So when I first heard the term ‘inner child’ being tossed around, I cringed. A lot. Luckily, God got me over my instant dislike of all things terminology, and I actually started to try a few ‘inner child’ type exercises out on myself, as part of my personal prayer sessions.
It took a while for me to hit the paydirt with my own inner child: Firstly, she didn’t show up for ages. Then, when she did show up she didn’t talk to me and kept hiding. Then, when she started talking turned out she was absolutely furious with me, and had been for years, for ignoring her, treating her like rubbish, and not listening to all the many warnings she’d been trying to send me down the decades about what was really wrong in my life, and needed fixing.
It took a while for us to make up again, and for me to really start to integrate that younger, alienated part of myself back into the ‘real me’ (whoever she is…) – but fewer things have made a bigger difference to my physical health and emotional happiness than taking the time to get reacquainted.
Get to know your own 'inner child'
So now, I’d like to help you to meet your own inner child. There are many different ways of doing this, and if this particular exercise doesn’t do it for you, there will be a different visualization, or method, that will unlock your ‘inner child’ door when you’re really ready for it, so don’t give up!
In the meantime, this is one of my favorites, as it gets straight down to business, and it also puts God in the picture, which instantly begins the internal healing process regardless of what else might be going on.
I hope you enjoy it, and I’d be very happy to hear any feedback, comments or questions you might have, so drop me a line at: email@example.com
The following exercise was inspired by the highly-recommended book ‘Connection’ by Efim Svirsky:
Find yourself a calm, quiet place where you feel safe, and where you won’t have any worries about being observed by other people, or interrupted. Then begin the relaxation process described below. You might also want to read it into your phone or MP3, and then play it back to yourself, so all you have to take of is the listening part:
Focus on your breathing. Take three deep breaths, in and out.
Make sure your arms and legs are uncrossed, and that you are sitting or lying down comfortably.
Place your hands over your heart, and repeat three times:
“My heart is full of love, understanding and forgiveness for everyone.”
With each breath in, focus on how you are being filled up with God’s light.
With each breath out, focus on how you are letting go of any tension, nerves and anxiety.
As you feel your heart start to fill up with light, love and forgiveness, extend your arms out, palms open, and feel how your soul is opening up to God, and good, and forgiveness.
Bring your arms down by your side, and continue to breathe slowly and rhythmically.
Allow yourself to relax even more deeply, and feel the relaxation move from the soles of your feet, up to the top of your head, and back down again, in a relaxing, soothing wave.
It’s time to go find your inner child.
Without forcing the issue, find a younger version of yourself. Ask yourself: ‘Where is my inner child? I’d really like to meet him / her.’ When they show up, find out how old they are, and ask them a little bit about themselves.
You can talk to your inner child the way you would talk to any other youngster. If you can’t find them, they won’t talk to you, or they are angry and aggressive in some way, try to reassure them that you are on their side, and that you are going to take care of them 100%.
(They may not believe you, which is when your work is really cut out for you…)
Ask them why they’re upset, and really listen to them.
Ask them if they know that there’s a Creator of the world, and see what they say.
Tell them that God is there in the conversation with you, surrounding you both with love. Ask your inner child if they can feel God’s love.
(Often, they can’t, and they may even be furiously angry with you for suggesting that God exists and / or loves them).
However they react, let them talk without trying to shut them up or intimidating them, because they are really you, and they are giving you some huge clues about how you really feel about things, and what might be keeping you stuck, squashed or miserable in life.
If your inner child is upset or offended, try to calm them down and placate them. Depending on the age, you may just want to hug them, or put your arm around them, instead of talking to them.
Give your inner child as much space, compassion and empathy as you can.
(This is often when people are shocked to find just how little empathy and compassion they actually have for themselves.)
Do whatever you can to try to make them feel better. If you don’t know what that might be, ask them!
Try not to end the conversation until you have moved the relationship with your inner child forward in some way. Try to solve their problem; try to soothe their hurt; try to placate their anger.
Only once you’ve done as much as you can, are you ready to conclude the exercise.
Depending on their age, either put your inner child on your lap, or give them a hug, and allow the light of the Creator to shine through you both, merging you together.
(This doesn’t always work the first time, especially if your inner child is particularly hostile or angry, but don’t give up. Sooner or later, they will soften.)
You may now come out of the state of deep relaxation.