How To Give Compassion, Love, Forgiveness And Safety To Your Inner Child
We might think of ourselves as kind, considerate, sensitive and generous – but how often does that translate into self-care? (Image used by kind permission of the artist Angela Holland-Yousaf)
It can be easier to
show compassion, love and forgiveness to someone else, whilst
neglecting our own need for such healing and emotional safety.
We can see and feel other people's need for care and support, and we can respond to help alleviate their pain. Perhaps we do this whilst pushing our own needs for compassionate help further down the list, and even out of our awareness.
Self-compassion, self-love and self-forgiveness have become more prominent phrases in recent years. I doubt that my parents or yours would ever have heard of them, let alone understood or applied them. They couldn't pass on to us what they didn't know for themselves.
It's time to take responsibility for making our own healing a priority. The empty cup analogy springs to mind. We must be in a good, balanced and abundant state before we can freely give to others without any major loss or cost to ourselves.
We have all reached adulthood with our own individual level of self-esteem, and beliefs about what care and attention, love and support we are deserving of.
The way we now treat ourselves is based upon our early childhood experiences - and the sense and decisions our child-mind made of those experiences at that vital time in the development of our self-concept.
The young child we once were still resides in our psyche, along with those old beliefs which drive our behaviours.
So as to 'fit in' and not be rejected we might have had to become a child who was overly compliant and to see everyone else's needs and preferences as being of more value than our own.
Or we might instead have hidden our own despair and loneliness behind an angry rebellious persona – which created only a thin veneer of distance from our painful feelings. Our consequent behaviour might have ensured that we were then seen in a bad light – which, to a child, is better than not being seen at all.
However we sub-consciously adapted to our early environment, we still needed unconditional attention and support from a stable person. Nowadays that person has to be ourselves!
Our early foundations are so important to us. We can't build a happy life without a blue-print or plan. We can't fully create self-love in isolation and without having received love from someone in our formative years.
We may have been fortunate enough to have had loving care from an emotionally attuned parent, but later life trauma changed those inner feelings of safety. Having lost what we once had is perhaps even more painful than not having had it at all.
What affects our inner sense of safety?
The most obvious things are abuse and trauma – which includes the trauma of emotional neglect and being insignificant to the adults around us.
Living in fear of anger, ridicule, violence and rejection – either at home or at school.
Having been treated worse than our siblings, or felt like an outsider who didn't belong in the family.
If we had to be prematurely 'grown up' - to take on a role in the family that wasn't appropriate for a child.
If we struggled to matter and to get our childhood needs met - and maybe we then gave up trying.
If we had to be tough to survive and forcibly reject vulnerability and weakness – which would have made things even worse for us back then.
If we were punished for making mistakes, or wrong choices. We were doing the best we knew how but this wasn't acknowledged and instead we were criticised and ridiculed into feeling ashamed of our failings.
Perhaps our insecurities and fears about making mistakes has resulted in ritualised behaviours designed to help us to feel safe in an unsafe world – but they fail. All they do is trap us further into our fear and increase our lack of safety. We become the compliant slave to a domineering masterful inner voice – which feels like a puppet master pulling our strings as we repeatedly carry out the same behaviours over and over again – too afraid to stop!
How can we soothe our wounded inner child's emotions?
The first step is to feel strong and grounded - and not at the mercy of the past or any nasty inner voices. We need to become a good parent to ourselves!
We must commit to delivering to ourselves a long-awaited package of emotional balance and self-regulation.
We heal when we open our wounded heart, and we can start this by ...
Focusing upon our heart beating in our chest... and the energy that radiates around us... and how this affects our mind and feelings...
And we see in our mind's eye the child we once were who is still in need of love...she needs to believe that she is completely forgiven, that she was never wrong or bad, and that she never deserved to believe that she was.
She was betrayed by people she should have been able to trust... and she is not responsible for how she was treated.
When we give ourselves – and our inner child – a sense of safety and acceptance, we can then focus more clearly upon the present moment and our future plans. Those echoes of our past pain and fear no longer deafen us...and we're no longer stuck in a state of panic or emptiness.
(for more about healing and re-parenting your wounded inner child please click HERE)
A meditation of self-compassion, self-love and self-forgiveness...
When you have a few quiet undisturbed moments in the day, give this special time to your inner child.
With your eyes closed, and sitting or lying comfortably, take a few slow deep breaths – and extend the out-going breath - which will calm and relax you...
Take your attention to your breathing, and imagine inhaling a vibrantly healthy, light, bright gas which is infused with affection and love...and as you breath this in, feel it being drawn into every cell of your body......
Now take a look around inside your body for any areas of tension of pain – and breath more of this loving gas into those areas...feeling yourself giving compassionate ease to any tight and blocked energy...
You are giving your body and mind your kindest focus and attention … and you feel your inner child relax and absorb it all - as if she was happily soaking in a warm bath.... the compassion, love, forgiveness and safety you freely give her makes her feel light, happy and courageous.
Say to your inner child...
You are loved – and I love you
You are forgiven – and I support you
You are safe – and I will keep you safe
You are strong – and we are stronger together
Your inner child only has you to rely upon – so don't ignore her, or let her down. Her voice may be muted but listen for it and respond with feelings of compassion, love and forgiveness to bring her the safety she has been searching for.
Maxine Harley (MSc Integrative Psychotherapy) MIND HEALER & MENTOR
www.maxineharley.com – If you and your inner child have had a troubled past with difficult or toxic parents then please help yourself to the page of FREE resources on this website. When you heal and re-parent your inner child and make peace with the past this frees you up to have a happier calmer life as a partner, parent, friend and in your working life.
www.maxineharleymentoring.com – Therapeutic self-development mentoring - helping women to understand and manage their emotions, boundaries and behaviours at home and at work... helping them to FEEL better, so they can BE, DO and HAVE better!
www.the-ripple-effect.co.uk – a series of 10 individual online self-help workshops – helping you to help yourself and to gain control over anxiety, depression, anger, stress, low self-esteem and confidence; and to better understand yourself and your relationships, how to be happier, how to balance your mind body and weight, and how to live a calmer more mindful life.
www.qpp.uk.com – a new and unique therapeutic method which works to change an unhelpful and restricting sub-conscious belief system or S.C.R.I.P.T. (c) Sub-Conscious-Rules-Influencing-Present-Time