As a young woman, I would have given anything to know that I had a wounded inner child. I was stuck with false beliefs that I absorbed growing up: beliefs about my worthiness, belonging, and trust in others. This kept me feeling limited and stuck, suffering from low-level depression, anxiety, emptiness, and loneliness.
I was disconnected from myself, love, wisdom, and my own divine guidance. I spent 6 years studying psychology and was taught that childhood traumas were a life-sentence. But I had a glimmer of faith and hope that I would manifest miracles and that healing from my past was possible.
That’s when I started on a spiritual search – a search to connect with source, love, higher guidance, and wisdom. I had read a lot about spirituality to know that this was a path I needed to learn more about.
It wasn’t until I discovered inner child work that I realised that I was able to heal and give little Victoria the love and validation that she needed.
For years, I was looking outside of myself to seek truth from other spiritual gurus. But instead of looking for a god and somewhat scary parent-in-the-sky, I realised that I could be my own modern-day mystic who could hear the voice of truth, wisdom, and love in myself.
I was highly self-aware and I had a strong connection to this idea that my inner child was the echo of the child that I once was.
Time after time, people would say to me: you need to connect to your inner child. I met a therapist who said that I needed to self-soothe my inner child, but she couldn’t tell me how.
I was frustrated that she couldn’t give me the steps, so I took it upon myself to go looking for them.
And so, for the past few years, I’ve been on a quest to uncover the codes to inner child healing.
Since then I’ve found my own inner child healing exercises that have helped me to connect with my inner mother and inner father and cultivate psychological resilience.
And it’s been nothing short of a miracle. To me, nothing has crystalised my emotional pain more than inner child work, because it gets to the core of the emotional wounds that are holding me back in life.
I’m still a work in progress, but it’s helped me to find internal strength, inner peace, and the deepest connection to love that I’ve ever had.
What I love about it the most, is that it’s a self-healing tool that I am in full control of. I may not be able to change my past, but I have my own healing toolkit to create my own sense of psychological safety.
This is something that nobody can take away from me.
I’ve tried a few different things but here are the exercises that have worked for me the best.
But before I dive in, a word of caution: this process takes time.
After so many years of repressing your inner child it may take a while for you to connect with it, so pause and be patient.
Listening to your inner child
Oftentimes an unhealed inner child shows up through overreacting, irritation, righteousness, blame, and/or telling feelings.
Listen to your inner child to reflect on what is triggering you. Because the root of the trigger is where love and self-compassion need to be applied. For instance, you might feel rejected by someone and this might trigger rejection issues from your childhood.
The key is listening to the cries and pains of your inner child. How are they feeling? Are they stressed, anxious, angry, or lonely? Then, you want to ask them: how can I validate and reassure you?
A lot of us do not allow our inner child to just be. We might criticise, diminish, shame, or suppress certain emotions. But intense emotions are signs of unmet emotional needs from childhood.
Now, how can you practice self-acceptance? If you feel lonely, tell yourself: it’s ok to feel lonely. It’s ok to feel sad. It’s ok to feel anxious. I’m here and I’m not going anywhere.
Allowing yourself to feel the feelings is a form of self-soothing and it will reduce the intensity of the emotions.
Traumas, attachments and early painful experiences in our lives manifest into emotions that become stored in our bodies.
If we ignore and avoid them, the built-up emotional storage compounds over time and can manifest into illness.
If you work on your mind and you’re not integrating your body, your body is manifesting all of that suppressed pain. This is why writing your feelings out helps you to release any stuck emotions in your body.
One way you might do this is to recall a childhood incident and write about it. You can imagine yourself as a younger child. How old were you? Who were you with? Then you can start writing a letter to the person involved and begin with: this is what you did, this is how you made me feel and this is how I choose to feel about it now.
Another way to connect with the inner child is through art therapy.
Art is a powerful tool in releasing trauma as it goes to the parts of the brain in the limbic system that words don’t. Whereas the left side of the brain is connected to language, the right side of the brain is where emotions are stored. This is why expressive art therapy is incredibly healing because it allows you to speak the language of the inner child.
Some argue that organs in the body have a consciousness of their own and that they will speak to you if you give them a chance.
One of the ways to start this process is by sitting with the body, quieting down, and paying attention to anything that is uncomfortable or in pain.
Now, on a piece of paper, you can colour in the areas of the body that feel pain and discomfort using colours associated with that sensation.
For example, if you feel pain in your lower back then you might colour it red and orange to show the inflammation. Next, you can have a written dialogue with your back by asking your back: what are you? How do you feel? Why do you feel that way? What is causing it? What can I do to help you?
It may sound strange but our body is our greatest healer because it knows what it needs. It’s a very simple exercise, but it’s often the most simple exercises that move the needle the most.
Teddy bear exercise
The teddy bear exercise helps you to see how your inner child runs you when you’re triggered or emotionally reactive. So, if you get triggered then you might have a few days when you feel anxious or depressed.
This is because you have a part of the brain called the amygdala and if it becomes too activated, you feel like a hot mess, because adrenaline is running through your system.
But until you become aware of these triggers and create more space between stimulus and response, they will run your life.
So, how it works is you carry a small teddy that fits in your bag. You carry it around all day and notice when you’re having a reaction and your inner child is running the show.
For example, if someone makes a negative comment and you suddenly feel overwhelmingly sad or lonely, you’ll see that your wounded child is crying for comfort. And because you’re an adult, you can call in your inner mother and inner father to reassure your inner child. This will help you to cultivate resilience and you’ll no longer avoid your painful feelings, because you’ll have a self-healing process and self-support system.
This awareness will help you to have more understanding and compassion for your feelings. So instead of feeling powerless and helpless with your emotions and drowning in them, you’ll feel more in control and on top of your emotions.
This combination of awareness, writing therapy, and art therapy will help you to release these traumas from your system.
It allows you to take your power back and go back in time and be the caregiver that you needed in your life when you were little. It can be a way to step into that situation as an adult and comfort the inner child.
At first, it’s likely to feel hard, scary, and overwhelming, especially if you’re witnessing your trauma and thinking about the sad times in your childhood. But trust the process and give it time because it will deactivate triggers and give you a sense of grounding in your life.
If you want to work with me and cultivate inner intimacy, reach out to me. I offer 30 days of 1:1 coaching to rising leaders and I combine coaching, inner child therapy and Rapid Transformation Therapy to help you create inner peace, inner power and emotional wholeness in your life.