I have read a lot about the subject of our inner child and I find it fascinating (and scary, at times). I got the inspiration for this article after I’ve seen the beautiful works of Cecile Carre on Instagram. They really spoke to me and connected with the reading and the practices I’ve done with regard to inner child work. So they inspired me to write this article. And while this article barely scratches the surface of this ample and important subject, I hope you’ll like it and find it useful.
You can find Cecile’s works here and follow her on Instagram here.
The theory of the inner child
Our early childhood experiences profoundly impact our emotional development and shape how we perceive and respond to the world around us. According to the theory of the inner child, we carry within us a representation of the child we once were, and this inner child holds memories, beliefs, and emotions that we may not be consciously aware of.
These emotions can be positive or negative, and they can influence our thoughts, behaviours, and relationships. Some proponents of the inner child theory believe that unresolved emotional issues from childhood can create emotional blocks that prevent us from fully expressing ourselves and living authentically.
The neuroscience of fear
When it comes to fear, neuroscience provides insights into the underlying mechanisms of the brain that contribute to our experiences of fear. When we encounter a fearful stimulus, such as a spider or a loud noise, the amygdala, a part of the brain responsible for processing emotions, is activated. The amygdala sends signals to other parts of the brain, such as the hypothalamus and the brainstem, which activate the body’s stress response system. This leads to the release of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, which prepare the body for a fight-or-flight response.
Research suggests that the amygdala may also play a role in the storage and retrieval of emotional memories, including those related to childhood experiences. Traumatic experiences during childhood can lead to a hyperactive amygdala and an overactive stress response system, which can contribute to anxiety and other mental health problems in adulthood.
So, how can we embrace the fears of our inner child in light of this knowledge?
Here are some steps to consider:
- Identify the source of your fear: Think about what experiences or beliefs may have contributed to your fear. Try to connect your current fear to a specific event or pattern of events from your past.
- Recognize the emotions involved: Acknowledge the emotions that you feel when you experience fear. Fear can cause a range of emotions, including anxiety, anger, and sadness.
- Connect with your inner child: Visualize yourself as a child experiencing the same fear that you feel now. Connect with the emotions that your inner child is feeling and try to understand where they are coming from.
- Reassure your inner child: Once you have connected with your inner child, reassure them that they are safe and loved. Give your inner child the support and comfort that they need to feel secure and confident.
- Reframe the fear: Look at the fear from a different perspective. Ask yourself what you can learn from this experience or how it can help you grow. Reframe the fear as an opportunity for growth and learning.
By embracing fear in this way, you can learn to manage it more effectively and gain a deeper understanding of yourself. It can be a powerful tool for personal growth and healing. Remember to be patient and kind to yourself as you work through your fears. By doing so, you can empower your inner child to overcome the emotional blocks that may be holding you back from living a fulfilling life.
My bibliography for this article:
Here are some books that I used as a source for this article. They provide further insights into the theory of the inner child, the neuroscience of fear, and techniques for embracing and managing fear:
- “The Drama of the Gifted Child: The Search for the True Self” by Alice Miller – This classic book explores how childhood experiences shape our emotional development and how we can reconnect with our true selves by healing emotional wounds from the past.
- “The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma” by Bessel van der Kolk – This book provides an in-depth look at the effects of trauma on the brain and body and offers techniques for healing and recovery.
- “Embracing Fear: How to Turn What Scares Us into Our Greatest Gift” by Thom Rutledge – This book provides practical advice for embracing fear and using it as a tool for personal growth and transformation.
- “Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation” by Daniel J. Siegel – This book explores the neuroscience of emotions and offers techniques for developing mindfulness and emotional regulation skills.
- “The Power of Vulnerability: Teachings on Authenticity, Connection, and Courage” by Brené Brown – This book explores the power of vulnerability and how it can help us embrace our fears and live authentically.
These books provide a wealth of information and techniques for understanding and managing fear from both a psychological and neurological perspective and I found a lot of valuable and applicable information in them.
I hope you found this article helpful. Please share it with those who might need it. Take care of yourself and of your inner child.
PS: A big reason I write is to meet people so feel free to say Hi! on Linkedin here or follow my Instagram here, as I’d love to learn more about you.