A few years ago, back at film school, I took a class called Psychology of Acting. In one of the class sessions, we did a exercise called “your inner child”.
In this, our lovely teacher (who has had a massive impact on my emotional life) guided us through a relaxation thing where we ended up meeting our inner child in our subconscious space.
It might sound strange to some of you and completely natural to others, but either way, it was quite a remarkable – and highly emotional – experience.
Have you ever thought about your inner child? Did you even realise that he/she exists?
Our inner child is the child we once were, and this child still lives inside of us, holding on to all the hurt, pain and suffering we went through as children – mostly because he/she didn’t get to work it out during that time. Some things we go through – even little things that doesn’t seem so bad – are a lot bigger for children, and oftentimes children’s feelings are misunderstood, because adults don’t understand that something small to them can be significantly hurtful to a child.
The reason I wanted to bring this up is because as we grow older, our inner child is still hurt, and will keep hurting until we fix it. But as we grow older, that child gets suppressed, as we’re trying to fit in to the adult world, forgetting all about the child.
The problem is, that your inner child will never go away. It’s always a part of us, and if we don’t acknowledge it, it can start taking over our lives without us knowing it.
And this can hinder us in living the lives we really want.
The inner child lives in our subconscious mind. And from there it can rule however it wants, if we let it (or more like if we don’t give it attention).
All those irrational fears, depression, anxiety, critical thoughts and various issues with food, intimacy, etc. in your current life come from somewhere. And more often than not, it has its roots in your childhood and the things you went through back then (even for those of you who had a nice and peaceful childhood).
Now, you must know that your inner child is not doing this out of spite or because it’s evil – it’s only doing it to try to get you to understand your hurts and pains. It wants you to acknowledge it, and help him/her deal with it, to move on with life.
All your child needs is a bit of attention, and plenty of love and comfort.
So what areas in your life do you feel is the most problematic? Can you say a specific reason to why that is?
That exercise I mentioned at the start, where we got to sit down and meet our inner child, is a very simple exercise. You can do it too, if you want to!
HOW TO: meet your inner child
- Sit down in a comfortable chair (or lie down if you prefer), and make sure you relax on a deeper level, so that your subconscious mind can open up.
- Imagine each and every muscle (one by one), from the top of your head down to the toes, relaxing and becoming soft as jelly.
- Slowly count backwards in your mind, from 5 to 1 (or from 10 to 1 if you’re new to this process), imagining yourself walking down a staircase (the staircase to your subconscious) as you do, feeling more and more relaxed as each number passes your mind, and you take a step further down.
- When you feel fully relaxed, imagine yourself at a place you remember from your childhood. It can be your family home, your school, a secret hiding place, a playground, or any other place that comes to your mind.
- When you are able to see this place clearly in your mind, imagine your child self walking towards you. Notice the clothes the child is wearing, the hair, the expression on his/her face.
- Go to meet this child and tell them who you are. Tell them you want to be their friend. This could be the emotional part, depending on how you felt as a child. Reach out your hand and let your child take it when he/she is ready. Hold it for a while and tell them you will always be here. Tell your child self how much you love you. You can also ask the child if he/she has anything to say to you, and make sure to listen if they do.
- Stay in this moment for a little while, just holding or talking to your inner child, until it is time to say goodbye for now. Make sure to reassure your child that you are there for him/her, and that you love him/her.
- Return back to the room you’re sitting in, by imagining how you are walking back up the staircase of your subconscious, counting from 1 to 5 or 10 as you do. Open your eyes when you are ready, and take in the moment and experience.
How do you feel after doing that? Was it emotional? Did your child tell you something you needed to hear?
Every now and then, remind yourself to hold your inner child’s hand and tell them everything is OK, because you are here. Love and nurture him/her as if it was your own child (because, in a way, it is), and you will do wonders to your adult self as well.
Jo (as an adult and a child)