The Inner Grownup

So often we talk about the Inner Child, the wounded little one who needs attention. But who’s going to give that unconditional love? It needs to be a strong and caring adult-figure inside of us.

For example—when a friend has said something that hurts me, and my inner child feels abandoned, I experience her feelings as panic and pain. Nobody will ever love me! I’m bad and wrong! Everything is awful! Sometimes those feelings just pass, but often I need to sit down and listen to the little girl whose heart was broken by early betrayal. As a compassionate adult I can tell her, “It’s not the same now. You really are loved. And even if everyone else in the world abandons you, I’m still here and I will always love you.”

It takes time and practice to develop that Inner Grownup—practice in identifying the old ways of responding, and practice in giving the Inner Child your undivided attention and love. I know I’ve needed to listen and identify many unhelpful voices (the Inner Bully, the Inner Critic, the Mean Parent) in order to find the pure love that the Child deserves.

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