Loving your Inner Child

Just recently, I have been doing a lot of inner child work with very interesting results. Touching the part of our emotional memory that has been locked away for years, can be a powerful, enlightening experience.

Our inner child is the full complement of childhood feelings, needs and memories. It is very helpful to picture or feel these feelings, needs and memories in the image of a child. Some people have benefited from finding a photo of themselves as a child, and placing it in a prominent location in their home as a visual reminder.

We love ourselves to the degree we accept and love our inner child. So if we ignore our inner child, we can’t fully love ourselves. It’s that important! If a girl was frequently ignored by her parents, she may learn by example to ignore her inner child, to feel that her inner child doesn’t deserve loving attention. Her parents basically demonstrated that adults are more important than children. So, as an adult, she thinks she is finally important. She ignores her inner child, and then wonders why she has so much trouble with her relationships.

So how can you love your inner child?  First, identify the ways you were hurt as a child. There was physical violence in my childhood – not just in my home but also in the neighbourhood and in school. It’s obvious how this hurt and scared me. It was physical as well as psychological. Less obvious is the damage done by a father who works too much, even though it’s in the name of providing for his family. His children may feel the pain of his abandonment but, as adults, they may justify his actions and ignore their own suffering. Then they may fail to understand their own deep need for fathering, or their fear of abandonment.

This brings us to the second way to love your inner child. Identify the needs you had as a child, especially the needs that were not met. Some of us were not held enough as children. Our inner child still needs to be held. If we don’t see this clearly enough, we may try to get this need met through sex. But this never fully works, because the need for holding cannot be satisfied by sex alone. There also needs to be non-sexual holding of our inner child.

Many of us received the message that we’re not good enough, that we didn’t measure up to our parents’ expectations. We felt the pain of being criticised for not doing a good enough job, getting B’s instead of A’s, being too fat, or too skinny. Then we wonder why we get angry at the slightest hint of a criticism.

Ultimately, as individuals, we need to identify and make full use of our own inner parent. There can be no complete healing of our inner child without the love of our inner parent. We can even become stuck as an inner child, hopeless of ever feeling safe in this world. We can become victims of our own childhoods, robbed of our goodness.

Feeling our inner parent doesn’t depend on our having physical children. All of us have a loving inner parent, the part of ourselves capable of nurturing, protecting, and understanding. All of us have held children, animals, or even plants with a tender and yet protective love. That’s our inner parent.

Now wrap those same loving arms around yourself. Feel your inner parent tenderly holding your inner child. Feel the part of you that loves and nurtures, as well as the part of you that needs the loving and nurturing. Speak loving words to your inner child, words that directly address the most vulnerable needs: “You are precious. You are always good enough. I will keep you safe. You deserve all good things…”

If you do this exercise sincerely and frequently, you will notice real change for the better. When your inner child feels the love of your inner parent, you become whole, you become free.

Dr. Nicholas Jenner is a Counseling psychologist in private practice working with individuals,couples,  groups and companies globally. Online therapy is, in his experience, effective for treating a number of major conditions. Are you having issues that you need to talk through? He has a range of plans that can help you get the help you need.  Online Therapy details : Here ……

12 Thoughts

  1. This one is mine: “Many of us received the message that we’re not good enough, that we didn’t measure up to our parents’ expectations.” Not both parents, but Dad was always willing to let you know you didn’t do it right.

    1. That act alone helps but it is generally the work done in inner child therapy as whole that can make a difference. Wrapping your arms around your inner child comes after a process of discovery and trust building. It is part of the reparenting process that helps to reconnect with the inner child.

  2. Can I be honest? While I certainly agree that much of our hang-ups began in childhood, I think we’d all do better to just admit we have some “issues”, that they started in childhood and then move on. Sometimes I think we get way too introspective when we just need to get on with it. It’s too easy to get caught up in the past. I know for myself, I learned to handle my depression when I adopted this approach. Hope this doesn’t make me sound like a skeptci. I get what your saying. I just don’t see the point of this whole “inner child” business.

    1. Thanks for being honest and of course, acceptance of depression is important and necessary for recovery and I am pleased that this works for you. However, it does not work for everyone and some people need to go back and make sense of what was to be able to go forward. Inner chid therapy is just one way of doing this. In the right hands, it is a very powerful tool and its results continue to amaze me after many years of practice. It is not something you can understand until you have tried it. I have also read your latest post. A lot of what you advocate (taking responsibility, using internal resources) is also found in inner child therapy.

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