.
You constantly criticize yourself for your supposed inadequacy.
You’re unforgiving to yourself, rigid and a perfectionist.
You have a hard time committing and trusting.
You have deep abandonment issues and would cling to relationships, even when they are toxic.
Healing the Child Within
Step 1: Stop and become aware of the child within
When we recognize the wounded child for the first time, all we need to do is be aware of him or her and say hello. That’s all.
Step 2: Use your triggers as a guide
When you are triggered this can be a sure sign that the inner child has been activated. Noticing patterns or cycles of behaviour where you are not operating in alignment with your highest self will help guide you.
Step 3: Soothe and nurture your inner child
By holding this child gently, we can soothe difficult emotions and begin to feel at ease. We’ll know where our suffering has come from, and when we see the roots of things, our suffering will lessen.
Want to learn more about how to soothe your Inner Child?