If you’re not familiar with your inner child, let me reintroduce you…
She’s the one who found out interesting tidbits about life just because she was curious.
She absolutely loves mixing and matching everything under the sun.
She gets excited when superheroes say cool things in movies, and later she ponders the subtexts of the movie’s themes and conflicts.
She wonders if you’ll ever write that screenplay you’ve had in the back of your mind.
She hopes you’ll still go to Borneo one day.
Every night, when you dream, she tries to show you the new things she noticed about the world.
Your Inner Child helps you:
Kill monsters while they’re small
Ask “what are your goals?”
Ask “Were you good today?”
Make and follow your own rules
Focus on your dreams
See the world as a place of wonders
Love more, worry less.
So the true concern is not why reconnect, but how soon can you? Here are 8 things you can do to speed up the process:
1. See The World
Taking walks is an excellent way to reconnect with your inner child.
Find someplace pleasant to you, and let the world inform your senses of the shapes, sounds, aromas, and textures it uses to create our reality.
Remember when you were a kid totally enraptured with the idea of art as actual creation? That the leaves you drew were somehow connected to the leaves along a Fall walk?
Walking through not “the” world but your world reactivates that and re-centers you.
2. Nurture Your Goals
Your inner child recalls when you routinely imagined you could accomplish impossible tasks.
The adult you – frequently under deadline, under appreciated, and overworked – will often settle at considering a pre-packaged dinner and enough time left in the day for a couple hours of Netflix a triumph over overwhelming odds.
It may be time to reignite that onward rush toward the impossible.
Be gradual with it if you like. Tell yourself you’d like to feel better physically. Take three-to-five minutes each day to say hello to a different part of your anatomy via the wonders of muscle use.
Tell yourself you’d like to finish writing that book. It may not be a successful, award-winning book, but it’s a great book. The story’s been in your head for years. Nothing gestates that long without entering the world as something special.
If you haven’t drawn in ages, pick up a pencil, pick a subject, and commit to yourself that this drawing is for no one’s eyes or pleasure but yours. The time spent engaged in creating it is yours. The goal is peace in creativity.
We cycle through hundreds of goals per day. Reunite with the ones that now seem impractical, improbable, or virtually impossible. You’ll realize you’re the one anchoring down all the pigs that want to fly.
Nothing says freed inner child quite like a full-bellied, no holds barred laugh of utter glee.
Laugh as if no one’s looking at the weird laugh faces a full-bellied, no holds barred laugh places on our normally self-conscious mouths and eye holes.
And don’t dare pretend there’s nothing that funny. You’ve wanted to laugh like that on so many occasions it would fill an extensive gag reel, yet you held back. Propriety. Maturity. Measured responses only.
Pah. Laugh. My gods, laugh. This world may be wonderful, but it’s also full-on ridiculous.
Have you ever seen a sloth eat? It’s like watching a politician trying to stall answering his plea to an obvious crime! Sloths are teddy bears as created by Monty Python. Go right ahead and laugh at sloths.
Your inner child has never stopped giggling at them.
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Not for stakes. Not for leveling up. Not for dominance. Play for the pleasure of playing.
This can take the form of mental play by engaging a friend in witty banter. It can be a board game whose rules and goals don’t reveal the underlying darkness of your unspoken soul (Monopoly has been widely noted to bring out a surprising amount of feral behavior in people).
Play can take physical form: catch, relay races, Frisbee, bumper cars. It can take sexual form: sex, bumper cars, late morning massages.
Play lets you, well, play with possibilities without the onus of them having to add up to anything, go anywhere, or satisfy anything but the desire for play.
When the inner child feels engaged in this way, it reveals answers to questions totally unrelated to whatever activity you’re enjoying. Or sometimes, as with bumper cars, sex, and intimacy, totally related.
This may seem counterintuitive. Inner child? Work? But recall the laser-like concentration you focused onto tasks you set your heart on as a child.
It may have taken you 12 minutes to finally brush your teeth, but hours spent building a soapbox racer or robot suit flew by like moments. It’s a myth that kids don’t like to work; they simply like to work on things that are worthwhile.
This harkens back to nurturing your goals, while adding the dimension of finding enjoyment or focus in what you’re doing while you’re doing it, no matter what it may be.
A lot of unhappiness in adulthood comes from the fact that we very rarely want to work, and this is because we’re not doing anything that matters one whit to us from one moment to the next.
The inner child can clear a path to what matters. The inner child wants to work. It wants to discover, feel useful, and even – if deep in the zone – innovate.
Stop procrastinating and grumbling. Grab a tool (pen, rake, hammer, broom, paint brush, filing cabinet, 60 words-per-minute typing ability) and do something.
6. Greet Life And Possibility
Your inner child’s formative years were spent in a state of constant hello. Hello to new people, hello to new sights and experiences, hello – if there was no one else around and a hello was needed – to yourself.
You can have that again.
The sense of Go Away within us is insidious. It becomes comfortable to us, until we can’t fully recall the bright taste of “hello” from our mouths.
Hello, however, expands comfort zones and quite literally recreates us; every new situation or new person requires us to adapt and evolve, turning us into beings of infinite wonders.
The inner grumpus can’t do that. The inner child? Lives for it.
7. Form A Ring Around Yourself
The inner child, like all children, is easily frightened. It needs to feel protected. You need to feel protected.
The ring is not necessarily to keep others out, but to confirm and cherish what you know to be your inner you: your gifts, your compassion, your journey toward understanding more than you came into this world knowing: precious, all.
Call it self-respect; call it actualization; call it unshakable identity. No matter the name, love and protect yourself from harm, be that emotional, physical, or spiritual harm.
8. Best Practices
If you’re going to reconnect with your inner child, do so with the best interests of adult-you and child in mind.
Your inner child isn’t a tool for escapism nor a vehicle for immaturity. It is your sense of wonder made evident; that core, private identity which, like energy, can neither be created nor destroyed, merely transformed.
Your core knows that the world is not a place to be shuffled through, but one to be experienced, questioned, and even answered.
Stand in front of a mirror on occasion for longer than it takes to primp. Just look at yourself. Know how kids like to ask, “What’s that?”