Healing your Inner Child
I often find myself wondering what my 3-year-old niece is thinking about. I wonder how she sees the world and her place in it. I wonder how she feels to navigate her little world with so little understanding of what is happening around her, what some words mean, why some people act the way that they do, how dishes go into the dishwasher and magically come out spotless. I wonder…
It is said that humans are born with a blank slate. We come into the world with no knowledge of right or wrong, up or down, left or right. Our life experiences teach us how to make sense of the world and how to process information around us. How we are taught to see the world becomes the lens through which we look at it.
Over my years as a therapist I have learned just how much childhood experiences shape who we become as adults and how we learn to view the world around us. I have witnessed that some perceptions that adults hold originate in their childhood and what their life circumstances as children taught them.
The thing is, sometimes these perceptions are built on limited information that children have as their brains aren’t fully developed. Much like my 3-year-old niece who doesn’t know how dishwashers work. For all she knows magical dishwashing fairies live in the dishwasher who have cleaning superpowers. *shrug emoji* When these perceptions are false, unhelpful or cause pain in the present, it can be useful to go back to the times when they were learned in order to unlearn them, thus healing the inner child that is still operating under false and painful perceptions.
Here is an example. A common painful assumption I frequently come across in therapy is “I don’t deserve ..xyz…” Say you’re 10 years old and you’ve just gotten your report card from school. You come home and show it to your parents who see that you got three As, and a B. Mom says, “Why did you get a B? That’s it, no soccer for you until you get an A.” You may have just learned that you are undeserving of fun because you are not smart enough, or that you are only deserving of fun once you have accomplished something big. Fast forward to the present. You’re 28 years old and have an upcoming evaluation at work but your friends have asked you to come out for a drink. You automatically find yourself thinking, “I can’t go out until I have passed my evaluation.”
To heal your inner child, you must go back in time to re-parent yourself in the way that you needed. By doing so, you learn to be there for yourself in way that allows you to live your life compassionately and in a manner every human deserves.
Shezlina Haji, MA, has extensive experience in the area of emotional regulation, personal growth, plus many more. For more information on Shezlina and her work, click here to link to her full bio page.