Therapy is traditionally one way you might choose to heal your inner child, but it is actually not the only way to do so. Discovering the best healing for you involves some self-knowledge. What works for you is going to be based on your preferences. The important thing is to keep trying until you find the right healing technique for your inner child.
Here are 5 ways to heal your inner child:
1. Read about healing your specific inner child’s wounds
In her book “Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers,” author Dr. Karyl McBride focuses on the emotional wounds of daughters who had to be their own parent as they were vulnerable. What was that like for you as a child to have needs or wants that no one paid attention to? How did you choose to respond when that happened?
Self-analysis means being able to see your own repeating patterns of behavior from childhood to now. As a child, you didn’t know how to get your needs met when no one would listen. Now, you have skills to communicate your needs and wants. Check your own behavior now to see if you are expressing those needs effectively. If you cannot be self-reflective of your behavior, you may need a therapist to help you step back to see how your wounds are affecting you.
If you have unmet needs or wants, you may be repeating your ineffective patterns from childhood. For example overreacting, whining, or giving others the silent treatment are poor ways of saying what you need or want. The adult ‘us’ knows that when the inner ‘child’ speaks, they are not going to be effective. See? Nobody listens to us and our adult needs are not being met.
2. Work it out, physically
You have painful emotions when you have a wounded inner child, so heal your inner child by getting physical. Exercise, especially in nature, can help you to become present-moment focused. You are making a positive choice right now to heal your inner self because dwelling in the past will not help you move beyond it.
3. Work it out, emotionally
Emotions can physically reside in our bodies as pain. Healing emotional pain could also help you heal from physical pain. One example of how emotional healing works in the body is the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) or tapping therapy. Nick Ortner of the Tapping Solution shows us how easy it is to heal our negative emotions in this video. EFT as a therapy is supported by medical professionals. Henry Altenberg, MD of the EFT Advisory Board, says ‘In my 50 years as a practicing psychiatrist, EFT has proven to be one of the most rapid and effective techniques I’ve ever used.’
4. Become your own amazing parent now
Although you didn’t have the loving supportive childhood that you should have had, you can still have a good parent; yourself. Be the mother that you wish you had by being kind and loving toward yourself. Be the kind of father that you wish you had by telling yourself how proud you are of what you’ve overcome so far.
5. Look back sparingly and think big picture
John Bradshaw, author of “Homecoming: Reclaiming and Healing Your Inner Child,” says that we can find our inner child by writing a letter to the person we hold responsible for our childhood wounds and tell them why we felt hurt. However, living in a negative past that cannot be changed is what can lead down a hole to depression. Don’t go there. Instead, tell your inner child that you survived the past, which means you have surviving and thriving skills to put to work now.
It’s those who have overcome hardships who usually have the most drive to succeed, seemingly to prove their worthiness either to themselves or those who have doubted them. Let your past motivate you to exceed, not just succeed. Clearly, through surviving the pain you’ve experienced, you were meant to move past your past. To heal your inner child is to fulfill your purpose. If you haven’t figured out what your purpose is yet, maybe it’s time. Ask yourself who can benefit from your story and then help them to heal as you heal yourself.