As we get older, we sometimes lose our connection to that inner-child inside of us.
When you look in a mirror, it’s obvious that you look different, talk different, and dress different. But the truth is, she still lives within you always. If you were lucky, that little girl inside you grew up healthy and strong with lots and lots of love. If you were not as blessed, you may have realized that you had to grow that little girl inside you all on your own.
If you identify with the latter, you’ll better understand what I will explain next.
As you might have heard me say before, you are your daughter’s greatest teacher. And as such, she is taking most of her cues from you, especially early on. As mothers, we normally teach what we know. And hopefully, we have the awareness to look into what we know that we don’t know. We are willing to expand beyond our sometimes, limited teachings.
I am in camp number two. I had to grow up mostly on my own with very little guidance. But the big love I received from my maternal grandmother, Nonna Caterina, was life changing. This is how I know that this work is so important.
The impact of our childhood on our inner-child
I believe that the way we operate as adults is heavily influenced by our childhood, and the more solid the start, the better. That doesn’t mean a rocky start is doomed forever. In fact, you can always re-visit that little girl, honor her, and give her more of what she loved as a child (as well as give her anything she was lacking).
You might see how this leads to raising healthy girls. If you are in touch with the inner-child that lives inside you - you will more easily connect to the one growing right before your very eyes!
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If you had everything you needed, you will know how to provide it. If you didn’t, you can aim to give your daughter what you missed out on and more.
How do you do that though? How do you connect with your inner-child and continue to honor and nurture her, especially with all the responsibilities of being an adult?
This is all a part of a healthy self-care practice. Women are typically givers and nurturers of others. So many people depend on us that we often forget the one that needs us the most – ourselves. You are no good to anyone else if you don’t take care of yourself first.
One way to connect with her is to get creative. I know you may be thinking that you don’t have a creative side, but really, we all do! And we all need an outlet to let that creativity flow.
This will show up for different people in varying ways, but if you dig around you will discover yours. For me, getting creative means organizing and scrapbooking. There’s something so wonderful to me about transforming a space, getting into do-it-yourself projects, and bringing my ideas to life. I love photographs, and I love to create beautiful collages and memory books full of people and experiences that are meaningful to me.
I have friends who love crocheting and knitting - some that took it up much later in life. One of my best friends loves transforming old furniture into magnificent works of art. Maybe you love to dance or paint, write or play music, or sing songs. It doesn’t mean you have to master any of these. The only requirement is that it brings joy to your soul.
If you really cannot think of anything, I encourage you to think back to little you and what you loved to get messy with as a child. I still love finger painting and playing with play-dough, even coloring every now and again. It is so relaxing! Let your inner-child guide the way.
Allow yourself to play
Another way to connect with the your inner-child is quite simple - play!
How often do you get silly and just have fun? What do you like to play? What makes you smile and laugh until your belly hurts?
One of my most favorite things to do as a child was playing on the swings. It is something I still love until this day. There is just something about swinging high into the air that makes me feel so free. Pumping higher and higher, it feels as though I could touch the trees!
I also loved things like roller skating and riding my bike. I can still hear Tiffany’s “I Think We’re Alone Now” playing as I zipped around the local roller rink. The lights were low and there were glow sticks all around. I was swaying my body to the music and nothing else mattered. I remember riding my bike so far into the next neighborhood, riding all the way down the ramp at the shopping center and feeling like I could do anything.
When I connect with those feelings of invincibility, I am reminded that, still today, I can achieve anything I put my mind to. Happiness, laughter, and joy can be quite healing. When you observe children, this is so natural to them. And as we get older, we forget that. We no longer make the time for those activities. Life becomes too serious.
So learn to lighten up! It’s important to slow down and create space for such an important aspect of life – enjoyment, fun!
Nurturing your inner-child
Another way to connect with the little girl inside you is to love and nurture her, the way you would your own daughter. Do you remember when your daughter was little and something would not go her way? And you would love and comfort her and explain that everything was going to be ok?
Has she ever been injured or had her feelings hurt? How did you respond? So often, the nurturing comes easily when we are reacting to a loved one’s emotions outside of ourselves. How can you offer that kind and gentle love to yourself?
How often are you hard on yourself or too critical? As your daughter gets older, is that self-critical voice creeping up on her too?
Sometimes we wish we had a magic wand to make it all better like we could when it was something tangible like a cut that needed a band aid. But inner work takes more time and patience both on your part and on hers. And the journey is so worth it.
Think back to what love felt like to you as a child. One thing I remember was my dad taking me to the store and buying me a yo-yo. Although it seems like nothing, the gesture was very meaningful. He never gifted me with much of anything nor did he spend any quality time with me.
Big love came from Nonna was when her eyes lit up every time she saw me. I wish I could of basked in her light every day. How can I offer that to myself now?
Maybe I can treat myself to something special after a long day? Perhaps I can look in the mirror and remind myself that the magic Nonna saw inside of me is still there. That my purpose is to share that with the world.
Now over to you: how can you love and nurture the girl that lives inside you? Was there something missing in your childhood that you can give to yourself now? How can you instill these important self-care practices in your little one? If you think about it, she’s a beautiful reminder of much of what we forget.