Before we discuss the power of play, first it is important to explain the concept of the inner child. Your inner child is an aspect of you, who represents you as a child. This part of you contains your collection of memories from your childhood. She or he experienced your earliest emotional memories and pain, and so now forms the essence of your emotions: in this way inner children form the foundations of who we are as people now, and how we behave.
We are all wounded children, walking around in adults’ bodies
By reconnecting to your inner child, you gain new insight and understanding about yourself, and you can potentially heal on a very deep level. As all little children, what your inner child wants the most is to connect with you, to be seen, acknowledged and loved. However because your inner child also holds painful and negative memories from childhood, there’s a part of the adult you who doesn’t want to connect with your child. So this will cause disconnection and resistance, both will make it harder to reconnect. It takes persistence.
Here are some ideas and tips:
- You can start by speaking to your inner child, and asking her what she wants to do today. It might feel strange at first (or even like you’re a little mad) but persist because this really works. It’s a practice because you might not be able to hear this part of yourself at first. Perhaps at the beginning you might think you can guess at what your inner child’s response might be, it’s important though, to honour what your inner child wants to do by doing it. If she wants an ice-cream at lunchtime, get one! If she wants to go to the park today, head there before work? Or early evening? It’s important to honour the activity – it’ll grow the bond!
- Another fun way of connecting is by watching Disney and animated movies, especially your favorite ones growing up. Allow yourself to fully enjoy and be immersed in the fantasy and magic of the story.
- Be mindful of using the words “shouldn’t’, “can’t”, “impossible” etc, and see if you can replace those words in your vocabulary. As children, it’s easier to believe anything is possible, however as we grow up and live through experiences, limiting beliefs start to develop and affect how we think and speak.
- Dream more, your inner child LOVES dreaming. As children we would spend a lot of time imagining fantastic creatures, worlds, characters and possibilities. You can start each month writing down five dreams that really light you up in a lovely colourful notebook. Really allow yourself to connect to the energy of playful creativity and endless possibilities. Make them real by sharing them with a friend, and at the end of the month review your dreams and see how you’ve got on. Have you achieved anything you’ve been dreaming about?
- Another easy way to connect is by doing fun activities that stimulate this part of you, such as coloring in, reading your favorite books growing up, and doing other activities you used to love doing as a child like horse riding (this is one of mine!).
Above all it’s important to remember that connecting to your inner child takes practice and perseverance, but if you commit to it your whole life will change: it will become lighter, joyful, playful, richer and open to new possibilities.
G4AS QUICK GUIDE TO PLAY
- Dance, find a class, go to a dance night, do it in the park!
- Art: rediscover your favourite way to express yourself through this medium: watercolour, pottery, sculpting…
- Go out into nature: Go to the park, climb a climbing frame
- Blow bubbles, buy an ice-cream, play on a swing in the park
- Daily affirmation: “I am worthy. I honour my inner child. I am safe and loved. I have freedom and happiness.”
Buy Jody’s book: Life Tonic: A Modern Toolkit To Heal Your Life and Soothe Your Soul, £13.50 (Yellow Kite, 2017)