The Child Within Us
The concept of the child within us is not new – it has roots in ancient mythology and fairy tales, where the child is usually orphaned, abandoned or its life is threatened. Hansel and Gretel had their witch, Cinderella had her wicked step-mother and nasty step-sisters, and Jack had his giant – just to name a few. Walt Disney’s success rested on his ability to speak to the child within us all.
Psychologist C.G Jung and Mythologist Joseph Campbell have shown us that these myths and legends have widespread appeal because they illustrate universal human experiences. After all, we all have one thing in common by starting out as vulnerable, dependent infants so it is not difficult to resonate with the misunderstood, abused and helpless children in these stories.
With our parents unknowing help and society validating this, when we meet our inner child, we often discover that our childhood needs were not met – the need for love, safety, trust, respect and guidance. This of course may not have been what your parents or caregivers set out to do, but life happens around us and it is impossible for any of us to get it all right and to meet a number of unique and individual needs at any one time. We validate our experiences as children very differently to how we can rationalise them as an adult. Nonetheless, it is how we experienced this as a child, which stays deep within our unconscious mind.
The absence of these basic conditions may have brought about a state of chronic anxiety, fear, shame, confusion, anger and despair in our inner child…the fight or flight response I often speak about, leaving us beginning our lives from a victim stance and therefore unknowingly finding it difficult in resolving emotional traumas.
In order to survive our world, I believe we have all denied the child within to one degree or another, and it is not uncommon for the subsequent emergence of a false self or negative ego among children and adults who grew up with a family dynamic of rigidity, coldness, lack or nurturing or those with chronic physical or mental illness. It is little wonder how as individuals, we can build our adult world on the shaky foundations of a freighted and isolated child who didn’t get its basic needs met.
Recurring emotional and physical problems in adulthood are a sign that the inner child is trying to speak to you, and as we continue to ignore its cues, sooner or later crisis hits in the form of (some but not all) – illness, career upheaval, divorce or financial disaster – all of which, the universes’ ‘kind’ way of telling you it is time to look within. If this is resonating with you, this may be why you are reading this blog post now.
If like me, and you can identify with this scenario, I also want to comfort you in that, working with the inner child is not about unearthing all the things your parents did ‘wrong’ and feeling angry at them. Now as an adult, it is about disassociating your adult-self from your story to enable you to process your repressed emotions which at one time you were taught as a child to not feel, or if you experienced trauma or abuse, you would have learned to hide the pain and fear to survive. The core of this practice is that accessing your inner child allows you to find the roots of your issues or destructive behaviour as an adult such as:
· Depression and anxiety
· Anger management issues
· Addictions; alcohol, drugs, sex, people, technology etc.
· Low self-esteem
· Abandonment issues and borderline personality disorder (BPD)
· Emotional numbness
· Relationship difficulties
· Co-dependency and powerlessness.
Moving through this process, and accessing locked up emotions, empowers you to find a new understanding and compassion within your situation and towards others. Also, I hope you will be able to see that others are not perfect either, everyone has flaws and we all to some degree, have our own unmet needs to challenge us.
Only you can do this empowering work and it is my absolute pleasure to support you through this transformation.
I also believe that the principles and techniques from healing your child within, can have a useful application to symptom and disease management.
You will know your inner child is present through feelings – this is the part of you which is energetic, alive, creative and fulfilled.
It is your real and raw self.
The part of you which was born into the world vulnerable and with a whole lot of courage.
I want to guide you through this process to reveal your authentic self; which is genuine, spontaneous, expansive, loving and giving. The part of you which feels and communicates your feelings – whether they may be joyful or painful emotions, your real self accepts your feelings without judgement and fear and allows them to exist.
It is important to mention however, that feelings are very real, but they are not always factual and they are not always a true representation of what’s really happening in reality.
By being real, you are free to grow.
“Our Child Within is expressive, assertive, and creative. It can be childlike in the highest, most mature, and evolved sense of the word. It needs to play and to have fun. And yet it is vulnerable, perhaps because it is so open and trusting. It surrenders to itself, to others and ultimately to the Universe. And yet it is powerful in the true sense of power” Charles Whitfield.
Whilst our false self forgets, our real self remembers our ‘oneness’ with others and the universe.
By being our true self, we feel alive.
This is the part of us we no longer need to keep private, it’s the part of us where deep fulfilment is waiting, with no more act, façade or show to put on.
Although young round the edges, and for those of you who have read my story and as to why I am here now, empowering you to reclaim your power and embody an inner confidence, I feel old at soul as my spiritual growth has been somewhat accelerated through life’s circumstances and the joy I can express for all I have ‘survived’, in order to be of service to you lovely lot. After all, life has happened for me, and not to me.
I am a strong believer that we choose our journey and we are only ever given what we can handle, and this often shows up in a ‘soul plan’ reading where I can determine the vibrational energies you carry around with you and the challenges your play out in your life.
As I have put emphasis on throughout the above article, to some level, I strongly believe as children we didn’t have all of our needs met and as I know as a parent myself now, it is impossible to give it all – we can only ever do our best with the resources we have available at the given time. With this being said, each of our parents and each of us, are on our own journey, so I urge you to be kind and accepting of yourself and others, offering no judgement. This coupled with each child having its own unique needs and requirements, plus external and cultural forces beyond our control, it is little wonder we all end up slightly ‘messed up’.
Experiencing life through the eyes of a child is difficult to embody as it encourages us to become vulnerable.
When I worked through a 12-step programme several years ago, I remember having to fully disassociate myself from being an adult, as I was stuck, finding it difficult to let go of the beliefs I held, as it was these very beliefs that I was using to reaffirm my past experience and justify how I was living my life.
I knew I had to face up to the shadow of myself – the side of my personality containing all the parts of myself that I didn’t want to admit to having. After all, I had spent most of my life doing anything I possibly could to avoid this part of me. This is when I felt in a place of crisis, abandonment and totally hopeless. This is when my journey began.
I distinctively remember whilst in a therapy session, my therapist pointing out that I went into a child-like state. My voice had changed, I shied away and I continuously played with my hair. It was at this point, that I stopped looking for the triggers, the answers and someone to pass the blame to. I knew it was time for me to go within and look after the needs of the little girl I once was.
It was here that I really began to assign the theory of ‘me’ as my mission. To uncover who I am and what I stand for, to know my truth and my passions and consciously shift my energy to focus on what is important to me and living in the now. I stopped trying to change my story as I knew that I had to hold it as close to my heart as possible and change my relationship with it.