By Coach Kat, Oct. 28, 2022, copyright Bronwyn Katdaré 2022
One day I will own my own home. I dream that it will have an extra bedroom that is not needed for any specific purpose. Not as a guest room. Not as an office. Not for storage. In this room, I will keep my sacred treasures from childhood – all of the things that made me feel good, or safe, or that I just loved. My Strawberry Shortcake sleeping bag will be on the bed. I was not allowed to keep the sleeping bag on the bed or to sleep in it other than during sleepovers. It needed to be rolled without going off-center or having any creases. I will keep this sleeping bag on the bed for just a nap here and there or nestle in to read a book. I will keep my treasured books in a bookcase - books that I bought at book fairs as a young grade-school child or ones that I loved but my mother hated to read to me. “Two Pesos for Catalina” or “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” were two of my favorites. Animal figurines will live here – the animals who protected me, who really knew me because they listened to my stories, wishes, and fears. The dolls with grand dresses will live here – those dolls who I wanted to be! My jewelry box with the dancing ballerina, a box that contained my “jewels” and slips of paper with wishes written on them.
Why? Why do I want this room filled with kid’s stuff? The answer is easy. My inner child needs a place to go to relax, feel safe, and be surrounded by love.
What is an Inner Child?
Swiss psychologist, Carl Jung, first proposed the concept of an Inner Child after exploring his own childlike inner feelings and emotions. He discovered through sessions with himself, a memory of playing with building blocks as a child. This memory was laced with much emotion. He felt that this creative child still lived within him but in his outer life, he lacked that creativity he once held as a child. For several years, Jung connected with this inner child through the process of Active Imagination, creating toy villages made of stone and blocks. Jung hypothesized that it was this inner part that influenced all we do and the decisions we make. This process and theory paved the way for what he termed “Individuation,” or the process of becoming fully integrated and whole in your soul; becoming who you were meant to be; the realization of the Self, which is the union of the conscious and the unconscious.
One of the first steps in the process of Individuation is to reconnect with your inner child. The inner child holds all the memories and emotions, good or bad, that we experienced growing up. The healthy inner child is the part of your psyche that retains its innocence, creativity, awe, and wonder toward life. When our inner child is healthy and we are connected with them, we tend to be inspired, productive, and have a zest for life.
Sometimes, however, the inner child felt a need to protect us as children from trauma (big or little) and to absorb the negative words or harmful actions of our caretakers. This inner child did not have his or her needs met, still does not feel safe (physically, emotionally, or spiritually), and is hypervigilant. This inner child may still be “running the show” and unconsciously influencing all we do even though we are now adults. The unhealthy inner child may make questionable decisions, overreact or “blow up” over triggering events, or operate on old stories or beliefs. They can be full of anger, shame, or rage because of the maltreatment or neglect they endured.
Inner children are the lens through which injured adults make their decisions. Can you imagine a child making sense of adult relationships? Or making career decisions? Or money decisions? If we ignore the wounded inner child, we feel disconnected from life, tired, empty, and unhappy. If we engage in inner child work, or work toward Individuation, we begin to ease the wounds of this part of our psyche.
· When was the last time you spoke to or connected with your inner child?
· How often do you take the time to tune in and listen to your needs?
· Do you regularly make space to play and enjoy life?
One of the benefits of inner child work is that hidden gifts and aptitudes can emerge. Many of our relationships improve, our addictions and habits lessen or fade away, and our connection with ourselves deepens. Understanding and tending to our inner child is crucial for self-healing, developing healthy interpersonal relationships, building self-esteem, and practicing self-love.
When you are ready to begin this process, consider my Soul-Centered Coaching program. Soul-Centered Coaching is designed to assist individuals through what Carl Jung called Individuation, the process of becoming a self-actualized, fully-spiritually-developed human being. This is what I like to call "Becoming Whole in Your Soul." More information on this program can be found here.
(Bronwyn Katdaré is a certified Integrative Holistic Health Coach and Jungian Soul-Centered Life Coach. She incorporates Shamanic healing, Reiki, Akashic Records, and Kundalini Awakening Yoga into her coaching and healing practices).