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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UPR chapter.

Sometimes we react in certain ways to specific events and don’t really know the reason why. Reconnecting with our inner child helps us understand what happened in our lives that is still affecting us unconsciously. Every little way that we react and work with things is connected to our past experiences.

Taking care of our inner child helps us improve ourselves. Generally speaking, inner child work focuses on developing our sense of self love and taking care of that little one that still lives inside us. For example, simple activities such as playing with little kids or grabbing a crayon and coloring can lead us into a happy and nostalgic state-of-mind that makes us reminisce about particular moments in time when we genuinely enjoyed our childhood. Children are innocent and get excited about the little things, they are free and don’t care about what anybody else thinks. On the other hand, they tend to be as true to themselves as they can be, and that is precisely where we have to return to in order to really find ourselves.

There are some specific feelings connected with our inner child that arise when we least expect it. Fear, anxiety, avoidance, being indecisive, being too critical, having a hard time saying no… they all have a reason and going back and finding what happened before in our lives that makes us react that way, will help us move forward and overcome those emotions. Basically, this is a way of connecting with our past and healing to move forward.

In order to deal with this, there are a few things we can do to work through it all. The first step is acknowledging that our inner child is something we all have and that there is always room for improvement. This too is self care and in the end helps in making us a better person. With that being said, there are therapists that work directly with this topic and, usually, they will assign us to write a letter to our inner child. In the letter, we go far back as possible and say whatever we need to say to our little selves. Getting deep helps write about all of our feelings and resurface all those things we might still be scared to acknowledge. Thinking back into them and accepting them is what will help us in the present and will make us a better person in the future.

Some people have more of a hard time connecting with their inner child because they have been through harder experiences throughout their life; more specifically, their childhood. Feelings like anger and grief are typically harder to work with. Some might not want to go back because reliving those emotions can be painful, and even traumatic in some cases. Others barely remember their childhood because the hurt was too much, so it’s easier to forget. For example, reliving childhood experiences is a hard task for the kids that were bullied in school. They might keep on with life, but, if they don’t acknowledge that pain and validate how they were feeling at that moment, it will always hurt and will keep them from being truly free. The only way to heal is by going back to it, otherwise it will keep affecting the way we respond to things.

Remember the little things that made you happy as a child and incorporate them again. Painting, baking, watching your favorite movie, eating your favorite ice cream: all those things are simple ways of connecting. Journaling is always a good option too.  Use your imagination and try new things to get out of your comfort zone. Appreciate the small things and don’t be afraid of feeling free and dancing in the rain.

Taking care of our inner child also takes care of how we see and feel about ourselves. It will make us be our best and truest selves, love and accept ourselves the way we are. We can overcome anything that life throws at us. It takes time, a lot of effort, and can be done with the help of a professional that can guide each person at their own pace.

Laleska is majoring in journalism at the UPR Rio Piedras Campus. Loves travelling, fashion, reading books and sleeping. You can always find her with a smile on her face!