Journaling: Inner Child Healing
What is Inner child healing work and why do we need it?
Inner child work is the process of contacting, understanding, embracing, and healing your inner child so that you can experience joy and freedom in all areas of life.
Sadly, as adults, very few of us are taught about the inner child or educated about how to nurture this sacred part of us. Instead, we live in a society that forces us to repress our inner child and “grow up” prematurely. But the truth is that while most adults physically “grow up,” they never quite reach emotional, psychological, or spiritual adulthood.
In other words, most “grown-ups” aren’t really adults at all. Why? The reason why very few people ever reach real adulthood is that they are disconnected from their inner child. How many people, for example, have you observed living in a state of endless anger, frustration, and an insatiable hunger for more?
We can see this in our collective addictions to food, money, possessions, drugs, relationships, and products that promise to “remove all our pain” temporarily.
We can even observe our own disconnection from our inner child in our personal codependent tendencies, irrational fears, anger tantrums and grief attacks, vices and addictions, and our traumas that never seem to heal or go away.
When we are alienated from the child within, we are left with a feeling that something is missing.
We long to find home. We long to be at peace. We long to overcome our issues. Yet we keep repeating the same old mistakes and the same cycles of suffering over and over again. This endless circle of pain leads to feelings of depression, anxiety, loneliness, lethargy, emptiness, and an underlying sense of being abandoned by life.
How can we finally break the circle of suffering, the karma of becoming more and more traumatized by, and alienated from, life? The answer is through inner child work.
Inner child work is revolutionary in that it goes directly to the root of our pain – the pain that started in childhood.
As a mixture of self-love and shadow work, inner child work empowers us to dig deep, unearth our original wounds, face and feel our pain, and experience life through new eyes. In fact, one of the most enchanting elements of inner child work is that we regain our zest, vitality, and joy for life once more!
Invariably, those who undertake inner child work report feeling more resilient, creative, energetic, spontaneous, blissful, hopeful, loving, and more deeply connected with their heart and Soul.
Above all, please know that this work is deep work that has profound implications for the whole of society. By doing inner child work, you are not only helping yourself but also sending out ripples of change that will influence the whole of humanity as we know it. What you are doing is sacred work, and the impacts are very real. You may never quite know the butterfly effect or large-scale outcome of committing to the activities within this journal, but just know that everything you do counts.
Signs You Have Met Your Inner Child
If you haven’t consciously connected with your inner child before, it’s important that you know what to expect. Please understand that everyone reacts more or less in the same way when first doing this work.
To empower you with knowledge and perspective, and to help you feel a sense of safety, here are some common signs that you’ve touched your inner child and deeper childhood issues while progressing through this journal:
- You feel grief/deep sadness
- You feel profound joy and relief
- Old memories resurface
- You want to pick fights with your family
- You want to scream at life
- You feel tired/weak
- You feel shame or ashamed
- You feel enraged
- You feel betrayed
- You feel lonely
- You feel sick to your stomach
- You feel hyper-sensitive or fragile
- You feel deeply compassionate toward yourself
Please know that it is 100% normal to experience any or all of these feelings and desires.
Be gentle with yourself, walk away when needed, and practice self-love.
If, at any point, you feel inundated with painful emotions, please walk away and find some way of grounding yourself (such as drinking hot tea, or going out in nature). Then, when you are ready, keep going. With every step, you are creating more healing, more wholeness, and more freedom within your entire being.
If at any point, you feel like you need more support on this inner child healing journey, check out the Higher Self Alignment, one of my offerings that’s created to heal inner child and emotional wounds and triggers on the somatic and energetic levels, and apply for a free discovery call if you feel called to work together.
How to get it started
The core purpose of this journal is to help you reconnect with your inner child for the purposes of healing, transformation, and empowerment. Therefore, throughout this journal, you’ll find questions and activities that have been specifically designed to help you reconnect with this vulnerable part of yourself.
When it comes to completing this journal, you’re welcome to progress through the questions and activities as quickly or slowly as you desire. Don’t feel the need to rush and complete everything within this journal all at once (unless, of course, you feel called to do that). It’s perfectly okay to go at your own pace.
The recommendation is to complete at least three questions per week and leave a few days in between each to integrate your discoveries. However, you’re free to create your own schedule based on your unique needs and preferences.
Furthermore, when undertaking each question, don’t feel the need to write long and heavy responses, unless, of course, you feel the necessity. Even just a few words or sentences are sufficient. You can always return to these questions and activities in the future.
If conventional sentences don’t come easily to you, you can also try experimenting with poems or drawing pictures instead.
(Fun fact: I spend a lot of my time at the Stanford Cancer Center supporting patients, their families, physicians, and nurses to heal emotionally and spiritually, using abstract and intuitive art, I’ve witnessed so much magic in that process! Sometimes when we rest our logical mind, and allow some space for creative self-expression intentionally, self healing takes place by itself)
Finally, I encourage you to keep this journal private (even if you’re happy for others to read what you write). The reason why it’s crucial to keep this journal private is so that you can write freely and unencumbered by inhibition or the need to say things in a certain way.
Part of the power that lies in this journal is its ability to give you a clear, pure, and non-judgmental space in which to divulge all of your thoughts and feelings. So please keep this journal in a secure location away from prying eyes. This is absolutely vital.
The power of journaling
A part of you might be wondering, why is it worth the effort of completing this journal anyway?
The answer is simple: writing down your thoughts gives you a visual and tangible way of exploring, connecting with, and learning from your inner child.
Merely thinking about inner child work doesn’t do enough or create as much change as actively recording your insights (which can easily be forgotten). By logging your thoughts and feelings, you have a point of reference to revisit in the future to learn from and add to. Many profound lessons and epiphanies can be integrated more deeply simply by referring back to them in physical form.
Through the simple (but often confronting) process of introspective journaling, you are taking a vital step towards living a more harmonious, joyous, whole, and meaningful life.
Let’s Begin Your Journey …
Thank you for committing to this work, for showing up, and for caring.
The reality is that diving into the waters of the heart is no small feat, and it requires tremendous courage and compassion even to consider doing this work! Be proud of yourself for choosing to walk this path. You deserve it!
1. Happiest Memories
What is your happiest memory from childhood, and how do you think it influenced the person you are today?
2. Saddest Memories
What is your saddest or scariest memory from childhood, and how do you think it influenced the person you are today?
If you have siblings, explore the relationship you have with them. Often, in order to differentiate ourselves from our siblings and be our own unique self-contained human beings, we had to develop opposite traits and qualities from them. In this sense, your sibling/s represent your hidden shadow aspects: the parts of you that never had the chance to develop (because you’d be too similar!)
1) In what ways am I similar to my siblings?
(These traits/behaviors represent the socially accepted traits within you that your family embraced.)
2)In what ways am I different from my siblings?
(These traits/behaviors represent your own unique and differentiated soul essence.)
3)What do I dislike about my siblings?
(Your answer reveals the hidden shadow qualities you likely possess deep down that never had the chance to blossom – or have otherwise been repressed and condemned.)
4. Earliest Memories
What is your earliest memory as a young child? Write down anything you can remember.
Your earliest memory is a significant moment in life: it marked the very moment you became conscious in this world.
Think about the memory and explore it in a new way: what did you feel, who was present, and what did you notice the most?
5. Inner Teenager
When doing inner child work, most people ignore or completely fail to consider their inner teenager. But your inner teenager is intrinsically connected to your inner child – s/he was your bridge between childhood and adulthood, and s/he had the difficult task of transitioning between both realms.
In this activity, you will be making contact with your inner teenager for the purpose of greater self-understanding, self-compassion, and healing. Often, it is the inner teenager who feels the weight of the world on their shoulders and who helps us to break free of old patterns through acts of rebellion.
To begin this short inner journey, you will need to sit or lie down in a space that is quiet and free of distraction.
If you like, close the curtains or blinds, and put on some music that your inner teenager used to love. Ensure the music is quiet so that it doesn’t distract you (otherwise, you may opt to have complete silence).
Take a moment to settle into your body and breathe into any tension you may be holding.
Imagine all the stress of the day slowly melting like ice into water and water into air.
Then, when you’re ready, picture the place you used to spend most of your time in as a teenager.
This place might be your bedroom, a garage, a library corner, a basketball court, underneath a tree in the backyard, and so on.
Once you’ve brought up this memory, imagine walking around in this place now as an adult.
Pick up something in the environment and examine it closely.
Listen to the sounds around you (or in the distance), and feel the temperature of the air.
Can you smell anything or sense the energy in the environment?
As you turn around in this place, you suddenly see your teenage self.
Notice your teenage self’s hairstyle, clothing, and general demeanor.
How old is s/he?
What is s/ he doing?
Take a step toward them and say a friendly, “Hi, how are you?” Then wait for a response.
Once you have started a dialogue with your teenage self, you might like to ask some crucial questions, but do so respectfully.
Just because your teenage self is a part of you, doesn’t mean that s/he will want to comply with you at all! In fact, it’s normal to get eye-rolls, sarcastic remarks, and annoyed sighs from your teenage self – it’s just a typical part of being that age.
Resist the temptation to get defensive or condescending and go with the flow. Sometimes you might need to gain the trust of your teenage self, depending on what age and context you’ve found them in. Be honest and authentic with them, and they’ll sense the kind-heartedness of your intentions.
When you’re at a stage where you’re comfortable asking them a question, don’t mince your words. It often helps to ask your inner teenager clear and straight forward questions – remember, teenagers can smell adult BS in a split second! But ask your questions with gentleness and respect.
For example, you might be interested in learning what hurt your inner teenager the most, so ask them, “I want to know what hurts you the most so I can understand you better, is that okay?”
Or you may want to know what they need the most to heal, so you may ask them, “What do you need the most to feel better?”
Again, there’s no need to beat around the bush. If your inner teenager seems uncomfortable or resistant, explain to them why you want to learn about them. Usually, they’ll understand (if not grudgingly and with mild suspicion).
Once you’re ready to end the inner journey, say goodbye to them and imagine your surroundings fading to black. Then, stretch your body, wiggle your fingers and toes, and return to the room. Record what you learned in your journal.
6. Inner Child Appearance
When you think of your inner child, what does s/he look like? Record below. Having a clear internal image of your inner child will help you to connect with them more deeply.
7. Heart Connection
Close your eyes, take slow and gentle breaths, and let your body and mind become relaxed.
Place your hand softly over your heart and ask your inner child, “What have you been feeling today?”
Notice any physical sensations, emotions, images, or words that come to mind and write them down below.
8. Location in the Body
One fascinating discovery people sometimes make during inner child work is that the inner child can actually be located within the body. In other words, there is often one specific physical place that reacts and responds to life from this childlike perspective.
For some people, this might be the belly, for others, the solar plexus area, and still, for some, the inner child may be located in the heart or throat area.
In this activity, you will be locating your inner child within your physical body.
Begin by closing your eyes in a calm and quiet place, and let your breath naturally become slow and gentle.
If it helps, you might like to put on some soft atmospheric music in the background to facilitate your self-discovery.
When you are ready, ask out loud or internally, “Dear inner child, where are you located in my being/body?” Wait to feel a response.
Your inner child may respond ever so subtly, or you may feel a jolt, shiver, or pull in a particular area.
Pay attention to feelings of heat or coldness, tension and relaxation, throbbing and pulsing, and any out-of-the-ordinary sensation.
You might need to repeat your question if you don’t get any response.
Once your inner child has emerged within your body, place a gentle and loving hand over this area. Breathe compassionate wishes into this part of your body to let your inner child know that you’re present and with them.
For example, if your inner child resides within your stomach area, place a hand over this part of your body and say something warm and loving such as “I’m here for you,” “I love you,” “You are enough.”
You may like to sit quietly connecting with your inner child in this way for a few minutes.
This body-centered practice is simple but profound and can be practiced at any moment of the day.
Also, be aware that sometimes the inner child changes locations within the body, so be in-tune with how you feel, particularly if you are deriving no comfort from this exercise.
Try this activity again and re-locate your inner child.
When you are ready, record the discoveries you’ve made from this activity in your journal.
You don’t have to do it alone. If you need support, check out the Higher Self Alignment offering that I created for this specific purpose. We will use Clarity Breathwork (formerly known as “Rebirthing Breathwork”) and the Quantum Alignment System technique to accelerate the healing on the somatic and energetic levels.
9. Feeling Unsafe
Sadly, the reality is that many children are born into families that don’t understand, value, or truly see how brilliant and precious their child is.
While most parents do the best they can with the level of information, education, and emotional/mental maturity they have, some of them end up undeniably alienating and wounding their children.
The purpose of this journaling prompt isn’t to shame or blame our parents. Instead, it is to come to terms with the struggles your inner child sometimes had to face. As this activity may stir up strong and uncomfortable emotions, make sure you practice self-love and self-care before and during this inner work.
If at any time you feel incapable of remaining grounded, please walk away and come back to this activity later when you feel more centered.
Examine the list of all the ways your inner child might have been made to feel unsafe below. (Keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list.) See how many you can relate to:
1). You were taught that it’s not okay to have your own opinions.
2). You were punished when trying to speak up or act differently.
3). You were discouraged from playing or having fun.
4). You weren’t allowed to be spontaneous.
5). You weren’t allowed to show strong emotions, such as anger or joy.
6). You were shamed by your parents or family members.
7). You were verbally criticized/abused regularly.
8). You were physically punished, e.g., smacked, beaten, pinched, whipped, etc.
9). You were made to feel responsible for your parents and their level of happiness.
10). You weren’t given regular physical affection,e.g.,hugs,kisses,cuddles.
Now that you’ve read through the list above, tune into how you feel.
What’s going on in your mind?
How does your body feel?
What emotions are arising within you?
In your journal, write down any important memories you have, along with any thoughts or feelings occurring within you.
Treat this as an open-ended activity: you’re welcome to explore any number of the above ten issues in detail.
If you feel nothing after reading this list, you might be struggling with emotional numbness (which is a survival mechanism developed during traumatic events). It’s okay to leave this activity and return to it at a later date if nothing immediately comes up for you.
10. Wounded Signs
Everyone has an inner child that has been wounded to varying degrees. Below you’ll find a list of twenty-five signs that you have a wounded inner child.
Read through this list, see which signs you resonate with, write down those you can say “yes” to:
- In the deepest part of me,I feel that there’s something wrong with me.
- I experience anxiety whenever contemplating doing something new.
- I’m a people-pleaser and tend to lack a strong identity.
- I’m a rebel. I feel more alive when I’m in conflict with others.
- I tend to hoard things and have trouble letting go.
- I feel guilty about standing up for myself.
- I feel inadequate as a man or a woman.
- I’m always driven to be a super-achiever.
- I consider myself to be a fundamentally bad person.
- I often criticize myself for being inadequate.
- I’m rigid and perfectionistic.
- I have trouble starting or finishing things.
- I’m ashamed of expressing strong emotions such as sadness or anger.
- I rarely get mad, but when I do, I become rageful.
- I have sex when I don’t really want to.
- I’m ashamed of my bodily functions.
- I spend too much time looking at pornography.
- I distrust everyone,including myself.
- I’m an addict or have been addicted to something.
- I avoid conflict at all costs.
- I am afraid of people and tend to avoid them.
- I feel more responsible for others than for myself.
- I never felt close to one or both of my parents.
- My deepest fear is being abandoned, and I’ll do anything to hold onto a relationship.
- I struggle to say “no.”
Take a few moments to assess how many of these signs you said “yes” to.
The more signs you agree with, the more wounded your inner child is.
It’s normal to identify with around 5-7 of these signs, but anything over that is an issue.
Be extra kind and gentle with yourself if you said “yes” to more than ten signs: you’re now on the path to healing this vulnerable part of you.
Think about the above behaviors that cause you the most trouble in life.
Choose 1-3 of the signs you identified with to discuss at length in your journal.
11. Emotional Neglect
If your parents/guardians didn’t show interest in your needs for love, support, protection, and/or guidance, you experienced emotional neglect as a child.
When we were repeatedly rejected, ignored, or condemned for our sensitivities, this created huge adverse ripple effects that continue to impact us in adulthood.
If you experienced emotional neglect, the likely outcome was that:
- You developed low self-worth
- You began ignoring your emotional needs
- You learned to reject, avoid, or bury your emotions as they were associated with feelings of neglect from your childhood
- You developed psychological or physical illnesses connected with your inability to listen to, accept, and deal with your emotions in healthy ways (also known as emotional repression)
Examples of psychological and physical illnesses that develop from emotional neglect include anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsions, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, and many other unexplainable sicknesses.
In modern medicine, these are often referred to as psychosomatic illnesses (meaning that they originate in the mind).
In your journal, explore how you may have experienced significant emotional neglect as a child.
(If your parents were emotionally supportive, skip this activity and move on to the next.)
12. Psychological Neglect
Psychological neglect is perhaps the most subtle but pervasive form of neglect out there, and it has far-reaching consequences.
We experience psychological neglect when we are not truly seen, valued, or accepted for who we are as children. In essence, psychological neglect is a fundamental denial and rejection of the essence of who you authentically were as a child. If these words stir up strong feelings within you, take a moment to pause and comfort yourself.
If you experienced this form of neglect, you have likely developed the following issues:
- Low self-esteem due to forms of abuse such as ridicule, put-downs, overly high expectations, being ignored, rejected, or punished continuously
- Deep-seated anger issues (due to being mentally and emotionally betrayed by your family)
- Addictions and neuroses (which create a false sense of comfort and safety)
- Recurring mental and/or physical illnesses
- Difficulties sustaining healthy and respectful relationships Below, explore how you may have experienced significant psychological neglect as a child.
(If your parents were psychologically supportive, skip this activity and move on to the next.)
13. Physical Neglect
At a basic and fundamental level, physical safety and nourishment are the most intrinsic elements of a loving relationship.
We can see this in nature, with mothers and fathers nourishing their chicks, pups, and cubs with food, shelter, and protection.
If you underwent periods as a child where you lacked enough good quality food, shelter, safe housing, or adequate physical protection from the world, you have likely experienced physical neglect. The following issues may develop as a result:
Physical neglect/abuse of oneself, e.g., eating disorders (anorexia, obesity), maintaining an unhealthy diet, self-harm, poor basic hygiene, etc.
- Intense safety-seeking behaviors (sometimes resulting in psychological complexes such as OCD and agoraphobia) or extreme risk-taking behaviors (e.g., unprotected sex, obsessive daredevil feats, etc.)
- Addictions to drugs, alcohol, violence, food, etc.
- Sexual dysfunction or promiscuity (often due to sexual abuse) Below, explore how you may have experienced significant physical neglect as a child.
(If your parents were physically supportive, skip this activity and move on to the next.)
14. Fictional Character
Who/what was your favorite fictional character as a child?
Chances are you had quite a few beloved figures from TV shows, books, and movies. However, choose one that stands out in your mind that you really loved and admired.
Why do you think your inner child was so enamored by this character?
What about this character did your inner child secretly want to assimilate and become like? Why?
Think about one of your current ‘vices’ or addictions (if you have any).
Keep in mind that we can be addicted to many things – not just the stereotypical addictions to drugs, alcohol, and gambling. We can also be addicted to social media, working, the internet, sex, food, shopping, and even more abstract qualities such as the need to be liked, a certain negative mindset, or even a toxic relationship dynamic.
Anything on which you obsessively depend to feel good is an addiction. Put differently, an addiction is a substance, habit, or activity you keep returning back to over and over again, despite the negative consequences.
It can make you feel powerless, endlessly hungry for ‘more,’ and like you’re losing control.
Our addictions are, more often than not, rooted in the inner child. When our wounded inner child is not taken care of, we will find almost anything or anyone to distract us from that pain inside.
The same incessant neediness of the addict is mirrored in the primal needs of the needy infant who is continually reaching out for love, nurturing, and safety.
When those infant needs weren’t sufficiently met, a feeling of profound abandonment, loss, and emptiness can accompany us into adulthood. Consequently, as adults, we will try our hardest to fill that hole with substances, people, and behaviors that numb our wounds and make us feel superficially and temporarily “taken care of.”
In your journal, explore one of your main addictions or vices.
Keep in mind that addiction can be anything big or small, traditional, or non-traditional.
Ask yourself the question, “What is my inner child seeking through this addiction?”
Try to go to the root of that behavior and understand what that tender, vulnerable part of you truly needs.
Explore freely at length.
16. Childhood Timeline
When we think about our inner child, we generally tend to picture one specific age range. But our inner child is actually composed of multiple selves. For instance, we have an Infant Self, a Toddler Self, a Preschool Self, and a School-Aged Self.
For this activity, you’ll be creating a brief timeline of your childhood and exploring each of these four childhood selves.
The purpose of this task is to help you discover which age range you need to focus on first in your inner child work. By understanding which childhood self was the most harmed or neglected, you’ll be able to work more effectively and intimately with your inner child.
Within each of the below stages, try your best to recall how you felt, what life was like, and how safe, supported, and accepted you felt.
Keep in mind that feeling safe as a child didn’t always have to do with the family environment. Often the school or other settings that you spent a lot of time shaped your inner child.
Record any memories or physical sensations you had, even if they feel fragmented.
Record the tones of voice, expressions, and words your parents or teachers used when interacting with you. Even if a memory seems silly or over-the-top, please write it down.
As an adult, it’s important to honor what your inner child authentically experienced, even if it seems ridiculous or exaggerated as an adult. The more information and emotionally-charged material you have for a particular age range, the more you need to focus on connecting with that particular stage.
Conversely, if you cannot remember anything from a particular age range whatsoever, this might be a sign that you have a lot of repressed material buried inside. (This is not always the case, however, so look within and find the truth. Clarity Breathwork is a great tool to discover and remember.)
Finally, if you struggle to remember much of anything from your entire childhood, do the best you can and treat this activity as something to come back to regularly.
This is not a static task, but a dynamic journey that you can consistently add to throughout the following days, weeks, and months.
The more you work with your inner child, the more memories will come to you, so do whatever you can now and let the rest of the answers come later.
1). Infant Self (0-9 months):
2). Toddler Self (9 months to 3 years):
3). Preschool Self (3-6 years):
4). School-Aged Self (6 years to puberty):
17. Writing a Letter (Part 1)
Imagine that you’re a wise, gentle, and loving wizard or fairy godmother. Imagine that you want to adopt your inner child and provide the best possible life for them.
As you write a letter to your inner child below, share how much you love them and want to spend time with them.
Write in a way that makes you feel safe, cared for, and understood.
Here’s an example letter:
Dear Little Suzie, I’m so happy you’re born. I am here to protect, love, and care for you. I want to help you feel loved and accepted for who you are. I want to show you that it’s safe to be heard, to feel, and to be seen. I want you to feel like you will always have a home with me no matter what. I want to help and guide you every step of the way. I love you so much. Love, Fairy Godmother Susan
If you feel emotional during this process, it’s okay.
Let yourself cry and be proud of your courage to express how you truly feel.
18. Writing a Letter (Part 2)
Using your non-dominant hand (to bypass the logical side of your brain), write yourself a letter from the perspective of your inner child.
For example, if you are usually right-handed, use your left hand to write. Using your non-dominant hand will help you to get more in touch with the feelings of your inner child. This task can be done with a pen and paper or on a keyboard.
Here is a real-life example of what the inner child might write:
I want to find home. Please protect me. I don’t want to feel alone anymore.
Love, Little Suzie
You can also write back and forth between your Wizard/Fairy Godmother self and your little self.
Initiating this conversation often reveals a lot of surprising and buried emotions and new information.
(Keep in mind that it’s a good idea to keep your letter/responses brief as writing with your non-dominant hand can sometimes be difficult, so it’s okay to be concise.)
You’re welcome to write your letter in your journal and reflect on it afterward.
19. Loving Affirmation
Loving affirmations are a powerful way to affirm your worthiness and support your journey in feeling safe. When repeated consistently, affirmations have a way of sinking down into the unconscious layers of our subconscious programming and rewiring the brain.
Repeating such positive messages can result in profound change and healing at a primal level.
For this activity, you will be creating your own loving affirmations to support your inner child when they need it the most. To help get you started, you can find an example list of loving affirmations below:
- I love you just the way you are.
- I will stay here and support you.
- I’m so glad you’re here.
- I want to take care of you.
- I want to spend time with you.
- I want to hear your thoughts and feelings.
- It’s okay to feel sad and scared.
- It’s okay to be yourself.
- You’re allowed to say no.
- You are so special to me.
- You have so much to offer the world.
- I will protect you against harm.
- I believe in you.
For this activity, you will need to create one affirmation for each of the questions below. If you find one of the affirmations in the list above to be powerful, you’re welcome to use it or modify it to your own liking:
1). In what situations in life do you feel the saddest? Create/choose an affirmation to help your inner child through this experience in your journal.
2). In what situations in life do you feel most lonely? Create/choose an affirmation to help your inner child through this experience in your journal.
3). In what situations in life do you feel most scared? Create/choose an affirmation to help your inner child through this experience in your journal.
The beauty of creating or choosing your own loving affirmations is that you can take them into any situation in life: they’re like a hidden superpower.
While they won’t magically make all the problems of life go away, they will help you to handle them better by nurturing your inner child.
Remember: you can say these affirmations as many times as you need, whenever you like during the day.
You might even want to use a special voice when saying these affirmations, such as the voice of a wise old man or a loving mother.
Reflect on your work life or career (whether present or in the past). Answer the following questions:
1). What situations triggered the most negative reactions from you at work?(Examples of a negative reaction include defensiveness, resentment, anxiety, chronic stress, isolation, loneliness, workaholism, or the desire to gossip, compete, or turn against others.)
2). What was the vulnerable feeling that your inner child felt that was at the root of this behavior? For example, at the core of a negative reaction may have been the desire to be accepted, approved of, validated, protected, taken care of, and so on.
The following activity may cause you to feel all kinds of complex or intense emotions (however, don’t be alarmed if you don’t feel anything, just return to this section later).
Once you’ve taken a deep, gentle, slow breath, read through the list of self- compassionate statements below.
Speak them to your inner child with heartfelt warmth and love.
Feel free to pause between each one and take time to really notice how you feel:
I love you
I hear you
You didn’t deserve this
I forgive you
You did your best
In your journal, record the feelings that emerged within you in response to these statements.
Did any of them provoke strong emotions?
If so, take note of that specific statement and explore why you felt such profound emotion.
Tremendously useful and healing information can be gleaned from this activity because it shows you what your inner child needs to hear the most from you.
22. Old Toy
Find an old toy of yours (around the age you want to work with) and see if it triggers any memories or feelings within you.
For example, if you want to work with your Infant Self, find a toy that you used to play with as a baby.
If you want to work with your Pre-School Self, find a toy or item you used to love at this age.
If you don’t have access to many toys from your childhood, feel free to go to your local thrift store or toy store and notice what toys your inner child feels drawn toward.
Journal about your experience below.
What feelings emerged?
What memories were sparked?
What does this toy symbolize or evoke within you?
23. Childhood Roles
Playing roles is just as much a part of childhood as it is within adulthood. Roles help to create order and structure within society and smaller groups of people, such as families, workplaces, and friendship circles.
When we play a role, we embody a certain kind of energy that helps us adapt to and thrive within the environment around us.
For example, a mother must play the roles of nurturer and caregiver to facilitate her children’s growth and survival.
Police officers must adopt the role of protector, warrior, and, sadly, sometimes even tyrant to cope with the violent situations they are frequently exposed to.
An everyday person might have to adopt the role of defender and advocate if she witnesses racial discrimination happening in front of her.
Roles are a natural part of life, and we, too, had to develop them as children within our families.
In this part of the journal, your mission is to identify the roles you may have played as a child to matter in your family.
Common roles include the super-achiever, the rebel, the clown, the caretaker, the nice guy/girl, daddy’s little princess, mommy’s little prince, dad’s buddy, mom’s sorority sister, and so on. Please don’t limit yourself to this list, however.
There are many roles we play in childhood that are too numerous to include here, so do some inner exploration. What roles did you automatically adopt or seem to fall into?
Tip: you can unearth a role when it rewards some behaviors (e.g., smiling, obedience) and rejects others (e.g., being sad, rebellious).
24. Adult Figure
Write down the significant adult figures that were part of your childhood below. Explore the following questions:
Did they help or hurt you? (Or perhaps both?)
What was the #1 lesson that they taught you (knowingly or unknowingly)
How has their behavior influenced your present-day behavior?
25. Old Photos
Find one photo from every year of your elementary/primary school period.
Lay them out in front of you in order, and reflect on the emotions on your face.
What do you notice about these pictures that you might have overlooked before?
Do any repressed feelings emerge within you?
If so, why?
What do they mean or point to?
26. A Letter to the Adults
Not all adults were good role models for us as children. In fact, some of them were utterly immature, self-absorbed, irrational, emotionally disconnected, and even cruel.
In this journaling activity, write a letter to the adults that disappointed or harmed you as a child from your adult self.
It’s vital that you write this letter from the perspective of your current adult self so that you feel a sense of equality and empowerment.
Feel free to be stern and reprimand these adults with thorough disapproval for having mistreated your inner child.
This practice can be tremendously liberating and can serve as a profound catharsis for old feelings of resentment and grief.
You may even like to make a copy of this letter and burn it in a releasing ritual.
27. Toxic Shame
Shame is an emotion that we all naturally possess. It’s often referred to as the ‘guardian of the conscience’ as it helps us to keep our behavior in check.
However, shame can quickly become dangerous when it is turned against ourselves – a phenomenon called toxic shame.
When we suffer from toxic shame, we experience a chronic sense of worthlessness, low self-esteem, and self-loathing – all connected to the belief that we are innately “shameful” or “bad” deep down. Toxic shame is the internalized and buried shame that rots within us.
When does toxic shame start?
Usually, we inherit this wound in childhood. How often did you hear the words “shame on you!” as a child or were frequently made to feel unworthy, not good enough, inherently evil, stupid, ugly, or unlovable?
If so, you were toxically shamed, and it’s a terribly painful wound to bear.
Typically, toxic shame is connected to one strong memory or trauma from childhood, such as being humiliated in front of one’s classmates, being beaten repeatedly by a parent, or sexually molested. However, toxic shame can also be vague yet all-pervasive. Sometimes those who live in a chronically toxic environment simply internalize and carry this feeling of “badness” as a basic part of their identity (and no single situation can be named because there were so many).
As toxic shame is such a traumatic issue, I encourage you to be gentle with this activity and stop if at any time you feel overwhelmed. As much as is possible, please answer the following question:
In what ways were you toxically shamed as a child?
Think of all situations, big and small. (Sometimes the most seemingly minuscule circumstances actually harmed us the most.)
Reflect on times when you were made to feel stupid, ugly, unworthy, unwanted, pathetic, bad, or even unlovable.
You might like to regularly stop and hold yourself during this activity in a warm self-hug.
Comfort your inner child and let them know it’s okay to express their pain.
28. Romantic Relationships
Our inner child is expressed in numerous ways in our romantic relationships.
The first way our inner child emerges is through moments of innocent love and compassion. We may feel a sense of awe, wonder, joy, and total bliss in the eyes and arms of our beloved.
The second way our inner child emerges is through moments of playfulness. Recall those moments of silliness, spontaneity, irreverence, and mischievousness. These moments make us laugh and fill us with vitality.
The final way our inner child emerges is when we’re under intense stress or exhaustion. When we become mentally or emotionally overwhelmed, the dark side of our inner child can emerge, resulting in pettiness, immaturity, tantrums, and regression to addictive tendencies (for that instant gratification which bypasses our pain).
Reflect on your past or present romantic relationship and answer the following questions:
In what ways does your inner child emerge in your relationship?
How does your inner child help your relationship?
How does your inner child sabotage your relationship?
What needs of your inner child might be getting overlooked (by you/your partner)?
Explore freely in your journal.
29. Delay and Rewards
One of the most significant ways our inner child acts out in daily life is by seeking immediate gratification. You know those moments when you could do something productive or responsible, but instead, you reach for the remote control or bag of cookies?
If you struggle to delay gratification and have an amazing dream, project, or desire to accomplish something … but you never quite get around to it, this is a sign that your inner child is in control.
The best way to handle this common issue is through a practice called delay and reward. It’s simple: you delay the hedonistic behavior, do something responsible, then reward yourself after doing it.
In your journal:
- Explore one thing you’d really like to learn, do, or achieve.
- Decide how long you can dedicate time to it each day (be realistic – ten minutes is a good start).
- Write down the different ways you can reward yourself and your inner child for being responsible. Think of different types of food, places, items, and activities that you really enjoy indulging in.
30. Buried Parts
What parts of you did you have to cut off and bury away as a child to gain your parent’s approval? Explore in your journal.
31. Healing Ritual- Inner Journeys
For this activity, you will need ten to thirty minutes of spare time, a quiet and undisturbed room, and if you like, some gentle and soothing background music.
Inner journeys are simple to undertake yet profound in their implications. So much illuminating wisdom, self-understanding, integration, and healing can occur simply by making use of the power of your mind through visualization.
To begin this inner journey, you may like to make yourself a calming cup of chamomile (or another equivalent herb) tea.
A relaxed body and nervous system equal a relaxed mind, and a relaxed mind is one that is open to exploring new horizons.
Once you’re ready, close your eyes and feel your breath becoming like the ebbing and flowing waves of the ocean.
You might hear the call of seabirds in the distance and smell the salty air wafting into your nostrils.
Look around and notice how clear and blue the sea is around you. Feel the wetness against your skin and taste the brine in the breeze.
As you gaze ahead, you notice light emanating from beneath the waves straight ahead of you.
You dip underneath the surface and swim toward the light.
The closer you move toward it, the larger the light grows until it floods your whole vision.
You wince and hold your arm over your face to block out its brightness, and a few seconds later, you remove your arm.
The light has gone, and you’re no longer in the ocean, but in your old childhood room.
You take a moment to orient yourself and look around.
Your inner child is lying or sitting on the bed staring at you curiously. “Who are you?” s/he says. You warmly introduce yourself and ask if it’s okay to sit down as well.
Respect your inner child’s boundaries and be willing to sit or stand wherever is most comfortable.
“What is that?” your inner child points at the ceiling, and you notice that the ceiling is made of shimmering water: the portal through which you came.
You explain to your inner child what it is and why you came.
When your inner child seems comfortable with your presence, you ask them the following questions:
- What do they need more of within your life?
- What do they need less of within your life?
Your inner child may respond through words, feelings, memories, or even physical sensations. Give them time and space to respond and make sure to ask if you need any more clarification.
Remember to take this journey with gentleness, like how a loving mother would treat her child.
If you need some support on the journey of healing your inner child, check out the Higher Self Alignment, one of my offerings that’s created for this specific purpose, and if you are ready to work together, go ahead and apply for a free discovery call here.
I’m Sha! I've created this space for inner reflection, emotional healing, personal growth and inspiration. Enjoy a cup of tea and some transformational and practical wellbeing & personal growth tips here.