Meeting My Inner Child

Near the end of my time working as a Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS), I took a free self compassion for healthcare professionals workshop series being offered at lunch. The facilitator spoke about accessing your “inner child” to help with extending kindness to yourself. I was 30 years old at the time, my inner critic was harsh and dominated my mental space. I had trouble visualizing myself as a child. One of the suggestions the facilitator shared for those of us having difficulty was to picture the child outside of you, apart from you, perhaps following you through your day. I was able to connect with this suggestion. I had success imagining a small child that resembled a younger me accompanying me through my day at the hospital as I worked with patients and their families. I quickly realized that I did not provide this child (who represented me) any of the same kindness and attention that I did the kids I was working with. I almost never allowed this child (aka myself) to eat, pee, drink water, or rest. When I allowed these things to occur it was only after I was completely exhausted or in too much pain to ignore. I also NEVER let this child express themselves – I did not want to know what they were thinking and feeling. 

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