We’ve talked about your Inner Critic. What about your Inner Child? Do you know her?
Inside us we are all the ages we’ve ever been. Among them, of course, is that little girl who is so innocent, perhaps a bit scared or shy—or perhaps she’s confident and joyful, totally uninhibited. Describe the little girl inside you. What does she need?
While some needs are unique to us and to our Inner Child, there are some basics she needs. Our Inner Child needs to hear from us:
1) You are loved. Reassure her that no matter how she feels or acts, you love her. No matter how she was loved (or not loved) when she was little, you can assure her that you love her. Unconditionally. Always. I first realized that I had this little girl inside when I was in counseling to deal with some difficult workplace issues. I learned so much from this little one, including what she needed from me. Now when I’m stressed and feeling unlovable for one reason or another, I can touch my heart and remind my Inner Child that I do love her and that she’s very lovable.
2) You are safe. Your Inner Child may have learned from someone (a parent, relative or teacher) that she couldn’t completely trust others. She will need to know that you protect her, no matter what, and that you will always keep her safe. She needs to be able to trust that you will not make fun of her or put her down.
3) You are heard. Listen to your Inner Child. She can tell you what you need when you aren’t even sure yourself. For example, I came to realize just how deeply important social connection is for me when I heard my Inner Child’s memories of grade school and the pain when she was on the outside of third-grade girl cliques. Knowing the effect of her experiences helps me make wiser choices when I face times of rejection—or when I experience the adult version of female cliques.
What experiences have you had with your Inner Child? Or is this all new for you? Are you willing to share with us? Add your comments below.