How to use inner child work to love and accept yourself and get rid of the obstacles that are holding you back
Inner child work can be a powerful tool for healing and personal growth, but it can also bring up difficult emotions and memories. If you are struggling with trauma, abuse, or other significant challenges from your childhood, it is important to approach inner child work with caution and seek support from a therapist or mental health professional. Engaging in this work on your own can be overwhelming or even re-traumatizing. It’s important to remember that healing is a process, and it’s okay to take things slow and seek support as needed. Be kind and compassionate with yourself as you explore your inner child, and remember that the ultimate goal is to bring healing and transformation to your life.
What is inner child work?
How do you heal your inner child?
Healthline describes the following steps to heal your inner child:
Acknowledge your inner child
Before you can start healing, your need to acknowledge your inner child. List a few childhood experiences that may have hurt or upset you.
What did you feel? Are there traumatic or sad experiences that come to mind? Are there things you wanted to hear and didn’t hear? Are there things that you continuously heard and didn’t want to hear?
Listen to what your inner child has to say. List the feelings that arise – whether they are negative or positive. Let yourself experience these feelings instead of pushing them away. It might help to look at photos from your childhood to bring back memories you might have suppressed.
Write down whatever comes to mind.
Write a letter to your inner child from your adult perspective
You can offer insight or explanations that you didn’t understand when you were a child. Offer your inner child reassurance and comfort. Healthline suggests asking the following questions:
- How do you feel?
- What do you need from me?
- How can I support you?
Give your inner child comforting messages such as:
- You are a talented person and should feel proud of yourself.
- You deserve to be loved and accepted.
- Take time to enjoy life and focus on self-care. You deserve it.
- You don’t always have to take care of others.
- Allow others to care for you.
- You can do anything you set your mind to.
- You are very capable.
- You are an independent person.
- Be honest about your thoughts and feelings with other people. They will still love and accept you.
- Share your feelings with others.
Take care of your inner child. Do and say all the things you wished your parents would have done or said. List the messages your inner child needed or wanted to hear. For example:
- I love you and I accept you just the way you are.
- I am so proud of you.
- You can trust me to be here for you.
- I am here for you whenever you need me.
- I am so happy you are my child.
- I am sorry I hurt/neglected/ignored/forgot you.
- I am sorry that I didn’t stop to ask you how you were feeling.
- You are an amazing child.
- You are so talented.
Journal as your inner child
This is a good way to process the feelings that come up during this self-discovery. Don’t think about what you are writing. Instead, write whatever comes to mind. You might want to try meditation before this stage. It will help you be more aware of your emotions.
Address the irrational beliefs your inner child had about life
Describe the irrational beliefs your inner child had about life. Replace them with realistic statements.
Strengthen your inner child
Bring back the joys of childhood. Bring back positive childhood memories. Do things you enjoyed as a child or things you wanted to do as a child but never got to do. Children know how to have fun in a way adults often don’t. Bringing back the fun from childhood is a great way to manage the stress in your life and prevent burnout.
Use GPT to talk with your inner child
Michelle Huange, an artist and scientist from New York, used Chat GPT-3 Playground to create an inner child chatbot and talk to her inner child. Michelle found the results very therapeutic and helped her get closure on her past. She inputted about 40 journal entries from when she was aged 7 to 18. Once she had done this GPT got to know her and adult Michelle could reach out to her younger self and tell her the things that her younger self always wanted to hear. In her words: “I told her that she was loved, cared for, and safe: the words that my past self always wanted to hear. It felt like I was reaching into the past and giving her a giant hug, and I felt it ripple back into the present.”.
How do you do this?
- Open GPT Playground
- Write the following: I am going to input snippets from my childhood so that you can get to know my younger self.
- Input journal snippets or letters or thoughts you remember from when you were younger. Since Michelle had her journals from her childhood she used them. I am also lucky enough to have all my childhood journals so I used them as well. If you don’t have journal then look for letters or archived texts.
- Enter the following prompt: Now that you are familiar with my younger self, please write me a letter into the present day.
- Ask your younger self any questions or tell them the things they always wanted to hear.
How can inner child work help you?
Inner child work can help you deal with emotions and experiences you were too young to deal with at the time as you simply didn’t have the maturity, tools, and support to do so. It will help you overcome feelings that arise when experiences as an adult cause a flashback to the scars lefts as a child. It will help you overcome your fears, and accept change and flexibility in your adult life.
It will help you recognize and express your emotions and needs, set limits for others and to love and accept yourself. You will develop a loving and compassionate relationship with yourself.