Your inner child is that innermost part of you, the "original" you, that still sees and responds to the world as an innocent (sometimes, wounded) child does.
It doesn't really matter if you're familiar with the term or not, though. This open letter to my inner child might be everything you didn't even know you needed to hear.
That's especially true if you've been through some stuff, the kind of stuff that takes a lifetime to heal.
Inner child work (whether you sit with yourself or a therapist) involves addressing emotions and experiences from your childhood — in a sense, dialoguing with your younger self — so you can find and heal the roots of chronic pain and reoccurring issues in adulthood.
Writing a letter to your inner child is one way to heal your relationship with the past.
It's about bringing the pieces of your past into the light of today so you can see what still craves some kind of resolution. Where you've still yet to be seen and heard.
It's walking up to your limitations and extending a peace offering to the parts of you you've never forgiven. The versions of you still trapped by old fear, treading water, barred from ever moving forward.
It's a way to bring tenderness to your tension, to breathe into the forgotten chambers of your heart.
It's bringing together your fragmented self like you'd piece together a puzzle, so you can reorient yourself in light of your wholeness.
Essentially, it's being a parent to the parts of you that were left behind as the rest of you grew. It's you, giving yourself the affection, attention, and validation you never received.
It's not easy work. Sorting through the baggage you've been towing around for too long never is. Your healing is complex because you're human, and humans are complex.
If you open yourself up to it, inner child work can be incredibly cathartic. You might break down and have a breakthrough. You might suddenly realize that tender spot underneath your right shoulder blade is actually where the trauma settled after your brother died (yeah, that's me).
Your body remembers even what you've trained your mind to forget. Fear gets stored in your muscles, shame in your cells, grief in your bones.
Your heart remembers everything, too. You just need to get quiet enough to hear the truths you've been keeping from yourself... it's enlightening when you do.
Whatever you've been through, this letter could be just what your younger self still needs to hear.
As you're reading this, you're the one talking to your innermost self. You're addressing the part of you that's been broken, malnourished, mistreated, discarded, embarrassed, left out, left behind: your inner child.
You're listening. You're hearing. You're being here for every aspect and season of yourself.
Take your time. Read this letter like it's your own. It is.
*Note: It helps to put your hand on your heart or belly while you read this.
An Open Letter to My Inner Child: What to Say to Yours
First things first: You're okay. It's okay.
I know you hurt.
I see how you've covered yourself up, closed yourself off to keep out the danger. Did you know, that's been keeping in the pain?
You needed to protect yourself, and you were doing the best you could with what you knew. For that, I thank you.
You don't need to hide anymore. You don't need to shut people out. You have nothing to prove.
You don't have to hold on to this anymore -- this shame, this disappointment, this agony. You don't have to hold yourself together.
It's okay to let go.
You're safe now. I'm here with you, with new knowledge and better tools.
You're here and I appreciate what you're still showing me. When you point out the places that still hurt, I learn more about what you need. With every pang of guilt or fear or jealousy, you teach me to pay attention.
About those things you wish you could've handled better or learned sooner, I am sorry. Forgive me. Thank you. I love you. You are still so loved.
You forget it sometimes, but you have always been loved.
I may not have always seen you, but I see you now.
I may not have always listened, but I'm listening to you now.
I want your questions and I want your wonder. I want all the anger you've buried away to come up for air. I want to show you new ways to deal with the pain. We can even play.
You don't need to hide anymore.
It's okay to be in the light.
Show me what needs to be healed, even if you have to show me in tears.
I'll do my best to do right by you.
Thank you. I love you. I see you.
. . .
What here did you need the most?
Tell me in the comments. What you share might be just what someone else needs to see.