April 5, 2022

How Inner Child Healing Transformed Me

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Just what kind of impact can healing your inner child make in your life? In this follow-up episode to the interview with Dr Jean Cheng, I share about three ways that inner child healing helped me increase my capacity for authenticity and integrity by:

- Helping me to stop second-guessing myself;
- Helping me to stop people-pleasing;
- Helping me grow my moral courage to use my voice and stand by my choices calmly

Share this episode via thisepisode page.

(00:00:21) - Introduction
(00:01:32) - How Inner Child Healing Made Me More Myself
(00:02:30) - 1. Trusting My Intuition & Judgment
(00:09:10) - 2. Less People-Pleasing
(00:14:49) - 3. Grow in Moral Courage
(00:22:37) - PRAXIS: Listen. Ponder. Act
(00:24:11) - Conclusion
Available here.

Available here.

- As you listened to my sharing in this episode, was there anything that jumped out at you that really resonated with you?

- Were there, among the three points, one in particular that you also struggle with?

-  Continue to explore resources on inner child healing.
- You may wish to refer to the last episode I recorded with Dr. Jean Cheng. 
- Check out the show notes for some book titles and other resources.
- When you're ready,  I invite you to seek out a spiritual director, or a counsellor, or a therapist who is trained in inner child work and request to try some inner child healing.

For full details of this reflection prompt, please see transcript.

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But really what was happening; I was kind of hiding, you know, in my mind, I was rationalizing it. I was hiding behind this seeming beautiful thing about humility and consulting more people to know what they think. The truth was that I wasn't confident about my own judgment.

Welcome to Becoming Me, your podcast companion and coach in your journey to a more integrated and authentic self. I am your host, Ann Yeong, and I'm here to help you grow in self-discovery and wholeness. If you long to live a more authentic and integrated life and would like to hear honest insights about the rewards and challenges of this journey, then take a deep breath, relax, and listen on to Becoming Me.

Hello again, dear listeners! So, we just finished a series on inner child healing with Dr. Jean Cheng. And I really, really enjoyed that conversation. And it seems like from the feedback I've been getting from you guys, that a lot of you also felt that you learned a lot, and that you could identify a lot with what was talked about between Jean and I about our experiences of, you know, getting to know our inner child, of what it was like to have a wounded inner child, et cetera.


So, as a follow-up to that interview with Jean, I thought I would just, you know, this episode is just going to share a little from a more personal perspective – from the perspective of someone who has made that journey in inner child healing. How specifically doing this work of inner child healing has helped me to grow in authenticity, okay?

So, I shared some of my stories in the interview, but well, there's more, of course – there's always more, right? So, if you're wondering how inner child healing, in particular, helped me to become – well, to become more me, to become who I am today, I will share with you three points. Okay, so, three ways that inner child healing helped me become more authentically me, okay? And more confidently me.

So, the first point is that inner child, healing helped me to trust in my own intuition and judgment. Now, if you remember in the interview with Dr. Jean Cheng, she spoke about how, you know, when a young child is often kind of like pushed to go against what he or she intuitively senses that they need. Like the example of, let's say a child who's a little shyer, maybe needs a bit more time to warm up in a social setting.

And let's say, an adult, the parent, pushes the child to like, you know, go, go and engage and to talk before they're ready. That then the child begins to learn, you know, kind of – it is very subtle, right? So, it's not an explicit thing that's been taught, but implicitly, the child learns I cannot trust my own gut, my own body.

So, maybe my own gut feeling, and intuition is that no, I'm not comfortable. This is not a safe space, right? Maybe I need a bit more time to observe what's going on around me before I can determine that I am okay, that this is a safe space for me to come out of my shell and to interact.

But before I can make that judgment for myself, I was already pushed out of my comfort zone, and I had to take action. I had to act in a way that was not actually aligned with the inner truth of my body, of my gut, of my intuition, right. So, when we grow up with a wounded inner child, often times, that exactly what happens.

We stop really trusting our intuition or we second guess ourselves a lot. right. So that was the case for me. I have always come across – I mean, when I'm speaking – I come across as being very confident. People usually think that I am confident when I do things, when I lead. But I always feel a little surprised when someone, you know, says to me, oh, you know, I envy how confident you are. Because the truth is inside, like inside me, I don't actually feel confident a lot of the times.

I'm always in doubt because I don't really believe that I have an accurate sense of the situation, right. I used to think that that's also a good thing because maybe it'll make me more humble. Then I would check in with other people to see what their perspectives are, right.

And there is some truth in that. But really what was happening; I was kind of hiding, you know, in my mind, I was rationalizing it. I was hiding behind this seeming beautiful thing about humility and consulting more people to know what they think. The truth was that I wasn't confident about my own judgment.

Okay, and that you know – that ranges from my judgment about how I'm doing in a particular task or job, how I was fairing in a relationship, right – like, you know, how healthy a relationship I'm in, maybe is to, you know, to maybe how good a job I'm doing at work. Right, so, the range is – well, large. But underlying that it is always the sense of, I don't know where I stand, unless somebody else tells me where I stand.

So, there was an incident with a former spiritual director as well, where I asked her, you know, what am I gifts? Like, what is it that I do well, right. And it was an honest question because I've been serving a lot and I actually have been making an impact on people. I can kind of – I could see that.

And yet, and yet, you know, inside me, there was this sense of, but I don't know what is it exactly that I bring to the table. And I feel like I don't know, and I can't tell unless somebody else, other than me, gives me the pat on the back, right – and tells me good job. So, I asked that question and my spiritual director, wonderfully, she looked at me –

– I still remember, she looked at me, you know, kindly and said, "Ann, why don't you ask yourself that question? Why don't you go home and ask yourself that very question – what are the gifts that you bring to the table? How is it that you actually help others?" And this was happening – or this particular exchange happened after I've already been journeying for some time with this spiritual director and also journeying, you know, becoming, I guess a little bit more attuned with myself.

This was already after I had started some inner child healing work. And I thought, oh, that's a good question. And you know, maybe I will – maybe I will go home and ask myself that question. But by and large, what has been happening, or what has continued to happen as I grew in my inner resilience in confidence about who I am, okay –

– and this happens because I was doing that inner child healing – I found that I stopped second guessing myself about people. So, even if it's a judgment about people – when I say judgemental of people, I don't mean a moral judgment about people per se, but a judgment about, for example, can I trust this person? Or how far can I trust this person?

Or is this person the right person to connect with for this task? Right, so there is a judgment call that needs to be made and I've become a lot more confident in my ability to make those assessments. And over time, I also – my confidence has also been boosted because it has panned out that my judgment is indeed accurate, right.

So, as I grew more connected with my inner child or my inner-sense, my inner sensing, right – about a situation or the environment I'm in, I have been able to make decisions that are aligned with truth of where people are or how things stand. And so, I am now generally a lot more calmer about expressing my views and about being myself because I have that deeper confidence and trust in myself. So, that's the first week inner child, healing has helped me grow in authenticity, right. So, I have greater trust in my own intuition and joy.

Secondly – and this is huge for me – I found that I could stop people-pleasing, you know? Or a lot, a lot less, right. A lot less people-pleasing. And if you have been following me on this podcast, you know that that was a huge thing that I struggled with, right?

And that was also before I learned that people-pleasing is one of the ways that we respond out of past trauma or pain, right. It's a way of – I think the term is fawning, right – being like the little Bambi, a deer, right. Fawning to, you know, to kind of like build the rapport with others. But it's not really a genuine rapport because it's kind of like, I'm pleasing you.

I want to please you so that you don't see me as a threat, so that you will like me, so that you won't, you know, you won't target your, maybe your anger, or everything at me. I'm on your side. It's a way of evading conflict, a way of evading unhappiness, right. Because if inside me, I'm already so insecure and vulnerable and brittle, I don't feel safe within myself.

I really, really need my environment around me to always give me the security that I do not have within me, right? So, a lot of my people-pleasing in the past was because I needed external validation to know that I was doing okay – that I had worth, that I had value. I needed people to tell me how good I was in order for me to feel some sense of confidence about myself, but it never really lasted, right?

I mean, because I needed constant validation to continue to feel confident about myself, precisely because that confidence was not coming from inside me. It wasn't coming from a groundedness and an anchoredness, a wholeness from within me. So, when I had done inner child work for some time, what I found was that I became clearer about what I needed, what I wanted.

Right, because I didn't always need to be looking outside of myself to know where I stand. I had that inner-knowing, right – connected to the first point I mentioned – I have the inner knowing and intuition and the judgment. And so, I was also – how should I put it? – I was more able to stand alone, okay. To stand alone if my opinions, for example, differed from other people, right.

And I could express what I needed, what I wanted. I didn't feel so ashamed when I needed to ask for something. Because in the past, there was this sense that, you know, if I express my need, that signals a weakness within me, and people don't like people who are weak. So, I must be strong. I shouldn't express, you know, my needs, right.

So, there's all that kind of going on. And so, then it leads to lack of authenticity, right? I have to put up a front that I think people would like, rather than just be myself in the state that I am in – maybe, you know, more comfortable with expressing what is true. So, that's the second way I learned to stop people-pleasing, or a lot less – like I said, a lot less.

I think it's still always a work in progress, right? But in general, my threshold now, for authenticity, is like a lot higher, right. I feel safe within myself, safe within my body more. So, as that happened, I found that I also began to have a clearer voice. So, I'm not talking about physical voice because I've always been loud.

I've always been talkative, you know. And I know I speak a lot and express my views a lot. But a lot of the time in the past, what I was expressing was, it wasn't really coming from a place of, this is just me. You know, this is me. There is a solidity there, there's a confidence there.

And I know what I'm talking about. I think in the past, a lot of times my talking, or my expressing, was trying to impress others – was trying to come across like I knew my stuff, you know? I was trying to come across like I'm clever and I'm smart. And you know, I'm somebody that you want to hang out with, or I'm somebody that you want to hire, or to get, you know, a person to do a certain job.

My voice in the past was – I would say, not really an expression of who I was. It was part of my persona. It was part of my bid for attention and for approval. But as I grew more whole – after, I had, you know, I started the process, the journey of inner child healing – and I'm talking about months and even years, okay.

It's not – I'm not talking about doing like one retreat or a couple of exercises. I'm talking about applying these principles consistently in my life. I found that my voice became clearer – a clearer representation of who I really am. Okay, so, that's what I meant. I began to have a real voice. I was clearer about who – what I stood for.

I was also clearer as to when it is time for me to speak up. And when is it time for me to just remain silent because it's not my time or my place, or it's not my call to express my views on certain things. Right, so, stop people-pleasing and begin to have a voice – that's the second point.

Now, the third point I want to share about regarding how I have really grown from inner child healing is – and this one is really, this one is really big for me, and that is increased moral courage.

Okay – to love authentically; an increased moral courage to love authentically. Now, this point is of course, linked to, you know, the first two as well – linked to being able to trust my own judgment more, my intuition, and you know, becoming more confident to stop people-pleasing and to know what I stand for and to be able to express what I stand for.

But here's the thing – when we begin to develop that voice, when we begin to be true to ourselves, we will often find that yes, we sometimes get opposed. Okay, and this is a fact. This is a fact – I will not lie to you, to any of you who are really interested in making this interior journey into greater authenticity and wholeness.

Right, because it is so important for you to know that when you're coming from a place of survival, right – and you know, whatever system you're part of, whether it's your family, your work. I mean, you know, the community that you belong to – everyone's used to like the old you, the way you used to operate, right?

And if you were like me, you know, in your own way, you were kind of hiding. You kind of hiding your true self so that you could fit in, so that you wouldn't make people unhappy with you. Now, when you begin to develop your voice and you begin to stand up for what you actually believe in, you're going to experience more, maybe unhappiness sometimes – even within your family or the people close to you because you're changing the dynamics, right.

And then sometimes there's going to be pushback. So, what are you going to do in this pushback? See, it's not too difficult yet to just, maybe express what you really believe in, or what you need, or what you want or what you don't want to do. Okay, I mean that could be already an area of growth from before.

But to reach that point is not as difficult yet, as when you express yourself, when you express your need or when you draw a certain boundary. And then, people push back, or people challenge you, or people start guilting you, or emotionally manipulating you to try and get you to drop that boundary, okay – to change your mind, to take back what you said, to stop speaking up.

Can you go back to the old you and just play along. And, oh my gosh – I got to tell you – I have been through this more than once. And it's so excruciating, and so lonely. Because in that moment – I mean, no one else outside of me, know the battle that I've been fighting, right – in this interior journey. No one else knows how much effort I've put in, in getting in touch with my inner child, in learning to reparent my inner child.

And in this moment of trial – let's say I put a boundary, or I make a stand, and I face opposition from all fronts. And everyone's trying to get me to change my mind. There is a part of me – because you know, I'm not fully healed, right. So, there is a part of me, inside, that is really scared and just wants to give in – and just, maybe it's easier.

I just give in and just give them what they want, you know? And they'll stop hounding me. And then we will have peace. But there's also another part of me that knows this is not true. This is not the truth. This is not authentic. This is not what you've worked so hard to be able to do. You know, you've made your stand.

Now you need to stand by your stand, you know? How do you do that in a way that is not – you know what I mean? I don't want to or aim to be offensive. How do I try to do that in a way that's still respectful, but at the same time firm? Okay, so, it's not, it's not easy. It's not easy. Nothing can quite prepare you for that moment when you're tested and you have to actually exercise what you have been learning, right?

Not just in your own exercises, or not just when you're talking to your counsellor or therapist. But in real life – in the real world, when you actually have to live it. But here's the beauty. When you actually have done the work, the inner work of inner healing, you will find that you have the strength, right.

I mean, with the grace of God, you have the strength to stand firm. And when you have stood firm, sometimes it's incredible. I mean, the feeling – the feeling I had when I went through those tests before, it's incredible because it's like I could do it – I did it! It was such a victory. It was such a victory. And I knew that if I had caved in or if I had not stood by my stand, okay – I can always begin again.

But I know a part of me would have felt abandoned by myself because I could not, I did not, I was not able to stand by me, right? And that was what happened in the past all the time. In fact, in the past, I didn't even try very hard to stand by me because I didn't have that conviction or that confidence, you know? Not in the same way as now.

I mean, the threshold is different, right? So, I have found that inner child healing has made me not just more authentic, but it has made me a person of greater integrity because the capacity has grown. Right, when I have lack of integrity in the past, it's not from lack of desire. I want to be a person of integrity, but I just didn't have what it takes.

I didn't have to capacity, the courage, you know, to do so. And that capacity grows when I become a whole, right. So, inner child healing was one of the ways that I became more whole and more integrated. And so, I found that, you know, I was more courageous, and I could have those victories – you know, those interior victories.

So, I mean, other people may not necessarily see it as a victory. They may not be happy with me per se. But my inner child and I – I should say – I felt so, I don't know. I felt victorious. I felt validated. I felt like, wow, I could do this. I could actually stand by what I really believed in. And I was okay.

I was okay because I was true to who I am. And for once you know, different from the past – for once I was able to just let people see, this is actually the real me. This is indeed who I am. And I'm not as afraid as before if you reject me, because whether you like me or you reject me, I like myself. You know, I accept myself, right?

And this self-acceptance – this self-acceptance, this self-love, this being more tuned with myself – that's what inner child healing did for me, what it helped me grow. Right, so, it's an incredible feeling to trust yourself, to be at peace with yourself and know who you are more clearly. You know, I know it sounds very basic, but those of us who are wounded –

– we know that that's something that we don't have. As much as we would like, sometimes we don't trust ourselves and we don't respect ourselves. Okay, so – but healing can bring us to that place of greater trust and greater respect for ourselves. So, that's this episode. Just a simple sharing of three ways that inner child healing helped me to grow.

And here are the praxis prompts for today's episode. One: Listen – so, as you listened to my sharing in this episode, was there anything that jumped out at you that really resonated with you?

Two: Ponder – were there, among the three points that I shared, one in particular that you also struggle with? Maybe with people-pleasing, or with always second guessing yourself, or not having the courage to really stand by the decisions that you have made when people resist or try and push back.

Three: Act – I invite you to continue to explore resources on inner child healing. You may wish to refer to the last episode I recorded with Dr. Jean Cheng. In the show notes, you will find some book titles and other resources that you could check out.

And when you're ready to go beyond just kind of like finding out and reading about it, I invite you to seek out a spiritual director or a counsellor, a therapist who is trained in inner child work and maybe request specifically, that you would like to try some inner child healing. Or you would like to experience some inner child healing exercises and see whether they could accompany you.

And that's it for today's episode. I wish you and your inner child happy healing!

[00:24:11] CONCLUSION
Thank you for listening to Becoming Me, where new episodes drop every first and third Wednesdays of the month. Remember, the most important thing about making this journey is to keep taking steps in the right direction. No matter how small those steps might be, and no matter where you might be in your life right now, it is always possible to begin. 

The world would be a poorer place without you becoming more fully alive. Don't forget to visit my website at becomingmepodcast.com and to subscribe to my newsletter as well as to this podcast. Until the next episode, Happy becoming!