How to heal your inner child: Best exercises (+ free test)
These can all be beliefs that were instilled in you during childhood, that hurt you and that your wounded inner child still clings to.
These phrases hold you back and cause you to not function in various areas of your life.
In this article we will introduce you to different exercises that you can use to heal your inner child.
What exactly is your inner child?
There is an inner child hidden inside everyone of us.
In me, in your partner and yes, also in you.The Problem is, that it’s not always hiding – sometimes it rages or screams. Maybe it even throws itself on the ground and refuses to do what the adult in you demands.
Your inner child presents the childlike aspect of your inner self. It sits deep in your brain and constantly reminds you of suppressed feelings or neglected needs from your childhood.
Even if you had a happy childhood, there will have been moments when your needs were not met, moments when your inner child was scarred.
Exercise #1: Remember your Childhood
Close your eyes and think back to your childhood.When did you feel sad, when angry? Are there traumatic experiences that shoot into your head? Can you think of sentences that you had to listen to over and over again?
Write down everything that comes to your mind. Go through important people from your childhood one by one.
How broken is your inner Child?
Why you should heal your inner child
Recognizing and communicating emotions
Expressing needs without losing your temper
Setting limits to others
All this describes an integrated adult who has built a healthy relationship with his inner child.
Working with your inner child will bring to light feelings that explain why the adult in you finds some things harder than others.
You will gain insight into your hidden needs, uncover unhealed wounds of your childhood and understand your own behavior patterns better over time.
What problems does your hurt inner child cause?
It’s responsible for your loneliness
The reason why you feel lonely is that your inner child feels lost. He lacks someone to tell him that everything will be all right and to embrace and comfort him when he is feeling bad.
At the same time there can be many dogmas that prevent you from building relationships with other people. These include: “The world is evil” or “I can only trust mom and dad”.
Your inner child destroys your relationship
Relationship problems can often be traced back to your wounded inner child. Think about a few situations in which you were angry at your partner.
Maybe he forgot your birthday or once again didn’t take out the trash even though you asked him to.
Were you really angry at your partner in this situation?
In many cases such situations tend to tear open old wounds and remind our inner child of moments when it did not feel important or was not taken seriously.
Their self-hate comes from the inner child
“You suck”, “Get out of the way”, “You’re not good enough”.
Did you hear these or similar sentences in your childhood?
Even if you have long forgotten them, your inner child still remembers them quite well. It is sentences like these that still give you the feeling of being of no value today.
To overcome your self-hatred, you need to understand what made your parents hurt you so much and realize that it had nothing to do with you.
It fuels your fear
As a child, you are often told what you cannot and must not do. With every step you are told: “You can’t do that yet!” or “You are too young for that!
These sentences burn themselves into your memory and ensure even in adulthood that you unconsciously wait for permission and do not dare to do anything.
It hates mistakes
If you reflect for a moment, you will surely find out for yourself why your inner child tends towards perfectionism.
Mistakes result in punishments and depending on your childhood, these can be quite traumatic.
The higher the punishments, the more likely it is that you, as an adult, will do everything possible to avoid missteps.
Your inner child and alcohol
A hurt inner child feels like a void. A hole deep inside that wants to be filled.
Some people look for ways to fill this void and come across alcohol, marijuana and other substances that do not fill the void but put your feelings and thoughts on hold.
An addiction can quickly develop in these situations, which in the long run only increases your problems. To get out of this vicious circle, the only way out is to seek professional help.
Exercises to get to know your inner child
The first step in your work with the inner child is to make contact and seek dialogue with him.
There are many exercises that will help you to enter into dialogue with your inner child. Here is a selection:
Perform a body scan: Close your eyes and scan your entire body. Starting from the little toe up to the scalp. How do you feel? Imagine your inner child in front of your mind’s eye and start asking him questions. What does your inner child need? How is he? What problems does it have?
Draw your inner child: Sometimes it can be difficult to imagine your inner child and to remember all the hurts you suffered in your childhood. In such cases it is useful to make a drawing of your inner child. Less artistically gifted people should find an old photo of themselves and stick it in the middle of the sheet. Around the picture, write down sentences and situations that hurt you. Once the sheet is well filled, it is much easier to start and maintain the dialogue.
Write letters: If you are more the literate type, you can put the conversation with your inner child entirely on paper. Organize a small fictional correspondence by first describing your problems from the perspective of your former self and then letting your inner adult answer one day later.
What you should consider when talking to your inner child
Be empathetic and explain to your inner child that they are not to blame for the injuries that have been inflicted on them.
Always remember that you are talking / writing with a small child and not with an adult. So use a simple language.
Exercises that heal your inner child
Exercise #2: Healing Meditation
The benefits of meditation are numerous. During a meditation you learn to listen to yourself and to consciously perceive your feelings and sensations.
If you make your inner child the center of your meditation, you may find it easier to recognize the problems of your younger self.The problem with talking to your inner child is that he or she is often not able to name his or her own feelings and problems. Suppressed emotions also play an important role in the mediation with your wounded inner child.
Visualization meditation in particular can help you to build a deeper relationship with your inner child in order to gradually heal it by simply imagining during the meditation how you are having a conversation with your inner child or comforting him in hurtful situations.
Exercise #3: Let your inner child write a diary
If you did not do this during your childhood, it is high time to catch up on documenting your innermost feelings.Of course it is a hard task to remember things you experienced 10, 20 or 30 years ago. Maybe at your next family reunion you will bring your childhood into play and try to reconstruct one or the other experience from old stories and photos.
Similar to writing a letter to yourself, write down how you felt in certain situations. Write down all the memories that you associate with certain events.Switch off your inner adult for a moment and let everything that comes to your mind flow freely onto the paper.
Exercise #4: Look at childhood pictures
The family album also offers plenty of material to heal your inner child. Look at pictures of yourself and try to remember the situation in which this picture was taken.
Were you happy or sad? Angry or completely carefree?
Keep photos that evoke particularly strong memories in a clearly visible way to remind yourself of your inner child in everyday life.
Exercise #5: Strengthen your inner child
Bring back childhood memories!
As we enter adulthood, we often forget everything that we enjoyed as children: Jumping in puddles, playing board games, ordering a waffle ice cream, playing with other children and above all: a lot of laughter.
If you manage to regain some of this light-heartedness, you will not only strengthen your inner child, you will also contribute to your emotional health.So: Do something childlike again! Don’t care what other adults think.
Exercise #6: Practice self-love
Take care of your inner child as if it were your own. Do all the things you wished your parents would have done.
No matter how you ultimately connect with your inner child, you should give him positive affirmations regularly. These can be short sentences like: “You are safe with me” or “I will take care of you”.
Think about what you would have liked to hear from someone as a child and be that person yourself. Go with your inner child to places where it was never allowed to go and fulfill their wishes.
Exercise #7: Work on your problems
You cannot expect that working with your inner child alone will be enough to solve all your problems.
When talking to your child, you can primarily bring the suppressed feelings to the surface and remove your own guilt.
If you have never learned to maintain a relationship because of your inner child, you should learn it. If you have developed an anxiety disorder, you have no choice but to tackle it with professional help.
With the exercises mentioned here, you empower your inner adult to take just these steps.
When does the work with your inner child end?
See the healing process as an open-ended journey. There is no clear point at which you no longer have to think about your inner child. Rather, over time you should learn when your inner child is coming up and threatening to make decisions for you.
In these situations you should then consciously call your inner adult to mind. Always remember: It is a lifelong task to maintain a harmonious relationship with your inner child.
Heal inner child: Accept help from others
On your journey to a healed inner child you should not shy away from going to a therapist.Deep-seated wounds are often not easily healed and a therapist has the tools and techniques to help you.
Even if your environment might see it differently, it is not a sign of weakness if you seek help.
Conclusion: How to heal your inner child
Almost everyone has deep-seated problems that can be traced back to your injured inner child.Often they have developed over years and you can expect that it will take about the same amount of time to heal them.
What are your experiences with healing your inner child? Write it down below in the comments!
Download the exercises from this article as PDF: