I’ve read a lot about the journey of healing, taken advice from different therapists and online articles and tried a few different tactics and exercises to help me get through it. But the best advice that I ever received was to recognize that it can be unpredictable and non-linear.
When I think about a journey, I can see the goal in the distance, I know where I have to go, where I want to be and I just need to find the right path to get there. No matter which path I choose, whether it’s the backroad or the highway, each step brings me a little closer to the destination and I am fully in control.
But the reality feels more like a rollercoaster ride: I can see the top and climb and climb slowly until I am up there, I rejoice: “I’ve made it”. Sometimes I am up for a few minutes, sometimes hours, sometimes days, and then gravity pulls me down with lightning speed. Sometimes, I feel that I am lower than I have ever been before and I struggle to see the next mountain to climb.
Sometimes, it takes so much energy to climb the smallest hill that I worry I won’t make it. But I know I have to keep pushing, I have to trust that the end goal is there.
Is your inner child in need of healing? There’s a number of signs we can look for which indicate a deep suffering or need for resolution. In order to find peace and happiness, we have to embrace this pain for what it is and move forward in good faith and belief in our right to thrive.
Feeling a sense of loss
A deep sense of unexplainable loss or longing can often be traced back to an inner child who is lacking in love and compassion. Children need to be validated by those they look up to. It’s how they form their reference point in this world and perspective of self. When something missing in your life (from the inside out) we have to look to the past. Does this sense of emptiness stem from an inner child who never got the love they deserve?
Inability to let go
Do you struggle to let go of people and of things? Does the slightest departure feel like abandonment? That’s usually your inner child calling out in fear. Perhaps they were abandoned by someone they trusted, and it leads to a panic any time they see similar patterns in the future. It causes you to fear letting go of anyone or anything. You may even begin to hoard memories like valuables. Letting go is a part of healing, though, and a part of moving forward.
Failing to assert boundaries
What happens when you try to stand up for yourself or set boundaries in your relationships? Are you good at making your limits clear? Or do you find that you always get pushed around, or pushed in the direction of what the other person wants? Unsurprisingly, an inability to set mental, emotional, or sexual boundaries often stems from a childhood in which we were punished for doing those things; teaching us it’s not safe to say “no” to others.
Perfectionism is a double-edged sword which leads to a lot of problems when not properly managed. More often than not, it also stems from childhood, where we learned that in order to be loved or accepted, we have to “be the best”. This compulsive desire to prove yourself to others is toxic. It comes from a need to prove superiority over others, which comes always from a place of deep-rooted insecurity.
Losing control emotionally
Do you find that you have a hard time regulating your emotions? Do you blow up or lash out regularly when things don’t go your way? Do you lose control and strike a painful blow before anyone else is allowed to hurt you? Emotional regulation is a skill learned in childhood, but when we fail to learn the skill, it leads to dysregulation in adulthood. This impacts our interpersonal relationships, and even the professional opportunities we attract.