Are you walking on an evolution path?
Are you aiming to improve yourself?
Are you looking for physical and / or emotional healing?
Are you taking care of you contemplating various aspects of your being ?
Are you trying to feel good about yourself and with others ?
Well, then in the course of your journey you will not fail to meet a very special character: your inner child. Let’s meet it together.
1.1. The inner child: what is it?
The inner child is the part of you that remained a child. We became adults, but that part of us did not grow with us.
You may have noticed this childish part in yourself and / or in others.
It is usually said: “You remained a child” or, “That big kid!” “You’re a grown child” “You’re like a child”, etc ….
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What does it mean? Clearly, growing up in age is a process that does not involve the whole of our psyche, but only a part of it.
The journey of our growth begins from conception: the embryo becomes a fetus, we are born as babies, then a few years later we become teenagers and then adults.
As adults, we realize that the child is still present within, it has not been completely overcome.
If we watch carefully, we may notice that it is not a memory of how we were in the past, nor the recollection of things that happened during our childhood: far from it. The childish side of our personality is something that emerges and lives in the present.
So this is a dynamic element of our psyche, that is constantly with us: it may happen that for a longer or shorter period of time you do not notice its presence, either because you miss it, or because your attention is absorbed by your adult mind and its businesses. In any case, in each of us there is a small child, with all the features and qualities of children.
1.2. “Outer” boys and girls
Observing the “external” boys and girls around us, our offsprings, grandchildren and neighbours children, and by interacting with those we meet in everyday life, it is very useful to effectively approach the work on our own inner child. Relating to boys and girls with the willingness to learn from them, makes it clear that all the children of this world have potential and needs.
The human being comes into the world with its own unique energy, which distinguishes it and will continue to issue original features throughout it’s development: it’s its potential, a huge reservoir of energy, ready to manifest. The child IS that energy, it moves with it: by looking at a child, you may notice the spontaneity, the enthusiasm and vitality: it’s tireless. It is often acknowledged that children have more energy than adults: at the end of a busy day, adults are tired and need to retire, while children still want to celebrate and get involved even if they have been jumping and running and playing. Their energy is inexhaustible, because they are in full contact with their potential.
As children are connected to their potential, so they are to their needs. They know at any time what they want, and if they don’t, they try another direction, seeing what happens: if it is rewarding for them, they remain there, if not, they drop out and change the game, getting involved in a new adventure .
The connection to their own energy gets evident because they follow their bodily impulses and sensations, which are indicators of what is needed.
They are naturally curious, open to experience.
All children want to grow up and enter the adult world. Acknowledging their needs support them to go in that direction, and through their fulfilment, the child grows.
For example, for a newborn sucking is absolute fulfilment, thus not only satisfying it’s hunger, but also getting nourishment and love pouring from the mother’s breast. This event not only supports the physical body’s growth, but also enhances the sense of confidence and basic trust which will characterize it’s identity for the rest of it’s life.
1.3. Why does the child remain in the adult?
As the infant receives from adults the necessary help and support to understand and to satisfy his own needs, the more growth is harmonic and in tune with potential.
The less he is understood, supported and encouraged, heard and met in his own specific needs by the parents, less are opportunities for him to explore and express his potential. The repressed energies fall into the unconscious and accessing them will become by and by less easy and immediate.
There are infinite gradations in the level of connection between the child and the parent, from the total lack of care to the complete unity and empathy: in the first case, we talk about serious psychosomatic diseases (such as diagnosed mental illness or severe discomfort, leading to behavioural deviance); in the second case, we have fully aware and enlightened parents that have cured themselves first, so they are ready to welcome a highly evolved soul.
The vast majority of human beings falls in the middle group between these two extremes: we had parents who, in good faith, have done their best, depending on the developmental level they were in, but they have not been able to meet in real time ALL our requirements. No one can give what he/she hasn’t got; the parents gave us what they had, what they themselves had received in their own turn, believing most times to do well by giving us what they would have liked for themselves.
The mere understanding that they did their best is not enough for us, it doesn’t give us back what we missed, and it is important that we realize this. Our inner child is still here, peeping from the inside to remind us that.
When this aspect of our personality emerges, it is a reminder that it is still waiting for what it didn’t get. As adults, it is our responsibility to give our inner child what it needs.
The inner child is the part of us that is lagging behind, it’s the holder of our potential, that energy that we still don’t know, because at that time we did not have the opportunity to experience it in the right way for us. We are born with it, WE ARE that energy, but we partially developed it: we have lost the way to contact it in its fullness.
Our growth was not integral and harmonious; therefore it has affected certain parts of the body, mind and emotions. As children we haven’t met, from the environment and the adults of reference, a complete response to our needs in growing.
If our growth had been complete, we wouldn’t be able to find, as adult, a child within us, we wouldn’t see it in ourselves; we would be one, perceiving ourselves as a unit, without distinction. There would be no separation between adult and child, we wouldn’t sense any duality.
Instead, it is a common experience to come across the manifestations of our inner child.
1.4. The function of the inner child in the adult’s psyche
What does the inner child do? What role does it play in adult life? What is its gift or message for us? What does it want to tell us? What is it doing with us?
– It is the depositary of our potential energy
Your inner child holds the key to access your energy, the immense reservoir of energy you have, and which can manifest itself as vitality, spontaneity, resourcefulness, playfulness, vitality, creativity, love for life, etc …
If as adults we often feel with a “low energy”, or depressed, or if we have to continually resort to our willpower, otherwise things do not work … If we carry on due a sense of duty, not knowing what we want and where we are heading, or if we drag ourselves instead of fully living, then we lack the key to get into our energy and to live it directly.
Re-contacting the child within is the way to discover it.
– The inner child is the bearer of the primary needs What are our personal needs? What do we need?
To be looked after, to be loved, to be recognized, welcomed and received, to be surrounded by a supportive and enabling environment, are some basic needs that, as humans, we cannot overlook.
As babies, it was the adults’ task to provide for us. As adults, the inner child asks us to take responsibility for ourselves.
Being in contact with the inner child makes us more attentive and solicitous towards ourselves, towards our real needs: it is the path to learn how to take care in every aspect of our living.
– The inner child is the key to the world of senses, of bodily impulses and emotions.
The inner child reminds us to live the life of the senses, to open ourselves to our sensory dimension, and to trust what we feel.
Children love to move; they experience reality from the standpoint of their sensorial openings, and only after they mentally process what they have perceived.
If as adults we tend to cling to rationality, leading a life organized and interpreted by the mind, there will come a time when it will not be enough: predicting, managing and controlling everything, in the long run will impoverish us and make us unable to enjoy what we have built.
The inner child is that vulnerable part which helps us to welcome the novelty, to get involved, allowing our spontaneous intuition and perception.
– The inner child is the gateway to the unconscious,
that place within ourselves that encloses all that we don’t want to see about ourselves, even if it hurts, negatively affecting our present life and pushing us in directions we don’t want. Monsters, ghosts and skeletons inhabit a scenario of fear that originates in our childhood, the trace of which still lives in the inner child.
Fairy tales are dotted with stories in which the hero defeats monsters and evil beings; they are intended to appease the child’s fears, to instill confidence, security and comfort.
If as adults we are in the grip of negative emotional states such as anxiety, fear, panic, the origin of all those feelings has definitely to be traced in our childhood, and the way to heal relies on the encounter with the inner child and with the unexplored experiences and the themes it contains.
1.5. Inner child and personal growth
We are on a journey of personal growth. Who’s growing?
Is it maybe our adult part? Or is it our soul or essence? Or is it the inner child?
It’s the inner child that’s growing. The inner child is the bearer of this need.
The inner child embodies the uncharted energies, which have remained at the level of potentiality and have therefore not been contacted and expressed: it is what we experience as something lacking in ourselves, so we are pushed to look for it, and that makes us move on.
The inner child, like all children, wants to grow. It has been waiting for a long time, since we were kids, to live those aspects of its energy that didn’t find recognition in the family environment.
So, not being in the condition to grow, it just stood there, waiting.
It will not leave your inner world, or it won’t get transformed by the mere fact that you as adult don’t consider it, or don’t give it attention, or don’t take it too seriously. The inner child will continue to stay there, inside you, waiting to grow, to emancipate itself and to develop all the energy with which you came into the world, not settling for the miserly part to which you’re accustomed.
It can wait in vain for a lifetime, if you persevere in not paying attention to it: in this case, like all misunderstood children, your inner child will get used to act in secret or sideways, making all kinds of mischiefs without your knowledge, what we usually call “sabotage”; or it will attempt to make its voice heard through somatization, bringing physical discomforts of various degrees.
Or, the time comes when you start to take care of it, to look at it: there is where your real personal growth journey truly begins. You realize that the training you received as a child or as a teenager is not enough to make you live a happy, adult life, and that you are ready to fill in the gaps giving your inner child a chance to grow, which is something it very much wants. The inner child is the core of the ego: becoming aware of it, is the way to use the ego to evolve. Personal growth, spirituality and evolution cannot occur without an ego, nor against it, but they must necessarily take it into account to achieve unity.
A path for personal growth which does not take into account the inner child and its importance, is a pseudo-path; it will not get you very far. Some of these false paths are specifically designed precisely to avoid encountering your child, so they don’t lead to real growth, but to a pleasant stop in places of “spiritual entertainment”, where once again one works with the mind: through imagination maybe one can create a more beautiful inner world, but it’s useless and unsubstantial, because it’s disconnected from our genuine energy.
Why do we tend to overlook the inner child? Just to avoid the emergence of the suffering linked to childhood traumas we all have within us. No one likes to go into those inner place populated by monsters and ghosts. No one is free from fears and resistances in dealing with the wounds one carries inside. But to encounter that suffering is the price to pay to free oneself, to really grow and to be able to live a happy life: our life!
Everyone would like to grow without suffering: as kids we would have preferred it, we did not imagine that to “grow up” implied also to feel the pain; but it is part of the lesson to learn in this earthly dimension, where light and darkness, joy and pain, belong of the unique divine plan we are here to discover, and that is revealed by living both aspects with awareness.
If as adults we deceive ourselves by thinking it is possible to undertake the journey of personal growth where everything is beautiful, easy and bright, then we have not yet understood what it means to grow. If we are unwilling to encounter the child’s suffering, we miss the most important point: the energy blocked by the trauma remains the most obscure aspect of ourselves until we don’t know it, but once freed and transformed it reveals as luminosity, because it leads us to recontact our unity, our awareness.
It’s what happens with the healing of the inner child, which we will discuss in the next page “The wounded child within“.
by Renata Rosa Ughini
Copyright 2014 – All rights reserved –
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