Within each adult there is an inner child, which is a childlike aspect of the self. Although our chronological age increases each year, there are younger parts of us that do not age. From this perspective, we all have an inner 5 year old, 10 year old, 15 year old, and so on.
As we age, it’s common to feel increasingly distant from the childlike aspects of our self. Sometimes this happens because as we get older we have more adult responsibilities that require our time and attention. When we have a seemingly endless to-do list, it’s easy to spend most of our energy on these tasks. Although it’s important to fulfill certain responsibilities as an adult, our inner child is often ignored when we focus most of our attention on work.
Even if it has been years since these younger parts of the self have been accessed, it’s absolutely possible to reclaim this precious part of the self. One way to connect with the inner child is to create time in your schedule to play. What activity do you enjoy that is fun and makes you smile? What did you enjoy doing as a child? The answers to these questions will help guide you to what forms of play your inner child would enjoy the most. Remember that whatever activity you choose should not feel too practical or serious because your inner child really wants to have fun!
Another way to connect with your inner child is to listen more closely to the messages from your body. While our adult self tends to live mostly in the head and thinking mind, the younger parts of us often express their needs through the body. To better connect with the body and inner child, it can be helpful to create a quiet space where there are minimal distractions. Take a few deep breaths and notice what feelings and sensations are present inside your body. What does it feel like in your jaw, throat, chest, belly, hips, legs, and feet? Do certain areas feel tight? Relaxed? Hard? Soft? Something in between?
Since the body is a direct line to your inner child, the more attuned you are to what is present inside, the more you can hear the voice and needs of your inner child. You can even ask your body/inner child questions and the answer may come in the form of a sensation or feeling. Whether your body feels tight or relaxed in response to a question can tell you a lot about how your inner child feels.
The inner child plays an important role on the journey of becoming your most authentic self because it holds valuable wisdom about your needs that may not be apparent to the adult part of you. Through play, body awareness, and a compassionate willingness to listen, you can strengthen the connection with your inner child, which opens up new inner pathways to joy, aliveness, and peace.
With love & gratitude ~ Erin Stohl