Working With and Healing the Inner Child
Many people are not aware they even have an inner child. It has just been operating unconsciously in the background. So, lets start with an introduction:
Close your eyes and take a few minutes to relax and connect with your body. Then simply ask your mind to introduce you to the part of yourself that is still a child. Your inner child.
Do your best to really visualize this aspect of yourself. At first, it may feel a little silly, but stick with it. Imagine shaking hands or hugging this aspect of yourself. Tell it, "I wasn't aware you were still a part of me, but now that I know, I would like to create a relationship with you."
Your inner child may react positively or negatively to this statement, it may even do nothing. Regardless of what reaction it has, you have started a new line of communication with your inner child. If it is receptive, ask your inner child what it would like to be called.
I've found from my personal work and working with clients, the inner child tends to be resistant at first. Like a child that has been ignored and abused by their parents. It acts out and is defiant. It is very much like a real child.
Because once you put in the time and energy of getting to know and heal the inner child, you gain a new level of mastery over your emotions. You are way less prone to random negative emotional outbursts - whether they be bursts of anger, sadness, fear, hurt, guilt, shame, or any others. As we heal the inner child, we experience inner peace. You become the master of your emotions.
So How Do We Tame It?
Imagine you are adopting a child who has been emotionally abused. He is resistant, closed off, and generally pouty. The first step is getting the child to open up and feel safe. (I've found the fastest way to get the inner child to open up is through unconditional love).
This may not be easy for some of you... showing yourself unconditional love. It means changing your inner dialog. Where in the past, perhaps you would beat yourself up for having an emotional outburst or reacting to someone you care about negatively - to heal the inner child, one needs to shift how they react to their own behavior.
Let’s be honest - emotions are not an easy thing to master. The key to mastering your emotions and inner child is consciousness. When our emotions become intense, we go unconscious. We lose the ability to think clearly. That is O K A Y. The goal is to become conscious again as quickly as possible after an emotional outburst. You begin to become conscious again when you ask, "Why did I react to _________?"
Once the inner child opens up and trusts you, you can start helping it mature. We help it mature by pulling in left-hemisphere logic and discipline. You explore behavior patterns with your inner child and help it realize when a pattern is not achieving the desired result.
If you try to tame the inner child through discipline before showing it unconditional love, it will just resist you. Just like an angry child, you need to earn its trust before it will listen to you.