Nurture Your Inner Child

Not everyone knows what it is to be a parent, but we all know what it is to be a child.

There is a place within each of us that only we can reach.  A place where our “inner self” first began to develop, our consciousness began to evolve and our identity was formed by the world around us.

Some people like to call this place our “Inner Child;” the part of our childhood that, although often dormant, remains very much intact within us.  In this place the most primitive part of our being lies;  The memories of our experience as a child, and the residual messages and feelings that were left behind.

We each received many different messages from the influential figures in our lives when we were children.  These unconscious messages can have a profound impact on our character, and our perspective on our life, our relationships and ourselves.  Many times adults can send unintentional messages to children that shape their identity forever, leaving certain parts of them damaged, confused or even shut down.

Here are some of the most common “unconscious childhood messages*” that people experience.  Although some of us may have received many of these messages, there is typically one that stands out the most…

Which message affects you?

“It’s not okay to make mistakes”
“It’s not okay to have your own needs”
“It’s not okay to have your own feelings and identity”
“It’s not okay to be too functional or too happy”
“It’s not okay to be comfortable in the world”
“It’s not okay to trust yourself”
“It’s not okay to depend on anyone for anything”
“It’s not okay to be vulnerable or to trust anyone”
“It’s not okay to assert yourself”

Allow yourself to sit with the message that stands out the most to you.  Feel it, remember it.  How is this message still affecting your life today?  How has this message shaped the way you feel about yourself?  How does it shape your relationships with others?

Whether we are conscious of them or not, these messages often direct our actions and our reactions to the world around us.  Getting to the root of these messages, and the feelings they cause within us, can help us better understand WHY we do what we do, and how we can better nurture ourselves toward becoming more fully functional human begins.

But how do we begin to connect with a part of ourself that may be so lost, and so forgotten?  How can we peel away the layers of defenses and judgements that we’ve created?  The answer, as it often is, is through awareness.

By bringing awareness to our feelings and actions, we can catch ourselves in the act, and bring greater attention to our needs in any given moment.  Awareness does not mean identification followed by judgement, denial or guilt.  It simply means that we are able to SEE ourselves and the world as it truly is, from a rational and conscious perspective.  In essence, we can observe and, over time, let go.

Learn to be gentle with yourself.  Treat yourself as you might treat a child – your own inner child; with kindness, love, support, understanding and tenderness.  Through these nurturing actions we heal ourselves, and reach new heights of personal evolution.

*“Unconscious childhood messages” compliments of the “Wisdom of the Enneagram”

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