Inner child work is not just a fluffy spiritual concept, but has its roots in psychology and was regarded as fundamental for healing and peace by both Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud who are regarded as experts in psycho-analysis and psychology.
The more we continue to ignore the parts of ourselves that need to be healed, the longer our relationships with others and with ourselves will suffer. Deep inside all of us lives a wounded child who is desperate for love, attention, and validation — that child is you, it is your younger self. Even those of us who haven’t experienced severe trauma such as physical or sexual abuse most likely still have wounds that we are unknowingly carrying around with us all the time. Even though our parents might have done the best they could, and perhaps were typically loving and supportive, there could still be scars left on us and stored deep within our subconscious.
These scars may lead us to experience the constant need for validation and approval, feelings of unworthiness or not being good enough, fear of abandonment, or perhaps a deep lack of self-love.
These wounds will often manifest as aspects of our “shadow selves” and will typically come out and be expressed within the confines of our closest relationships. Until we’ve done the work to heal these wounds, we subconsciously enter relationships that will provide us with the same dynamics we had with our parents. For example, someone who is constantly attracting emotionally unavailable partners likely had at least one parent who was emotionally unavailable to them, and so subconsciously they try to heal those wounds through seeking love from partners and relationships that resemble the dynamics we had with our parents. Maybe we can relate to this ourselves or have friends who always seem to attract the same kind of partners, which is because the healing has not yet taken place and our subconscious mind is irrational–it just continues to act out this same pattern, this same search.
There is a lot of power in embarking on inner child healing work; I have recently begun the process of healing my own wounded inner child with the assistance of a trained therapist. I have already noticed a huge difference in the ways I seek out love, and have been feeling much more secure without the constant need of approval from others because I am approving of myself and loving myself on a level that I had previously never experienced before. I have been able to accurately identify previous patterns when they arise, make the connection of where these patterns emerged from, and then go inwards and heal those wounds. This work involves consciously going back to painful moments you may have had as a child and essentially re-parenting yourself the way you needed to be parented at that time — with all the love, support and understanding that children need to grow into healthy adults. Telling your child self that it is not your fault, that you are still loved beyond measure, and that you, as you are now, are there for your inner child. You can even comfort your inner child by imaging yourself holding your inner child in your arms and providing comfort for the child to express their pain and emotion. Children often cannot understand why a parent is angry — maybe the parent had a rough day, and the child drops a glass on the ground and the parent yells and lashes out at them, not necessarily because of the child’s actions, but because the parent was already upset about other stressors in life.
The child has no way of understanding that, and doesn’t think, “Gee, I guess Mom had a rough day and is taking it out on me.” They think that they have done something wrong, that they are not good enough, and that they are not loved.
These types of situations are exactly what create these scars within the subconscious.
The following drawings done by artist Cécile Carre beautifully depict the process of facing your wounds and shadow self, the healing process, and then the reintegration of the healed child back to the self for inner peace. The first drawing shows us the shadow that is constantly looming over us, creating sadness and despair, desperately waiting to be acknowledged... The shadow becomes a lot less aggressive after we muster up the courage to turn around and face it and see it for what it is... We then recognize that this shadow is actually us, and it has been us all along, and it is a part of us that has been denied, ignored, and suppressed for many years. All it wants is for us to love and acknowledge it... This being is us, it is our child self, and it is so happy that we are finally attending to and recognizing its need for love... We can then nurture and re-parent our wounded child within and give it everything it needs to feel safe, secure, supported and loved, and so this child then becomes a part of us and is with us always... Once it has been healed and integrated back within us, it no longer needs to manifest in ways that show up as various forms of fear including unworthiness, fear of abandonment, not being ‘good enough,’ not being loved, etc. It then remains a part of us as a playful, adventurous, curious, fun-loving side of our personalities. You can check out more of Cécile Carre’s work on her Instagram page @carrececile I feel I should note here that this is not just some airy-fairy, spiritual concept, but both Jung and Freud referred to the inner child in their work. Jung referred to it as the puer or puella complex and Freud as the unconscious part of ourselves. It became known as the “inner child” through pop psychology and the self-help movement, but the inner child is simply an archetype of who we once were. No matter what it is called, it is worth noting that as adults most of us would benefit from completing this work.
There are many books on the subject and tons of information on the internet, however this work is best done with a trained therapist. I’ll finish off with one of my favorite quotes, “People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own souls. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” – Carl Gustav Jung Due to the pressure of mass censorship, we now have our own censorship-free, and ad-free on demand streaming network! You can stream conscious media 24/7 and enjoy mind-expanding interviews, original shows, and documentaries and guided programs. Click here to start a FREE 7-Day Trial and watch 100's of hours of conscious media that you won't see anyw.
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