How to Find Your Inner Child
In the previous article, What Does Reparenting Mean & How to Begin Reparenting Your Inner Child, we were leading up to learning how to find your inner child.
Over on The Root and Rise Podcast, I talk a lot about my experience with childhood traumas, neglect, and parenting myself. You can listen to this episode below!
How to Find Your Inner Child
Now that we know what the inner child is and why it’s so important to reparent those parts of ourselves, how do we find the inner child? One of the best and most uncomfortable places to start is when you notice yourself feeling triggered. Or feeling very reactive or emotional as a response to something in your life.
Triggers themselves are important to dive into, but not the focus of today’s topic. I have a whole episode on How to Deal with Triggers for you to check out. I also have free Journal Prompts for Triggers and Inner Child Journal Prompts.
Identifying Your Inner Child
Your inner child can come up as a response to events in the media. Or from someone else’s behavior bringing up a strong emotional response in you. Our children are also very common sources of these triggers. Because as I said earlier, they are some of our greatest teachers. There is something about raising a child that will bring up all of the parts of your childhood you have long forgotten.
Whenever these emotional responses and triggers come up, that’s a great place to start looking for your inner child. For the need that is not being met or the love and attention you need. It’s ok if you can’t go there at that very moment. But take note, maybe write it down, and explore it further once you are more emotionally regulated or chilled out.
Exercise to Meet Your Inner Child
My therapist introduced me to how to find my inner child by asking me to picture one of my favorite and most relaxing settings – which was a beach that I used to visit alone in Hawaii. She then asked me to picture myself at that place, with no one else around. Slowly, and one by one, to have different versions of myself join me and create a circle. Really taking note of the different versions that walk into the circle.
There is the child version of me. Untouched by trauma but neglected by her mother. There is a teenager version of me, who has experienced sexual assault and is lost and alone. A young adult version of me, in an abusive relationship. She is unable to see her self-worth and is accepting the toxic behaviors she feels she deserves.
There is the adult version of me, who has just left my abuser. I’m broken but empowered. Finding myself and discovering my worth. There is a grieving adult daughter after the loss of her mother – who left this earth with no closure. The pregnant version of me, the new mother, and all of the way up until this version of me that I am today. The one that entered the circle to begin with.
Once all of these versions of yourself are in your circle, consider which one needs attention right now. What age are they? Maybe you’ve been recently triggered by something and one of these versions is living the source of the trigger – like my version in an abusive relationship. Or maybe you’ve had something on your mind a lot recently – like I’ve had with my mother’s passing.
Give this version of yourself space to be in their experience. To talk about their experience. What are they currently going through? How are they feeling at the moment? What are their thoughts about themselves? And their future? What did they need at that moment? This need might not have been fulfilled.
Validating Your Inner Child
That is the practice of finding your inner child. Listening to your inner child. And acknowledging your inner child.
Looking at this past version of yourself, as your present-day self. Really meet them with compassion and love. What would you say to them? And what would these other versions of yourself say to them? Consider each version of yourself in the circle and whether or not they have input on the situation. The older, wiser versions might offer wisdom and comfort. And the younger, unaffected versions might offer simple and childlike yet honest input.
How to Reparent Yourself
While this exercise already has elements of learning how to reparent yourself, I have many more tips and resources to offer you for this healing journey. Continue reading to learn more!
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