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Inner Child Work

by | Jan 9, 2024

Over the past few years the media around “inner child work” has grown exponentially. You may have heard your peers discussing the healing they are doing with their inner child, or heard a coworker say “oh, yes, that is my inner child speaking.” Surprise, we all have one. He/she/they are inside of us always but we rarely are taught how to attend to them.

What is the importance of bringing them into our everyday life and getting to know them? How do we hold space for them in the throws of adulthood?

Let’s be honest, there doesn’t always seem to be lots of room for our inner child when we are trying to get things done, stay afloat, and simply just keep surviving. Life gets hectic, incredibly overwhelming, and filled with adult responsibilities that take over the space in our brain. Because of this we tend to forsake the child inside of us. The one who dreams the biggest of dreams and finds so much joy in the smallest of things. We seem to have hidden our inner children under the layers of adulthood and this blog post will help give insight into how to bring them out of hiding. It can be fun, adventurous, and incredibly healing. Let’s peel back those layers. We all deserve that. 

I want you to think back to when you were a child. Maybe it’s the first time you met your childhood best friend, or it’s when you played outside for hours until the street lights came on. Try to think about him/her/them. What did they enjoy doing?  Remember their tender voice and their innocent dreams. Did they have a favorite song, a favorite hobby, or a favorite toy to play with? Maybe pull up pictures of you as a child. Get back into their mindset and sit with them for a moment, reacquaint yourself with them.

When it comes to bringing your inner child into your adult life I want you to begin with curiosity. The kind of curiousness you embodied at 5, 6, 7 years old. Children tend to have a favorite question, and that favorite question is always “why?” When we are young every moment is an opportunity for exploration, because at a young age we all yearn for learning. We want to grow and try new things. We want to find what we love and what we are good at. As an adult we don’t have to let that stop. Try the new things even if they’re scary. Ask the questions even if they seem a bit out of place. When you are presented with something new, ask yourself “what would the child in me do?” Let your inner child’s curiosity take over, you just may discover a whole new side of yourself. 

Next, let’s bring back our imagination. At some point in life as we transitioned from childhood to adulthood, we started to view our imagination as something to be ashamed of. We stopped dreaming up wild possibilities and began simply relying on logic. As adults we can still channel our inner storyteller. Give yourself permission to create an entire world with your mind, throw out the rule book and let the possibilities be endless. Once we do that we are able to pick and choose which things may be possible, logical, and realistic to bring into our adult life. Daydreaming doesn’t have to be limiting, it can help you grow and expand in the midst of “adulting.”

Now, I want you to think about your present self. Think about the last couple of months and events that have occurred over that time. When is the last time you truly laughed? When was the last time you had a carefree afternoon and you simply enjoyed playtime? Two of the most important things in childhood are laughing and playing. When did we stop letting ourselves enjoy those? I want you to start reconnecting with the feeling of play. It may be painting something silly in your spare time, or maybe it’s blasting your favorite childhood CD while you cook dinner for your family, or going for a swim and pretending you’re a mermaid. Whatever makes your inner child’s hear sing (even if it feels ridiculous) do that. Embrace the spontaneity of life, say “yes” and just play. Let yourself remember the joy of playing without limits, you deserve that. Challenge your adult self to find humor in situations, and maybe even find humor in yourself. Throughout the day remember to ask yourself “what would the child in me think about this?” Odds are they would think it was silly or they would simply laugh at it. When you let yourself laugh imagine laughing with your inner child — hold their hand and laugh together.  

Lastly, I want you to set aside time to nurture your inner child. Think of how you would attend to a child’s needs as an adult, now tend to your inner child just the same. What is it that your inner child yearns for — what do they crave? Maybe it’s validation for what they’re feeling, maybe it’s solitude in a chaotic world, or maybe it is simply a bag of your favorite sour candy. As an adult we often ignore what we are feeling. Next time you’re going through something tough, upsetting, negative, etc., I want you to imagine your inner child experiencing that feeling. What would you as an adult do to comfort that child in that moment? Do that. It can be just as healing and impactful as an adult, let’s not forget that. 

Your inner child will always be with you. Sometimes they’re resting because they feel safe in their environment, sometimes they’re throwing a temper tantrum because no one has paid them any attention today. Whatever it is, attend to them. Remember that they’re there and embrace their role in your life. Give yourself permission to embrace the child inside of you. Go swing on a swing set, build the pillow fort, dance while you’re cleaning your house, and be curious. You deserve a life that enjoys the endless magic of childhood because that magic never runs out. 

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About Brooke | View Profile

Brooke is a psychotherapist who specializes in helping clients dealing with difficult life transitions, symptoms of anxiety or depression, and LGBTQ+-related issues. She practices a collective and modern approach to mental health counseling, which is rooted in genuineness and vulnerability.

We offer in-person and virtual services – contact us today to learn more!

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