My healing journey hasn’t been the most linear one. In fact, it’s been quite the opposite. But, the one thing that always helped me refocus was my past. As I learned how to reevaluate the things that I love about myself, the thing that I kept referring to was what had happened in my childhood that led to how I am today. And as I was walking down this path, it spiraled me down a rabbit hole of continuous questions. Why do I get overwhelmed after every minor inconvenience? Why do I get exhausted from social interaction so easily? What led me down this path? After weeks and weeks of journaling, I think I’m starting to figure out what my inner child really wants.
The inner child is a part of our personality that still has childlike wonder but is often hidden due to circumstances from childhood that brought up resentment, anger, hurt, fear, and sadness. Most of the time, we try to forget about our inner child and move on from that past but that’s the thing, you can’t escape it. The way you react to adult situations is with pent-up feelings resurfacing from childhood that haven’t been unleashed yet. Looking to my inner child and seeing what she needed at the time has helped me refocus my healing journey and replenish myself. Yet I needed some help. Here are some of the top journal prompts I used over the weeks of journaling that have really helped me realign and learn more about myself.
Part A: As a child, what is something you lacked that you wish you had?
Depending on your living situation and the way you were raised, were there any things that you wish you had? It could be more attention from a family member, lack of validation, lack of physical affection, lack of personal space. It could be anything. Focusing on the things that you lacked as a child will help you understand the needs that you want in a partner, friendship, and even your parents now. For example: When I was a kid I was never really heard from my parents and when I would try and talk about it, they would tell me to stop. Now, as a result, my inner child yearns to be heard in every conversation and wants to speak up if someone is hurting me. So if someone tries to silence me, my reaction is to be submissive because it’s the natural response I learned as a child. Through discovering what we lack, we understand why we act a certain way and react a certain way.
Part B: What are some ways that we can help our inner child?
After answering part A, part b will take what we lacked as a child and refocus on our attention to how we can combat it. For me, one way that I can help my inner child is to be assertive if someone is treating me poorly or to attract the type of people that won’t exclude me from a conversation. And while there are some things that are very much out of our control, this prompt will help us distinguish the things that are in our control and what aren’t in our control.
Question 3: How can we bring love to our inner child?
This question is a little bit more lighthearted but nonetheless very important. Let's go back to our childhood (without cellphones) and focus on the things that we used to love as a kid. Was it singing? Was it dancing? Was it coloring? As we grew into adults and entered the real world, we started the lose the characteristics and things that we did that gave us real joy. Why did we let that go? And yes it might be silly but sometimes it just takes one childhood action to spark joy in our life.
Question 4: What is the one thing that your inner child is afraid of?
This question is very similar to part A and part B but it focuses on the things that we feared as a child or one of the first encounters of fear. This will help circle back and see whether or not it is still affecting you today.
Question 5: If you can tell one thing to your inner child right now, what would it be?
Last but not least, this is a question that serves as a letter to the past self! After retrospecting on the past and learning what you can do to support your inner child, write a letter to them. Express that it’s okay and that you’re still learning and growing!
It takes a lot of courage and a lot of time to look into our past and resurface the things that have brought us pain. Our inner child has been through a lot of pain and a lot of trauma. Our inner child is always there, we just need to listen to it.