If you're wondering how to start inner child work, I suggest you try out this very popular Inner Child Work Exercise video:
Before we get into inner child work, let's first quickly go over what shadow work is.
What is Shadow Self & Shadow Work?
Your shadow self, or shadow, is the side of yourself you have no awareness of. It holds all the qualities you disowned during your formative years.
Although you learned to repress these qualities and push them outside of your awareness, they still live underneath the surface.
They unconsciously guide your actions and are the unseen cause for many of the troubles in your life.
Shadow work is the intentional practice of becoming aware of your unconscious shadow and integrating these neglected qualities into your being—becoming whole.
This is a process of building self-awareness, self-acceptance, and universal Love.
"Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate."Carl Jung
How to Start Inner Child Work
What is Inner Child Work?
Inner child work, or inner child healing, is becoming aware of what aspects of yourself you've denied and redeeming them via conscious integration.
It's doing the griefwork to digest and process emotions that you carry from the past.
While becoming conscious of the underlying beliefs that have been driving your existence.
By doing this, you become more emotionally mature and experience universal Love.
You can also do inner healing through shadow work prompts.
Inner Child Wounds & Shadow Beliefs
A child who experiences emotional trauma and isn't given adequate love and time to process it will develop an inner child wound.
An inner child wound is a moment in time where a person's psyche is stuck due to an undigested emotion.
These emotional traumas from the formative years are commonly feelings of:
Over time, these unprocessed inner wounds evolve into an existential belief of the child's own existence. Otherwise referred to as a "shadow belief."
Shadow beliefs are dysfunctional and unconscious. So, unfortunately, they are why many people find themselves in unsavory positions in life and involved in unhealthy relationships.
This is because you will unconsciously seek to fulfill the existential position that gives you the validation you're used to:
Here is a list of common shadow beliefs:
- Nobody can be trusted
- I'm blameless & you'll always forgive me
- I'm always wrong
- I am pure
- I am helpless
- The world wants to dominate me
- I've always been a loser
- Everyone is ungrateful
You will unconsciously live out these positions in your relationships—even when it's against your self-interest.
Until you become aware of this, your psyche is in arrested development.
By going to therapy or performing "self-therapy," such as shadow work and inner child work, you will be able to mend your psyche's wounds and live a healthier life.
Take Responsibility for Your Psychic Inheritance
"Nothing has a stronger influence psychologically on their environment and especially on their children than the unlived life of the parent."
Everyone inheritance some unconscious influence from their parent's unlived life.
A man who chooses to forego a promising career in boxing to take care of his unexpected child will unconsciously, or even consciously, influence his child to pursue the opportunity he passed up.
This unlived life is often hidden within your parent's shadow because they've convinced themselves that the relevant qualities are "unacceptable."
This is usually because of the seemingly opposing principles surrounding a person's sense of obligation and freedom of choice.
A stereotypical example of this is a God-fearing pastor having a sexually liberal daughter.
Where the potentials of a person's unlived life are passed down to their children via their shadow.
There's a good chance that your psychological inheritance comes from the person you believe family life revolved most around.
Inner Child, Self-Love, & Necessary Higher Power
The story of Jesus Christ is about a boy who was born to a mother but no father.
Without a healthy and whole support system, he must rely on the Father, God, to give him any Love he didn't receive in childhood.
This is similar to all people who had inadequate parenting.
A parent can teach a child to be polite and civilized to be a functional member of society. But not all parents are equipped to do this in a way that teaches their children that they are still loved regardless.
Not adequately building "secure attachments" with the parents usually results in inner child wounds.
A secure attachment reflects a person's connection with God, or their "transcendent function"—the ability to trust one's instincts and self-direction while being aligned with the higher intelligence at work.
A damaged connection—or a lack of adequate self-trust and self-love—causes people to struggle in their lives. They have dense shadows, and things don't seem to go their way.
This is because finite intelligence is no match for Infinite Intelligence.
It takes genuine self-love to align with this higher intelligence—something many people don't have.
Those who have adequate self-love are already unconsciously aligned with God. Those without self-love will consciously and consistently struggle.
This is why spirituality is essential. It helps close the gap between you and your security with a higher power—albeit a more deliberate and conscious effort.
Note: Self-Love, Love, God are all the same things.
If you are interested in self-development to improve your psychology and self-love:
Here are some resources I recommend:
Shadow Work Course is based on my in-depth research and personal experiences with shadow work, projection, sadomasochism, inner child healing, triggers, and all things shadow. This course is updated every year and gets new content at no additional cost. Learn more here.
A Light Among Shadows is a guide on self-love and being. This short course goes over consciousness, spirituality, philosophy, and makes sense of why people are the way they are. Recommended for people dealing with resentment and self-hate. Learn more here.
Shadow Work Journal: 240 Daily Shadow Work Prompts contains inner work exercises related to relationships, anger, anxiety, self-love, healing trauma, abandonment issues, depression, forgiveness, etc.
Manifestation Manual: The Path of Least Resistance bundle teaches you some holistic and systems thinking along with how to mend your inner child wounds so you can align with your higher self and move forward in life. This includes 20 video clips as a free bonus.
Shadow Play (or “DsR”) is a small sister website that goes over “sensual” shadow work through my BDSM experiences. If you are 18+ and are interested, go here.