NURTURING THE WOUNDED CHILD WITHIN YOU
Every one of us has a wounded child that we carry deep within ourselves. Most of us never acknowledge that this child exists, much less addressing any unmet needs for healing that are all its own. Instead, we blame our repetitive poor choices and inner sadness on other, more outward things in our lives such as money issues, relationship troubles, physical ailments or general discontent. This is what I like to call External Labeling. When we practice external labeling, we are essentially giving away all of our power to claim freedom from our inner sense of turbulence. By allowing ourselves to recognize the wounded child within us, instead of practicing external labeling-we take back that power so that we can release those things which are weighing us down and making our lives feel dull and heavy.
What is the wounded child? I define the wounded child as a part of us that has been our emotional receptor through which we have emotionally experienced the world around us and the ongoing flow of events in our lives from the time we were children ourselves. Emotions, you may agree-are ageless. Emotions don’t grow up as we grow up-they don’t intellectualize and they don’t mature into different aspects of themselves. Anger is still anger. Resentment is still resentment. Happiness is happiness. And the list goes on. So you see, if we acknowledge that the part of ourselves that has always been the amplifier of our internal feelings is also an ageless, timeless component of our human self, then we will be better able to understand and to work with this part of ourselves in a dramatically healing way.
An example of the wounded child when you were perhaps seven years old would be that you wanted to play a game with some other children, but they ostracized you and shut you out instead of inviting you into their fun. Your feelings were hurt, right? You felt that sensation of sadness, rejection and pain wash over you. Your wounded child was the part of you that felt those emotions as you witnessed the event. Let’s say now maybe twenty or thirty years later you are sitting in your cubicle at work and you realize that a group of your coworkers are planning a picnic or a night on the town—and nobody has invited you. There is a small part of yourself that you will feel as it relives that old pain from your childhood. Most of us don’t identify this as having roots to our past-we just experience it as a reaction process to a stimulant in our environment. But that’s not entirely true because our reactions to today’s events and the way we interpret them is largely based on the experiences of our past. This is the wounded child reminding you of ancient remnants of pain that find new life in the present by reenacting past events using old pathways of emotional energy which bring your past into your present without you knowing it.
I believe that we have many opportunities in daily life to work with and heal our wounded child if we slow down our reaction pattern and learn to address the deeper wound that hasn’t healed. The next time you find yourself being offended or having your feelings hurt by something other than an outright direct attack against you—think of this wounded child. Ask him/her to remind you of where that energy originated. You will be surprised at what comes up in your mind. Once you have received the information from that part of yourself-and you are remembering that event it is important to consciously release this negative experience. Forgive those involved and really let go of that experience and all of the things that have been unconsciously tied to it over the years. You may find yourself reflecting on a moment from your early childhood and then being carried away into something totally different in another period in your life. This is good, because it allows you the opportunity to close down that old road of negative emotions that continually brings the past into the present and it gives you freedom from old hang-ups and patterns that you have unconsciously created in your life.
Once you have forgiven and released these events (no matter what they are) the wounded child will release them, as well because there will be no need to “protect” you from similar circumstances by reminding you of past pain. This is, I believe where the ultimate healing of one’s life becomes possible.
God did not create us to be two dimensional beings that run on a remote control located in the distant past. He created us to be vibrant and living facets of His own reflection and He expects us to be the creators of our lives using every ounce of creativity that He designed within us. These, I believe are the actions that bring Him the most glory. When we move and live and breathe as tiny extensions of the one living God.