3 Ways I Connect with My Inner Child
One of the biggest things I’ve been working on in therapy over the last year or so is connecting with my inner child. It’s easy to connect when you can remember the good times but it’s a challenge sometimes to remember the not-so-good times. A couple sessions ago, I was talking to my therapist Stephanie about one of the exercises I did between sessions. The exercise involved me getting in touch with my infant self by doing childlike things like sucking a bottle or feeding myself with my hands. I had an issue doing this exercise once before because I wasn’t connecting but when I told her what happened when I redid the exercises, she told me I did connect and I was so excited! It felt great knowing there’s a part inside me that’s still there and I made the connection.
The fun part about me starting to connect with my inner child is all the memories I haven’t thought of in years are starting to come back to me. It’s interesting to see what I actually remember and feel when that happens.
A hot bath after a 12-hour work shift is the most relaxing thing ever; it’s something I look forward to a lot to decompress and get my mind right. I can submerge my body in hot water, be still, and let my mind wander. When I was younger, I’d take a stack of books in the bathroom with me and read them all while sitting in the tub. I’d be sitting in the tub for a long time reading everything from Berenstein Bears to Dr. Suess. What I’ve been doing lately is still similar only I’m not reading children’s books. I’ll find a magazine or book (currently it’s Elaine Welteroth‘s memoir “More Than Enough” to be exact) and sit. I can easily spend 30 minutes or so in the bath with no care in the world. As soon as I sit in the tub, I zone out and it’s just me.
Talking to Little Kid Alex
Not gonna lie, it was awkward the first couple times I talked to my inner child. The more I do it, the less weird it gets. Whenever I do it, I repeat to myself a few reassurances related to conflict and my feelings. The first time I did it, I didn’t realize I spoke to myself for almost 20 minutes. Like anyone else, I already talk to myself about regular things like errands or reminders but talking to my inner child is on a whole different level. Conflict is still an issue at times but I notice when I say internally there’s no issue, I relax. I did another exercise in my Inner Child workbook recently and had to talk to myself in the mirror. I took that opportunity to encourage not only my inner kid but my adult self. We all need to know adulting is going to be okay, right?
Disney+ came at the right time for real. Yes, I do have the VHS and DVD versions of a few 90’s Disney movies but now being able to stream whenever I feel like it is a godsend. Out of anything and everything related to finding my inner child, that’s never left me. I still get joy out of watching Lion King, Aladdin, Pocahontas, etc. A couple sessions ago, I was talking to my therapist about the movie The Fox & the Hound and how my cousins and I named 2 dogs that belonged to my Grandma’s neighbor after the Todd and Copper. I’m not entirely sure the last time I thought about those dogs but thinking about them unlocked so many memories I had of interacting with them. They’d bark at us then race to the fence where we’d play fetch with them. Even watching the movie bought back a feeling I hadn’t experienced in years. There’s a scene where adult Todd and Copper are fighting and Todd bears his fangs. Those fangs scared me as a kid and I felt those same feelings resurface in anticipation for that scene.
Connecting with my inner child is definitely a process I’m learning how to be more understanding with and learn more about myself. Of course, it’s equal parts having fun but also recognizing triggers. The ways I connect with my inner child aren’t hard at all. They’re all something anyone can do and hitting this stride feels like an accomplishment.