Counselor and self-help writer John Bradshaw writes “I believe that group work is the most powerful form of therapy” when referring to inner child work. But one thing: please don’t share with your family members, even if they are caring. Family members who have not done their own inner child work are much less capable of dealing with yours. Defensiveness, anger, finger-pointing, and grief may result in sharing your feelings with family members, so please don’t do it.
Sharing takes tremendous courage and inner strength. It’s normal and okay to feel scared! Feel the fear, and if you feel ready, share anyway.
5. Loving and supportive affirmations
Loving affirmations are a powerful way to affirm your worthiness and support your journey in feeling safe and healing wounded inner child. When repeated consistently, affirmations have a way of rewiring the brain and sinking down into unconscious layers of programming. Repeating such messages can result in deep change and healing at a primal level.
Here are some loving and supportive affirmations you can say to yourself throughout the day and during meditation:
- I will stay here and support you.
- Welcome to the world, I’ve been waiting to hold you.
- I love you just the way you are.
- 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 OK to feel sad and scared.
- It’s OK to be yourself.
- You’re allowed to say no.
- You are so special to me.
- You have so much to offer the world.
- I believe in you.
- I will protect you against harm.
You can say these affirmations as many times as you need, whenever is necessary during the day. You might even like to use a special voice when saying these affirmations, such as the voice of a wise old man or a loving mother.
Also feel free to create your own loving affirmations! The list above will help you get started, but often the most powerful affirmations organically arise from your deepest needs.
6. Do an inner child visualization/meditation
You will need to dedicate about half an hour or more to this exercise. Find a quiet and comfortable space, and either sit or lie down.
Imagine that you are about to meet your inner child. You walk outside into your backyard and he/she is playing in a sandbox. What age is he/she? You walk up to your inner child and sit down. “Hello,” you might say, introducing yourself. You look into the eyes of your inner child. What is he/she feeling towards you? Curiosity? Trepidation? Shyness? Skepticism? Excitement? Respect your inner child and his/her boundaries. If he/she wishes to hug you or shake your hand, let that happen.
If not, it’s okay. Your inner child may just need to warm up to you. You might next wish to ask, “What do you need the most?” If you are communicating with your infant self during this visualization, the response might come as a visceral feeling as opposed to communicating with your school-aged self who might respond verbally.
If your inner child tells you what they need, provide a safe space for them. Let them feel heard, seen, understood, and loved by you. You might like to share with them how much you love and care for them, and wish them to be cared for. If your inner child wishes to be cradled, hugged, or held, embrace the opportunity. Once you feel that your mission to connect with your inner child has been completed, you can visualize yourself walking back into your house. Focus on your breathing, stretch your body, and open your eyes.
I recommend journaling about the experience. Journaling is a wonderful tool for self-reflection, deepening your self-understanding, and also serving as a way to document your progress. So take a few minutes to do it!