We all have an inner child . . . that part of us that still survives from our early years. He or she plays a larger roll in some of us than in others. Some of us hang on that inner child with all the passion possible — for good or bad — while others have managed to outgrow its influence — for good or bad — and move on with our lives as adults. That inner child can play an extremely positive role in our lives if it is healthy and allows us to continue to be playful, creative, energetic, loving, accepting, and excited about life. It can also hold us back from truly “growing up” and becoming a mature adult able to handle the ever-increasing challenges of life. That inner child, when it was a much more visible part of our outer appearance, may have experienced a life of joy and happiness, surrounded by love and encouragement; or it could have led a life of abuse, abandonment, nonacceptance and pain. If the former is true, it can have either a positive or negative impact on our adult life. It can mature along with us and allow us to enjoy life to the fullest, continuing to have that childlike creativity, curiosity, playfulness and joy. It can also keep us trapped in immaturity by refusing to grow up and build on what has been provided us. If the child within fits the latter description, we may well have done everything within our power to bury it in a tightly-sealed crypt, never to come face to face with it again and with all the trauma and sadness it experienced. However, that crypt can never be fully sealed, and that sad, hurt child can continue to haunt in ways that we may be unaware of. We may try to cover and protect that hurt, sad, frustrated little child inside us allowing ourselves to become overweight, or by keeping ourselves overly busy, or by acquiring as many possessions and “adult toys” as possible. We may seek out relationship that we somehow feel — often unconsciously — will somehow save us from the influences of what that inner child experienced in the past, finding instead that we have attracted a relationship that treats us the same way we were treated as a child and makes us continue to feel the way we always did about ourselves and the world.
At some point I need to ask myself what my relationship is to my inner child.
Has it been a help or a hindrance to my life? Is our relationship a good, positive one of joy and well-being, or am I perpetually haunted by the experiences we continue to share? Is it time to find out?