Do you remember what it was like to be a child? While all-too-often our inner child is stifled under the pressures of being all grown up, we need to remind ourselves that it’s important to laugh and have fun, to return to a childlike state of wonder and carefree happiness, and to spend time creating, laughing, dancing, dreaming, and even running across the grass!
As a child, chances are that your only doubts regarding your dream career path had to do with settling on just one of the dozens of possibilities. More than likely, you spent time doing things that you loved, without a care in the world, and no concerns about how others might perceive you. What a contrast from today! Somewhere along the way, we’ve lost touch with ourselves.
As adults, we have much to learn from our childhood selves. Channeling some of the best aspects of childhood, such as our carefree attitude and honest acceptance of ourselves, can help us destress and be more focused. Taking time out to play, can ironically help to make us more balanced, well-rounded adults.
Here’s a look at how to channel your inner child and how doing so can help you find your true self.
What Does it Mean to Channel your Inner Child?
When we talk about channeling your inner child, we're referring to the metaphorical process of allowing the hidden or less expressed parts of your childlike personality to come to the surface. This 'inner child' typically embodies the spontaneous, imaginative, and joyous experiences of our earlier years. The concept implies that we all have this subconscious aspect within us, reminiscent of our childhood selves, filled with wonder and devoid of adult burdens.
To channel this inner child means to rekindle and engage with these youthful sentiments, allowing them to influence our present selves. It's about re-exploring the world through the lens of curiosity and openness that once defined us. By doing so, we gain deeper insight into our present character, reflecting on the formative experiences that have shaped us, and reconnecting with the pure, unadulterated joys of life we often overlook as adults.
How to Connect with your Inner Child
1. Rediscover What You Really Enjoy
Think back to when you were a child. What was it that you really enjoyed? What were you passionate about? Did you pursue things because you enjoyed them – or because someone else told you that you should? Kids are great at finding things that interest them and pursuing them without a care for what others might think. Channel some of that attitude into your adult life by discovering your passions, hobbies, and interests. Give yourself permission to enjoy them!
2. Take Time to Play
As a child, did you need someone to remind you to play? Not at all. Yet, today, we’re so conditioned to be busy every second of the day that, for most of us, there’s simply no time or energy left for pure enjoyment (or relaxation). To combat this, you should pencil some free time into your schedule. Give yourself time off to go for a walk in the park, hike in the woods, or just relax by the lake. Or, get together with friends to play tennis. No matter what it is, taking time out to relax and enjoy free time is important.
3. Revisit your Childhood Memories
A great strategy for finding your inner child is to revisit your past through photos, toys, and other mementos. Sifting through items like these can cause you to tap back into an emotional space that helps you recall what you might have felt about the world around you during that time. Also, have your parents, siblings, or childhood friends tell you stories about those days. These recollections can help bring back memories you’ve otherwise forgotten.
4. Communicate with your Inner Child
Understanding yourself is to connect with your inner child. After all, your childhood is the root of who you have become today. To communicate with your inner child, write yourself a letter or let your thoughts flow in a journal. Writing about your childhood memories can help you explore your past experiences and shape associated emotions. Remember why you are writing when you explore your inner child. It helps to start with a question like, “When I was a child, what did I want to do when I grew up?” Beginning with a prompt like this helps you dive deeper into yourself and determine what changes you can make to live a happier, healthier life.
5. Speak the Truth
One thing that we all know about kids is that they’re brutally honest. They love to say what they think! While this doesn’t mean that you should be tactless in your conversations, we can take a leaf out of a child’s book – being genuine and true to ourselves. This means practicing honesty in every area of our lives. It also means being less concerned with image and more focused on things that bring you and others enjoyment.
6. Take the Initiative
Children are excellent at taking the initiative, especially when it's something they enjoy very much – when there’s ice cream at stake, for instance, or a must-have toy. As adults, we should learn to apply the same amount of zeal to achieving things that we’re passionate about. When it comes to your desires and goals, you shouldn’t wait for something to come along. Instead, if you want something, go after it! Don’t let obstacles get in your way.
7. Enjoy Life
One thing that is true for most kids, is that they’re filled with passion for life. They are too young to know complications, heartache, and frustration. They're able to enjoy the moment, fully appreciating it without having to worry about the future – or feel nagging guilt, wondering if they should be doing something else. As adults, we have much to learn from their approach. Taking time out to smell the roses and appreciate the sand beneath your feet will teach you to once again find enjoyment in the small things and the beauty that lives in the details.
As children, we’re always in a hurry to grow up, and in our haste, we leave some of the best aspects of childhood behind. Reconnecting with your inner child, and allowing yourself the freedom to experience life through the eyes of a child will reconnect you with the simple pleasures in life, and help you to find the enjoyment, happiness, and balance that you so crave.