Healing the Child Inside

The Child InsideLouise Hay posted an interesting article today about healing your “inner child” — in essence, examining your childhood wounds and soothing that child that still exists within you, even as you’re walking around with these wounds as an adult.

This is rather timely for me in a number of ways. Mostly, it’s because I had one of the most emotionally profound experiences last week, when I was able to very deeply and intimately get in touch with my own inner child, feeling the pain I experienced back then but able to process it with adult emotional intelligence. It’s difficult for me to describe to someone who has not done this kind of work, or who might not understand it. But it was very, very real.

As the result of a recent breakup, I’ve spent times swinging between anxiety and sadness/loneliness (with some peaceful moments in between). But after a while I developed a lot of scorn for those emotions, just wishing they would go away and I could heal and move on. I was, in essence, “yelling at myself” for feeling these unpleasant feelings. I couldn’t understand why it would seem like I would get to a place of healing, only to find myself emotionally knocked down days later.

Somehow, some way (I truly believe through God), I was able to understand that these feelings were actually stemming from a very child-like place. The more I got in touch with it, I saw that it was a very scared little girl, who was feeling hurt and sad and lonely. She wondered if anyone would ever love her. She was in a lot of pain.

More evaluation revealed that this was me, around age 4 or 5. Somehow I had gotten the feeling that there was something wrong with me, that nobody loved me. At that time I couldn’t grasp or understand it. But I remembered thinking very clearly … “maybe if I’m just very, very quiet, and really good, they’ll love me.” From this I came to believe that who I was on the inside was not acceptable to show on the outside, and that I couldn’t ask for help or show that I really wanted or needed something. These are problems that have plagued me for years.

I was at yoga that night and I imagined this little girl next to me, doing the poses with a joyous and childlike spirit – the way she wanted to be, but felt like she wasn’t allowed. I spoke to her with the love that I so wanted back then, and told her that she was precious and beautiful exactly how she is. That night, I cried the most anguished tears, but I was crying the tears of that child who wasn’t able to cry them back then, or didn’t even understand why she felt sad in the first place.

Now I’m much more in touch with this piece of myself, and in the future I’ll be able to identify it when those feelings come up for me again.

To live a fulfilled adult life, it’s worthwhile to discover your childhood wounds and work on the process of healing them. Don’t think that just because the years have passed, they aren’t haunting you still. Find that child, and love it well.

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Andrew Hines

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