“What Does My Inner Child Mean?”
Your inner child is the echo of a voice within you that represents your child self.
Regardless of our age, or what stage we are at in our lives, we all have within us an inner child that retains all the thoughts and feelings that were absorbed through the experiences of our younger years.
If you were brought up in an environment that was challenging, if you have suffered neglect or trauma then your emotional and/or physical needs may not have been met during your childhood years. If you were not taught healthy coping strategies then you may have developed your own tools for coping and a set of beliefs that may not be serving you and that you may still be using today.
Each of us has our own stories and experiences and our inner child has stored the memory of those and their impact upon us.
“How Does Inner Child Therapy Work?”
Through therapy, we can begin to identify the voice and belief systems of our inner child and then start to heal and nurture those early wounds.
Our inner child can only heal if it feels confident that we as adults are able to meet our emotional and physical needs today. With the support of a therapist, we can consider our moral and intellectual belief systems, to consider their origins and whether they are helpful or unhelpful to us.
We can begin to separate the voice of the inner child from the voice of the internal parent – this voice mimics the messages and words of caution that we’ve absorbed from those who have raised us, such as; don’t play with matches; don’t speak to strangers; stop, look and listen when you cross the road. Many of these messages are important for our safety but some can be destructive and unhelpful. For example, certain foods make you fat or you must excel academically in order to be happy and successful.
Through inner child work, we are able to reflect on internally held beliefs and consider which we wish to retain, and which we wish to challenge.
Developing Self Compassion And Removing Negative Self Talk
The ‘nurturing parent’ or the ‘compassionate self’ is what we try to develop as part of the healing process.
This internal voice is one that comforts, guides and loves. Through mindfulness and practice, we can begin to take care of our inner child; this voice provides tolerance and patience for the journey ahead. When you’ve had a lifetime of negative self-talk it can take a lot of practice to strengthen this voice but don’t give up, you’ll get there. The secret is to keep going.
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