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I turned 20-years-old about a month ago and came across a Twitter post that has stuck with me since then. It was about how the most surprising thing about being an ‘adult’ —whatever that truly means, is how at times, you don’t really feel like one. There’s still a part of me that feels like I am just as clueless about life as I was when I was 16. Another part of me is stuck in 2006 and just wants to watch High School Musical and feel the magic of it all again like it’s the first time. What most people neglect to tell you about getting older is that, in some ways, it’s about coming back to your inner child, because even though you were so young and naive about the world at the time, it’s still about coming to terms with who you were as a person. It was one of the most authentic versions of yourself because that’s who you chose to be before the world told you what box you fit into.

Being accepted means everything to us as a kid and even as a teenager, even though we would never admit it at the time. However, as you get older, you realize how much you may have compromised yourself to fit in and make others comfortable. Inner child healing is about allowing your genuine self to shine through with acceptance and love, without judgment. That is why you see so much joy on a person’s face when they are jumping in puddles, playing games from their childhood, and belting their favorite songs from a Disney movie. Just because you grow up doesn’t mean what moves your spirit changes. Embrace your inner child and do all the childish activities you never got to do. Do all the activities you loved to do as a child and never stop doing them. Allow yourself to throw temper tantrums and cry your heart out in your room without thinking you need to control emotions instead of digging into the depths of them. Do it all, even if others judge you, because it is very freeing to be the person your younger self so desperately wanted to be but never felt safe enough to show. 

Listed below are 4 ways to honor and connect with your inner child. Of course, there are many more actions you could do, but I hope this gives you a starting point. Remember, healing is a journey with no destination. There will be good days and bad ones, but they all are necessary to get to a point where past wounds aren’t dictating your life and actions.

  1. Meditation and Visualization: I suggest sitting in a quiet room and focusing on your breathing. Focus on the way it moves in and out of your body. When you feel ready, start visualizing a younger version of yourself. Don’t try too hard and allow the visualization to come to you naturally. Your inner child may come to you as a 5-year-old, a 10-year-old, or even a 16-year-old! It all just depends on your experience. Ask your inner child what they want to tell you and just listen. Let the words flow. If you aren’t ready to hear what they have to say, try just telling them things you wished someone told you at that age.
  2. Express: Our emotions are linked to so much of what we try to hide from ourselves. Many difficulties we face today can have some type of connection to our childhood and adolescence. If you don’t express those emotions fully, they will just come out in other ways. Maybe as a child, you never felt like you could depend on anyone, which led you to be hyper-independent and refuse to give anyone the chance to potentially let you down again. One may be super aware and observant of the people around them because, as a child, they needed to know how the adults around them were feeling as a survival tactic to avoid their anger. Allow yourself to grieve and express any uncomfortable emotions associated with your inner child. There is no way around healing and feeling. You have to go through it and I promise the other side is better.
  3. Fun: What were the things that instantly excited you as a kid? Drawing, dancing in the rain, playing with friends, watching movies, eating ice cream in the morning? Whatever it is, just do more of it, especially if it is something that you never got to experience as a kid because of your circumstances. It may be childish, but there are no parents to stop you from doing so. Just do it and allow yourself to have fun with no restrictions. 
  4. Run Wild: Any older person can watch a child and realize how free they are. They simply want to do something and just do it. There is no thinking or questioning about it until they are old enough to do so. I am not saying one should live their life impulsively, but I think we all should allow ourselves to be completely untamed and wild every once in a while. Think of all the experiences and moments you missed out on because you said no. Sometimes the best times in your life start by simply saying yes to something and doing it.
Alia Wells

Xavier Louisiana '23

My name is Alia and I am currently a junior studying Psychology at Xavier University of Louisiana. I joined my university’s chapter to become a writer to share my interest about ancestral veneration, psychology, inner child, and more! Can’t wait to share my ideas with you all <3
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