When you hear the word, Inner child, you are more likely to think of it as a bygone past memory. The kid version of you, was that part that was playful, naughty, carefree and very cheerful. We trust and believe everything that has been told to us, whether good or bad and that’s how we are later shaped as adults.
Now here comes the tricky part, as kids, we were so guileless that anything our elders, teachers, close people, etc. told us, we were quick to accept. This is where we slowly start pushing away our inner child. For weren’t we told that now we need to act like an adult? Act like a big girl/ boy.
And now as “Adults” certain situations trigger us into acting like the childish version of ourselves.
Then we question yourself, why am I acting like a child?
This is where listening to your inner child will actually help.
So how does one listen to what the inner child is actually trying to communicate?
Your inner child does try ways to communicate to you, but you have never actually paid attention to it, wanna know how?
Have you ever observed that there are certain situations under which your mind or your body just froze, you are flooded with angry or negative thoughts, wish to run away, etc.?
Yet you as an adult, do not realise why this particular mundane situation is provoking such strong reactions from you?
That’s your inner child, trying to communicate with you.
Understanding and listening to your inner child requires you to also pay attention to your past childhood needs, wants and desires.
Here are a few questions to start off with to know how to listen, start point.
- Were your emotional, psychological, physical, spiritual needs met, when you were growing up?
- Were you able to truly express your thoughts, wants and desires in a non judgemental way?
- Were you given the liberty to fully pursue your hobby, spend time doing things you loved the most?
If you have answered No, to either of the questions, then you have found your start point into this inner child journey.
These are the ways in which you can listen to your Inner Child :
- Acknowledge your inner child’s presence:
To be able to listen to your inner child, the first prerequisite is that you need to ACKNOWLEDGE his/ her presence in your life.
Understand that your inner child functions like any other kid or child.
They just need you to tell them that you are paying attention to their needs, wants, desires, likes, dislikes. That you will listen to what they have to say, wont ignore their naive or novel demands, like the other “Adults” have been doing. They need to know that you will value them, if they make a mistake won’t scold them.
Ask yourself or observe this, the next time you make a mistake unknowingly,
What’s the first thing you end up saying to yourself?
Ah, Shit, why am I so dumb!?
That’s where you are indirectly scolding your inner child for their mistake.
Most of the time, our self talk is not our talk with our own self, but rather a mixture of all the bad remarks adults have told us and what we later carried forward too.
So the next time, you observe that you have been acting rudely with your inner child, pause, say sorry to the inner child. Learn to acknowledge that he/ she is also scared and just needs some support. That’s why you are here.
- Practise talking to your Inner child :
To be able to talk to your inner child,
First you take a picture of yours, from your childhood album. You can go and sit back in a relaxing place that is quiet and silent. You can either just lie down or sit back comfortably.
Next, before you close your eyes, look at the picture of yourself. Look at the picture carefully, you are going to meet the same kid.
Now as you close your eyes, imagine reaching out to or meeting your inner child for the first time.
How do you feel he/ she will react? Will they be happy, sad, shy, laidback? Imagine meeting them at a favourite spot, you had, as a kid. You are free to imagine how their first reaction would be to you.
Next, try asking what would he/she like from this adult version of you?
Do you feel they would need some form of support? Acceptance? Need more of “Me” time, play time? Wanna explore more hobbies? Asking the kid and imagining the conversation itself, will make you feel light and get more in touch with your inner child’s wishes.
- Write a letter to your inner child:
The next way in which you can listen to your inner child is, by writing them a letter. A very common first reaction would be, what do I say, how do I acknowledge him or her, how do I go about?
It’s simple, firstly give your inner child a cute pet name or refer to them as something you would like to call them. A friend of mine named her inner child “Nemo” for she truly wished to connect and listen to what her inner lost nemo had to say.
In the letter, you can pour out every emotion, expression that you feel you had not experienced as a kid. And let them know that it was not their fault that they were neglected, ignored, bullied, laughed at.
Next you would like to say that now you are here. You will be the adult who will accept them and honour their wishes and desires. You will not leave them. They are worthy of love and affection, which is exactly what you shall provide.
After all, all the inner child really wants you to listen to is, to accept them, don’t ignore them, feed them and let them be silly!
- Do the things you loved to do as a kid
My childhood may be over, but that doesn’t mean playtime is.” Ron Olson. I completely agree with this statement. Your inner child may or maynot actively talk to you, but once you are more mindful about your own routine or actions, it gets easier to listen to your inner child. Pay attention to the things that made you happy or lively as a kid.
Whilst “Adulting” we tend to ignore the things that made us excited, that made us lively, maybe it meant chasing those butterflies or collecting seashells, do whatever makes you smile as brightly as the rainbows!
- Do the thing that pushes your inner child out of its comfort zone:
Now I know you would think that why would I want to push my inner child out of its comfort zone? It will run away and hide and never communicate, but that’s not always the case.
When you try something even as small as, riding on a rollercoaster ride alone, which scared you as a kid. You are allowing a safe space for your inner child to come par with its fears and show them that it’s not that scary as it seems to be. Our fear associated with trying something new and the actual outcome are usually at opposing heights.
Thus doing this will your inner child speak to you again and try out new adventurous things in life! After all, the child just wants to explore and feel safe at the same time.
This will make you even more lively and try out even more exciting things in life.
Listening to your inner child might feel like an impossible task in the beginning, but once you slowly accept your own childish hues, you shall see that your inner child will aid you to an even fruitful tomorrow!