9. Mindfulness – Exploring the Inner Child Concept

Have you ever wondered where fear originates from? Was your childhood picture-perfect? If you answered yes, I’m genuinely happy for you. However, for many of us, myself included, childhood was not without emotional trauma or unmet needs. The impact of childhood trauma, regardless of its magnitude, can deeply affect our subconscious mind and significantly influence our adult lives. Neglect or a lack of attention from caregivers is a form of childhood trauma. Research has indicated the negative effects of adverse childhood events on chronic adult diseases, such as coronary artery disease and autoimmune conditions. Children deserve unconditional love, but unfortunately, many do not receive it. When children experience neglect, they often internalize the blame, thinking, “There must be something wrong with me,” fostering a fear of inadequacy and being unlovable. This fear becomes deeply rooted within us.

 

During childhood, our beliefs and subconscious mind take shape. Psychologists refer to this subconscious mind rooted in childhood experiences as the inner child. In adulthood, when external circumstances trigger unhealed wounds from our inner child, it leads to suffering. We have all witnessed instances where a grown-up person behaves like an upset six-year-old. I highly recommend that everyone familiarize themselves with the concept of the inner child. There are various resources available, and one book I frequently recommend is “The Child in You” by Stefanie Stahl. Once you grasp the concept through reading, I encourage you to try a free guided meditation called “Shadow Child Meditation,” which is available on Stefanie Stahl’s website (www.stefaniestahl.com/downloads). This guided meditation will lead you through a scene where you meet your inner child and embark on a healing process. Utilize this meditation to reassure your inner child that you have grown up and are here for her. Let her know that you will protect and love her forever. Release her from any blame for the challenging experiences she endured during your childhood. This is how healing begins. Repeat this guided meditation 3-4 times to become more comfortable with connecting with your inner child.

 

 

Another healing practice to explore is “Ho’oponopono,” a native Hawaiian tradition. In Hawaii, we teach this practice to our children in public schools. It involves reciting four essential components of healing: “I love you. I am sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.” You can perform Ho’oponopono while looking at yourself in the mirror or engage in it with a partner. Once you have learned to connect with your inner child, I encourage you to practice Ho’oponopono with your inner child, supporting her healing process. Inner child work is a powerful tool for addressing anxiety and depression, as it tackles the underlying source of these emotions – limiting beliefs formed during childhood events.

 

One point that I wanted to make is that we cannot change what happened in the past. However, I believe that we all have a duty to heal ourselves and bring more love to this world. I firmly believe that everyone has the potential to heal when we put in the necessary work. Throughout my career, I have cared for patients with a wide variety of illnesses, including terminal cancer and traumatic leg amputations. We are all in this together, and you are not alone. Every event in life has both positive and negative aspects. For instance, when I was growing up, my parents worked long hours, and I was primarily raised by my grandparents. This led to feelings of unworthiness and being unlovable. However, I used these insecurities to fuel my academic success, and eventually, I became a physician. Similarly, I experienced bullying during my middle school years, which taught me the importance of being a caring leader. It’s crucial to remember that the quality of your life is determined by where you choose to focus your attention (positivity vs negativity).

 

Take the courageous step to delve into your inner child’s world and embark on a journey of healing and self-discovery. By nurturing and understanding your inner child, you pave the way for greater emotional well-being and a more fulfilling life.

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