Pop-psychology and the healing industry
In mainstream media, there’s a lot of talk of our “inner child” and how we’re supposed to heal it to break patterns we’ve been struggling with and to feel better in our lives.
I’ve been hearing this term for years, and for years I didn’t pay much attention to it. I thought it was just another pop-psychology term waved around by the “healing” industry.
I didn’t like the image of a small imaginary kid living inside of me and taking over in emotionally charged situations – do you?
More recently, however, I’ve started to reframe things a little differently.
Instead of asking whether a concept is true, I ask whether it is helpful. To figure out whether the idea of the inner child is helpful, I first needed to understand it better.
What’s the “inner child” really about?
The inner child, simply put, is the idea that the way we learned to be when we were a child still plays an important role in our adult lives. More specifically, the childhood traumas that we carry still affect us today in an often unconscious way. This is especially so in difficult, emotionally charged moments that trigger those old traumas.
There’s a saying that every conflict is 10% the issue at hand and 90% old sh*t.
There is no doubt that our past frames our present. But it is often difficult to recognise when we’re upset because something upsetting happened or because something that happened in the past is being triggered again. This is where this idea of the inner child can be truly helpful, whether you believe in it or not.
My inner child is always on time
In India, where I live, we talk about Indian Standard Time being, in fact, Indian Stretchable Time. Nothing ever happens on time here. Things just happen when they happen.
I grew up, however, with a mum for whom being on time was a very big deal. To give you an idea, I remember being in much bigger trouble for being five minutes late than for having my tongue pierced in secret. (In fact, I wasn’t scolded at all about the tongue piercing, which I no longer have in case you’re wondering).
As an adult, even though I live in India and everyone is always late – including myself – being late gives me a lot of anxiety. It’s not just when I’m late for something or when others are late to meet me, but also when others are late for something I’m not even going to.
Lateness really stresses me out. In inner child terms, the kid in me is still worried about being told off for being late.
Being aware of this, and of where it comes from, empowers me to decide whether I want to change this about myself. As it turns out, and after a lot of thought on the topic, I’ve decided that being on time is an important value for me and that I will continue to rely on my inner child to enforce it in my life (as much as humanly possible in India!).
Making peace with old patterns
But there are other triggers that I carry from my past that I don’t want anymore. For instance, it used to be very important for me to come across to others as a learned and cultivated person. In Paris, where I grew up, being cultured is the ultimate compliment. As a child, I heard adults around me talk with the utmost reverence and respect about people who knew a lot about a lot of things.
As a teenager, I remember explaining to a British friend that the best thing someone could say about your boyfriend was “he’s so learned and cultured.” “Not handsome?” she asked, in shock.
As a result, I spent years trying to come across as cultured during social gatherings. I would often pretend to know a subject I didn’t have a clue on. In inner child terms, the kid in me was desperate for validation.
This was not only tedious, but it was also often boring and misled people about me. As such, this is something that I have worked to let go of.
Today, I still find myself feeling that urge to try to impress others with my knowledge, even on topics I know little about. But now I can recognise it for what it is and consciously decide to ignore it. Social gatherings have become much more enjoyable as a result!
What about your inner child?
Are there patterns in your life that are holding you back?
Are there things you’d like to change but are struggling to?
Identifying how your past affects your present, and what you can do about it will help you achieve just that.
I’d like to invite you to hear Dr Sarita Dhankani’s presentation on:
Limiting beliefs & Inner child: How your past affects your present and what you can do about it
Dr Sarita Dhankani is a holistic healer and an emotional wellbeing coach.
With over 8 years of experience in the field of holistic healing, she passionately works with people to help them deal with the root cause of their issues through various holistic healing modalities, healing retreats, spiritual guidance and psychological counselling. Register here for free.
During the week of January 10-16, every day you’ll get to meet an amazing woman and expert in her own field who will share with you tips, insights, mindset hacks and other tools that can help you on your journey.
You’ll get the videos sent directly to your inbox so that you can view them when it suits you. (Because I know you’re super busy)
That’s seven amazing women over seven days, with a live call with all the speakers and attendees on the last day.