Everyone has an inner child. It’s the part of us that retains our innocence, creativity, and sense of wonder. But how often do you let yours run free?
Sarah Bailey has recently re-discovered her inner child. In this piece, she shares why keeping your “child-like view of the world” is healthy for every adult – in moderation!
I must be honest with you – I struggle to be an adult. The idea of paying bills and doing the weekly shopping can often feel overwhelming. When this happens, my mind wants to return to childhood – when life was easier and I didn't need to be in control of everything.
Of course, as adults we do need to be grown up, and we can't always give in to that want to regress into a childlike state.
That said, we should be aware that our inner child is there and that, at times, it is worth saying yes to them.
Our inner children are vulnerable yet free-spirited parts of us. They experience the world through child-like eyes, even within our adult bodies. Everyone's inner child is different. Yours will likely manifest in another way than mine.
We all feel our inner child from time to time. They often knock on our door when we smile with nostalgia at something from our childhood.
However, the stresses of life mean we find ourselves disconnected from this small soul inside us as we grow into adults. We forget the small things that once gave us so much joy and focus more on all the things that overwhelm us.
While I am focusing on the happy side of the inner child in this post, it is worth noting that our inner children may also carry the hurt and trauma of our past.
Sometimes, saying yes to your inner child isn't the best idea. For instance, in the middle of a business meeting or when you are trying to pay your monthly bills. At those times, you could say to yourself, "Let me just finish this, and then I will do something to ease my tension."
For instance, if you still need to appease your inner child after the business meeting, you could treat yourself to a hot chocolate or some sweets. After paying bills, you could watch a cartoon, look at photos of cute animals, or listen to a few of your favorite childhood songs on YouTube.
There are so many ways to connect with your inner child. You could try writing a letter (it can be helpful to write letters both to and from your inner child). Or experiment with other activities, like playing with play dough or sand, re-reading a favorite childhood book, or watching a favorite film from your youth.
The endless opportunities allow you to do all those things you used to love. It can also link to new hobbies. For instance, if you loved roller skating when you were younger, why not take it up again? It could even lead to finding new friends!
This question got my partner, Ash, and me thinking as, in some ways, my inner child lives just below the surface. When I'm overwhelmed, I'll often turn to a Disney movie. When I see an animal, you can often see my inner child come out.
You can often also see the hurt side of my inner child come out. This happens especially around my abandonment issues, which can erupt at the slightest thing. For instance, when Ash was in the hospital, I really struggled, thinking the worst would happen and I would be abandoned.
My inner child is a part of me that can feel a lot of joy and sorrow. They are both parts of me that I am trying to let out more and more. After all, there is nothing wrong with enjoying being around animals and nature.
Yes, I'm in my mid-30s, but I will go and spend time with animals. Yet I also need to care for them and show them the world is OK.
We all need to be a "big kid" at times and accept that part of it. Yes, we all grow up, but we don't have to neglect the side of us that sees joy in the small things, either.
How do you let your inner child out?
The information presented is solely for educational purposes, not as specific advice for mental health evaluations, management, or treatment. Please consult with a professional who can apply best practices and appropriate resources to your situation.