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6 practices to heal your inner child

Have you ever wondered why you made a poor choice, not honoured yourself in a relationship, or thrown yourself under the bus at work?

It might be an old inner child wound or trauma that's resurfacing, crying out for a new level of healing. I believe that we all have an inner child, who represents our childlike aspects (both magical and challenging) as well as our personal memories, hopes, joys, desires, and needs from childhood. Getting in touch with your inner child to find out what it's craving right now can stop it from acting out in self-sabotaging ways to get your attention. Here are six self-love practices for nurturing your inner child:

1. Identify what you wish you'd had, or had more of, as a child

Whether you had an ideal childhood or a very challenging one, or something in between, we all have childhood wounds. You might look back and wish you'd had more attention, unconditional love, playful adults, protection, belonging, security, resources, guidance, freedom, acceptance, encouragement, acknowledgment, or anything else. No one's childhood was perfect and some peoples were pretty harrowing.

2. Sit with any emotions that come up

Identifying childhood wounds does not have to involve blaming or shaming your parents or guardians. However, this type of work can bring up strong emotions, like anger, resentment, sadness, rage, emptiness, depression, grief, frustration, longing, confusion, regret, fear, anxiety, and bitterness. Be gentle and kind with yourself and only do as much examination of the inner child as you can handle in the moment. Take breaks, and seek support from friends, understanding family members, mentors, health care professionals, counsellors, coaches, and spiritual guides. On the other side of these uncomfortable emotions is greater peace, understanding and acceptance.

3. Acknowledge self-sabotaging patterns that still linger from childhood

Sometimes even the things we don't like we keep recreating because they are familiar. If you have abandonment issues from childhood, you might sometimes choose relationships, both personal and professional, where there's a good chance the other person will bail on you. Or you might project this fear of abandonment onto people who really deserve a chance to be in your life. Simple awareness of negative childhood patterns recreated in adulthood can do wonders to shift these patterns and create something healthier. We all recreate unhealthy patterns from childhood, so if you discover one, forgive yourself.

4. Give yourself today the things you wish others had given you in childhood

One of the difficulties of childhood is that we are largely reliant on others. If finances and stability were an issue for you growing up, prioritise action steps that create more earthly resources in your life. If you were the invisible child, pay attention now to your own needs and desires. Cultivate relationships with people who celebrate you as unique and special and feel privileged to interact with you.

5. Call in your guides and angels for a sense of unconditional love and support

As an intuitive energy healer, I've seen that we all have angels who walk with us and work on our behalf tirelessly, but they do have limits on how much and when they can intervene. However, developing a closer relationship with your guides and angels can be very healing for the inner child who wants to feel loved, nurtured, important, and protected. Guides and Angels can also help you develop a spiritual perspective on your childhood and give you practical guidance about navigating life as an adult.

6. Find a child in your life to show up for

If you had a difficult childhood, don't be surprised if observing children or teens who have idyllic childhoods is triggering or even brings up intense feelings of jealousy (see Step 2). Remind yourself that all children need more love and attention. The child (or children) you show up for might be your own child, a relative's child, a friend's child, a child you teach, or a child you meet through a volunteer opportunity. Cherish this child and make them feel special. You might be given opportunities to show up for them in small or big ways. Make the mindful decision and commitment to be an earth angel to a little one in your orbit. It will be healing for both of you!

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