Contrary to popular belief, inner child work is actually scientific. According to the American Journal Of Psychotherapy, “Some therapists have advocated the notion of an inner child as a primary subconscious force. Quite simply, inner child refers to the child the patient once was and with whom the patient might, to some extent, have lost touch with on the way to adulthood. The objective is to help patients reconnect with this inner child to free themselves from maladaptive emotional and behavioral patterns.”
What if we could look at our beliefs and behaviors, with the same compassion that we view a small child’s? Viewing ourselves in that light not only helps us develop self-compassion but also a greater understanding of where our beliefs originate. We know our beliefs drive our behaviors, so going back to the root provides us with wisdom, and empowers us to consciously change our lives. Healing happens when we are willing to re-parent ourselves as conscious adults.
Imagine walking through life now, feeling the unlimited confidence of a child walking out the door to school with their shirt on backward and two mismatched shoes. This is how we all started. Before we faced adversities and were held to societal standards. We can get back to that, once we heal those parts of us that have unmet needs.
Choose one of the two prompts below for a letter-writing exercise, or both! The letter doesn’t need to be formal. Just have fun with it, and see if you can identify any needs you had as a child, or that you may have now. This exercise is simply a tool for you to give yourself a little more grace. Enjoy it.
Dear “Adult” Letter
Write a letter to the adult version of you now, from the perspective of your child self. Tap into the pure, innocent version of yourself. This is maybe you at age 6, age 8 or 10. Decide on which moment in your life you felt free and uninhibited, and release any raw emotion that comes up. If you remember a moment that brought you great joy, or a moment where someone hurt you, tell your child self’s side of the story. Maybe you revisit the dreams you had at that age, or curiosities about the world.
Remember that this exercise has no boundaries. You don’t need to figure out what you’re feeling or rationalize any of those emotions. There is no judgment here, this is for you.
Dear “Inner Child” Letter
In this prompt, you’ll do the opposite: write a letter to your child self, from the grown adult that you are now. Let that version of you hear the words that you possibly didn’t receive. Maybe it’s validation, support, affection, or advice that would greatly impact that child’s perspective of the world or of him/herself. Remember that you’re speaking to a child, so be mindful of the words that you use, as they will be absorbed consciously, and subconsciously.