Over the years, it’s become somewhat of a cliché to “get in touch with” our inner child. It’s giving ourselves permission to, occasionally, not be an adult. However, we don’t want to ignore who we were, either. Today, let’s talk about the inner child and what it means when it comes to adult growth and development.
All of us have had the experience of being a child, and most of us have no trouble at all being tender and compassionate toward the children we know. But when adults find themselves feeling or behaving in a childish way – if they notice at all – they often react with horror.
It is important to realize that growing up is not a one-way trip. Adults can be childish sometimes, just as children can act very grown up. Sometimes, people who are totally “adult” all the time can be a bit intimidating, can’t they? Perhaps, we can learn to respect that inner child who lives in each of us.
While it is true that growth means trying new things and, in the process, letting go of old things, it doesn’t mean you should despise the self you once were. On the contrary, the child we used to be, and still are in many ways, deserves the same love and compassion we would show any youngster. Childhood is one part of our life that we learn with, and we don’t want to deny the learning we have done. After all, it has gotten us to where we are today.
It is only when we reject our own past, our inner child so to speak, that the specter of self-hatred begins to raise its head, making it much more difficult to let go and move on. By the way, letting go becomes easy when it is done out of self-love and compassion, and because we are on to something better, rather than because our inner parent says we “have to” for our own good.