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  • Daisy Andrews

How To Connect With Your Inner Child

A blog by Daisy Andrews

Your inner child - you've probably heard this expression used before many a time. But what does it actually mean and how do you "connect" with it?

In psychology, the inner child is a person's childlike aspect - both your sense of fun and play, and all the things you learnt and internalised while you were young. Carl Jung, for example, refers to a child archetype in his work, associated with memories we hold of playing and being creative, our hope for the future and our innocence. The inner child is sometimes even considered to be a separate part of your personality which we are unaware of in our conscious mind.

Your inner child can act as a source of strength or, alternatively, if you had negative experiences as a child, it sometimes carries those experiences like wounds - that is, until we take the time to sit and address them.

So, connecting with your inner child can be two totally different experiences.

Connecting with your inner child in times of difficulty

If you experienced trauma as a child or have any sort of strong negative memories, these can heavily impact our thoughts, feelings and behaviours as adults. In other words, our anxieties as adults are often linked to our childhood.

That's why connecting with your inner child is so important when you feel overwhelmed.

The best way to do this is visualisation. Imagine your childhood self sitting in front of you. If you struggle with this, try looking at a picture of yourself as a child. Open a conversation with your childhood self - either out loud or in your head if that feels more comfortable. Think about what you'd like to say to them if they were feeling the things you are feeling.

For example, if you have been feeling insecure and telling yourself "I'm a terrible person" or "no one likes me", take a moment to consider whether you would say these things to yourself as a four year old - the answer is probably no.

This exercise also works if you have children of your own. Imagine your child coming to you with these thoughts, would you agree? Tell them they're terrible and that everyone hates them? Of course not. You would give them a hug and reassure them with kind words. This is how we need to learn to treat ourselves.

Speak to your inner child with kindness and love, tell them you love them and that no matter what they believe, they are good enough. Then, take a moment to listen to what your inner child is saying back to you. This is key to understanding why you are feeling the way you are feeling.

Once you have started building up this relationship with your inner child, you will have a better understanding of your emotions and insecurities. The next time you feel anxious or overwhelmed, ask yourself "am I actually in danger?", if the answer is no, it's likely it is your inner child who is feeling scared. Take some time to soothe them.

Connecting with your inner child to ease stress and have more fun

With all the responsibilities and stresses that come with being an adult, we often forget that we can - and are allowed - to have fun. Here's some tips on how to reconnect with your childhood self and learn how to have fun again.

  1. First and foremost, the most obvious way to connect with your inner child is to play. Take out some old board games or your kid's toys, go to the park and have a swing and a slide, crank up the music and have a good dance. Whatever makes you feel most free. You can also bring this playful attitude into the workplace to help dissolve difficult situations and relieve tension. Having a more positive and light hearted approach makes work easier and more enjoyable.

  2. If you're struggling to let loose, actually spend time with children. If you don't have your own kids, organise to spend some time with your nieces or nephews or even hang out with your friends and their families for the day. This is sure to remind you of all the fun you used to have as a kid and all the fun you could be having now!

  3. Tune into your creative side. Do some childish arts and crafts or dig out a colouring book. There are loads of great ones for adults now - like this one by Johanna Basford. Want to channel your creativity into something more productive? Try redecorating your home or pick a new creative skill to learn like painting, drawing or a musical instrument.

  4. On the topic of learning, educating yourself is another great way to connect with your inner child. As a child, you were always learning - whether in school or at home- maybe it's time to return to that. Read a book on a new subject or enrol in an online course in whatever sparks your interest. This site has some great ones.

  5. Be open and honest. Without a developed understanding of what might be offensive, rude or insensitive, children often say exactly what they're thinking and how they're feeling. While we don't recommend going around spurting out whatever pops into your mind, we can learn something from this. Being more open and honest about our thoughts and feelings with people and expressing our true opinions can often help us communicate better and let go of any pent up feelings, leaving us feeling freer and happier. Being open also allows children to make friends more easily. As a child, most of us found it far easier to wander up to someone and start a conversation. Try drawing on some of the confidence of your inner child to forge new relationships and friendships.

However, you decide to connect with your inner child - remember always be kind to them. They are just a younger extension of you and deserve your time and understanding.


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