Has he or she gone AWOL? Resident in ALL of us as adults, the inner child informs the emotions we experience every day. Whether we sense and cognise ‘triggers’ of happiness, or when it’s sad or negative, you can bet it’s the inner child who is smiling – or hurting!
Below is an excerpt from a book I myself have used to help repair my own inner child. I do recommend Reconciliation – Healing the Inner Child – Thich Nhat Hanh, but you may find a guiding hand useful, as you travel what is usually a highly emotive journey to ease the transition for finding your ‘lost’ little one!
In each of us, there is a young suffering child. We have all had times of difficulty as children and many of us have experienced trauma. To protect and defend ourselves against future suffering, we often try to forget those painful times. Every time we’re in touch with the experience of suffering, we believe we can’t bear it, and we stuff our feelings and memories deep down in our unconscious mind. It may be that we haven’t dared to face this child for many decades.
Somewhere around the age of 27 I began to lose sight of my “inner child!” Does this mean I won’t ever find him again? Is he lost forever? And can I still find the fun in life? I found a career at 27, and simultaneously, began to take part in the amazing thing called parenthood – for the first time.
And so the subconscious reminders arrive!
It’s interesting today, when I observe clients in the therapy room who are experiencing parenting or other relationship difficulties, of how becoming married, and/or becoming a parent, appears to have brought all the ‘hidden’ subconscious learning of their own childhood to the fore. Just because we don’t consciously think about the less healthy learnings of our childhood, doesn’t mean it isn’t there. The wounded child is always there!
Life Gets Serious
Accountability for our actions becomes realised, often giving rise to confusion and an individuation from who we always thought we were – to morphing and perhaps growing into something collaborative and compromising (in relationships as a partner and as a parent), and often it is here that we might lose some ability and find ourselves unable to allow that inner child to continue to exist, let alone flourish. That’s how it was for me anyway, I have recently come to appreciate.
What is this Inner Child?
Whether we can appreciate this or not, we all have an inner child. That child we once were (who is still holding and maintaining many of our beliefs and emotions associated with childhood experiences), is in us for all our adult lives!
Those initial and formative years set a template for who we would become. In parenting and our relationships we might ourselves to be over-compensating for our childhood, trying to ensure our relationships with our lovers and children are better than that which we experienced.
When we are traumatised as a young person, we can and usually do carry this through to adulthood. If we had to become a carer for instance, we may miss the usual and expected ‘rights of passage’ otherwise learned and available, to be a child, playful and content to take at least some risk and explore boundaries as we would transition from child to adolescent, and from adolescent to adult; it may be here, that our ability to maintain that childhood innocence for some fun, that inquisitive streak and sense of playfulness – may be lost, or operate at a less than optimal level, leaving us too serious, too responsible, all of the time!
Balance and Harmony
I have a question for YOU! How can we regain or maintain that sense of fun? It’s about very much more than just being an adult AND having a sense of humour whilst enjoying the emotion of laughter. Even I still have this!
It’s perhaps playing (kind) jokes on others, and being able to receive same in the spirit tended. It’s still looking in awe at the skies, the clouds, the stars and the moon – in awe and wonderment. It’s observing playfully and with innocence other adults and children, animals and nature – and just for moments at a time, forgetting our conditioning that begins to be the inner narrative which mistakenly protests the world is a bad place, full of terrorists, criminals, paedophiles and murderers!
I’ve taken a moment to try and compose a little poetry… which is a first!
A Child Reclaimed
Waking in wonder
Without fear or judgement of the day ahead
The past is no more, the future remains safe in the hands of trust yet broken
Finding interest in words and meaning
Senses are true, reporting the tastes and smells, touch and sight – and the sounds
Feeling the sun or the rain with equal abandonment
Caring little how long they may last
Harsh words are temporarily forgotten
Kind words and encouragement grow trust in this place
Safe for a future unblemished by guilt and pain
Completing life’s journey both adult and inner child
What else would you do to regrow your appreciation of what it might once of been, or could have been, to be so innocent and playful, so inquisitive and unassuming? Perhaps you have already recognised this in your self on your journey and have managed to hold and maintain your playfulness? I certainly see this in others too!
As ever, I’d love to hear and share your views and experiences, whether you’re a little emotionally ‘stuck’, or have overcome such states. Do you have permission (from yourself) to be playful?
If you’d like help re-discovering your inner child, or perhaps repairing your thoughts and emotions of an unhappy inner child… call or write…
Gotcha! “YOU’RE IT!” Lol
Bob Brotchie is a counsellor, mindset consultant and creator of "Conscious Living by Design"™. He writes for Anglia Counselling, is featured on various other websites and introduces us to many guest writers all covering topics related to mental health and wellbeing.
Bob provides bespoke counselling services to individuals and couples in the privacy and comfort of a truly welcoming environment at his Anglia Counselling company office, located near Newmarket in Suffolk, England. Bob also provides professional online counselling, for local, national, and international clients. The therapeutic models offered are bespoke to the client’s needs, especially those in receipt of 'childhood emotional neglect' (CEN), whilst integrating a mindful approach to psychotherapy and cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) principles. For clients experiencing trauma and/or phobia, Bob offers EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing).