Connecting with my inner child has been a huge part of my life for over a year now. Without it, I’d still have lots of memories to heal and lots of suppressed emotions that I had never allowed myself to feel.
Telling what your inner child needs to hear is incredibly powerful, especially if you were not given the love and acceptance you should have been given by your parents or primary caretakers.
As children, we can’t identify what’s wrong. We can’t tell if our parents are good or bad — we just love them the way they are, and all we want is to be loved back. However, if we can’t emotionally engage them, meaning, if we have emotionally immature parents, we’ll feel like something’s wrong.
Our parents are supposed to be our secure base. They’re supposed to be the ones we can always go to, the ones who validate our feelings and make us feel safe and accepted. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and the lack of a secure base in childhood can cause some very deep wounds.
This is why it’s so important to reparent ourselves and tell the child within what we always needed to hear.
As someone who has a very strict, critical father who has never cared about my emotional needs and who has never allowed me to express my individuality, I have found inner child work extremely helpful and healing.
I wrote this letter a few months ago. I hope my words resonate with your inner child too.
Dear Inner Child
I know I’ve ignored you for years. I hope you forgive me, and I hope you know it’s safe for you to express yourself now. I’m here for you and I want you to know that.
For many years, you felt alone and misunderstood. You felt like you were never good enough, no matter how hard you tried. You felt like everything was your fault. I’m writing you to validate your feelings, so that you know you’re not alone anymore.
You’re not crazy, too emotional or too sensitive. Those who told you that were just emotionally immature and could not fully understand you. Please understand that’s not your fault. Your feelings are valid and you deserve to express them.
I know how many times you’ve suppressed your needs because you were afraid of being judged for expressing them. I know how many times you’ve hidden your anger when you felt like you were not being treated the way you deserved. And I know how much pain it created inside of you.
Your pain is there for a reason. You were indeed emotionally mistreated, and you deserved so much better than that.
You deserved to be told “I love you”. You deserved to have a safe place to go to. You deserved to be unconditionally loved and accepted, not just when you had good grades.
You deserved to have the freedom to pursue your passions without guilt, to make mistakes and stand up without worrying about being perfect all the time. You deserved to have the freedom to show your true self.
Your anger is not something to be ashamed of. Actually, your anger is an healthy sign that you know your boundaries were crossed and disrespected. You have every right to express your anger and to stand up for yourself. You have every right to set limits and choose how much to give.
I know you’ve always felt confused because your physical needs were always met but your emotional needs always remained unfulfilled. And you were right. Life’s much more than the physical realm; you should have been emotionally supported.
As a result, you have an overdeveloped empathy. You don’t want anyone to feel the same way. You want everyone to feel loved, cared for, supported and accepted. Your empathy is a gift; don’t let anyone take it away from you.
You were taught that being helpful and hiding your needs would win others’ love, but that’s not how true love works. True love does not require being perfect or neglecting yourself; in fact, it gives you the freedom to show your true colors and express every single part of your being.
True love has no conditions. It lets you be who you are, regardless of the circumstances. It encourages you to grow and flourish and it supports you in doing so. It makes you feel accepted and it provides you a secure base to come back to — with no demands or questions asked. And that’s the kind of love you’ve always deserved.
I know how difficult it can be to love yourself when you’ve never felt loved by the very people who were supposed to teach you what love looks like. Please, forgive them. They were doing their best. They didn’t know any better, and they still don’t.
I know how difficult it was for you to live in such an unstable home environment, where you were constantly trying to avoid the next argument. I know how much anxiety it has caused you, but please know that his anger was never your fault.
I know that you tried to overcompensate his instability by being overly happy all the time, and by becoming the person he wanted you to become, so that you could feel how proud of you he was. You kept pushing yourself to prove to him how worthy of love you were, but your efforts were never enough.
You have nothing to prove. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with you. He never loved you unconditionally because he’s in pain and he’s not brave enough to face himself. It’s not your job to fix him.
It’s not your responsibility to please everyone. It’s not your duty to exhaust yourself in order to fulfill everyone’s needs and wants. Your only duty is to take care of yourself and fill your own cup. That’s all.
I hope you find the courage within you to always remember that your worth is not based on others’ judgements and opinions, and that you don’t need to please anyone to be cherished and adored. I hope you always find the strength to love yourself and respect your emotional needs, even if you were not taught how to do it.
Thank you for your bravery. You kept smiling and being kind when you had so much to deal with. You made others feel seen and heard even when you were hurting.
I hope your heart will always remain open, even when it’s not treated with kindness. I love you.