March 1, 2022

Inner Child Healing (with Dr. Jean Cheng): Part 1


EPISODE 43   

Who or what is my inner child? What is inner child healing and how does it help me in my interior journey?

In this three part series on Inner Child Healing, clinical psychologist Dr. Jean Cheng and I delve into how this particular kind of interior work can help bring us to wholeness and live a more authentic life.

In this episode we hear a little about Dr. Jean Cheng's own journey and get introduced to who/what our inner child is.

Share this episode via this episode page.

CHAPTER MARKERS
00:13 - Introduction
01:41 - Introduction to Dr. Jean Cheng
10:07 - Why "Talitha Koum"?
21:45 - Different Parts of our Bodies
25:11 - Our Inner Child
28:05 - Wounded Inner Child
31:35 - Being Curious with our Inner Child
35:56 - PRAXIS: Listen. Ponder. Act
38:55 - Conclusion
Available here.

TRANSCRIPT
Available here.

REFLECTION PROMPT
Listen.
- Did you resonate with any particular part of the episode when you were listening to it?
- Was there something that connected with your heart a little bit more? 
- Was there any emotion you felt?

Ponder.
-  Ponder when was the last time that you remember feeling an emotion that seemed like it came from a younger place in you?

Act.
- Look at some old family photos of your younger self; when you were a little girl or little boy.
- Maybe listen to this episode again, or for the future episodes on inner child, have that photograph ready with you. 
-  As you listen to us talk about inner child and inner child work and inner child healing, look at that face of your younger self. 

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

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- Dr. Jean Cheng's Instagram

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Transcript

EPISODE 43 | INNER CHILD HEALING (WITH DR. JEAN CHENG): PART 1

I would say that that we have more than one part – our inner child is one of these parts, and our inner child is the part of us that is actually most connected to our feelings.

[00:00:13] INTRODUCTION
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.

[00:00:47]
Hello again, dear listeners. So, in the last episode, I talked about how I hoped to bring on board some guests who with the expertise can help us delve a little deeper into how to enlarge our capacity for authenticity. So, I thought that we could start off the season by learning a little bit more about what inner child healing is about.

[00:01:16]
This inner child healing is particularly important or significant to me because that was what really kick-started my own interior healing journey with myself – relationship repairing with myself. And for this topic, I feel so blessed and privileged to be able to bring on board Dr. Jean Cheng as our guest.

[00:01:41] INTRODUCTION TO DR. JEAN CHENG
So, Jean is a clinical psychologist practicing in Singapore. She trained in Melbourne, Australia, graduated with a first-class honours, and completed her PhD and Masters in Clinical Psychology on a scholarship there. Since her adolescent years, Jean has been passionate about alleviating human suffering and helping others, including herself, experience freedom from the inner prisons that limit one from living life to the fullest.

[00:02:11]
Her special interest is in helping her clients build a nurturing relationship with themselves. And this informs her passion for inner child work. She believes that when we are able to see, pay attention, and honour the inner child in all of us, we are then rewarded with the joy, curiosity, confidence, courage, purpose wisdom, and contentment that a child who is loved and secure embodies naturally.

[00:02:37]
I love how true what I've just said, basically, has been for me as I connected with my inner child. And this conversation that I had with Dr. Jean Cheng – it lasted well over an hour and a half. So, I'm dividing this conversation into three episodes. In today's first episode of this series, you will learn a little bit more about Jean's own journey.

[00:03:07]
I ask her about the name of her practice, which is Talitha Koum. If that, you know, doesn't make any sense to you, I invite you to listen, later, to why I asked that question and why I found it significant, in particular, to inner child work. And we will also be talking a little bit more about, you know, introducing the topic of what an inner child is, okay. So, I hope you sit back, relax and enjoy this conversation.

[00:03:43]
Ann: Hi, Jean!

Dr. Jean: Hi, Ann!

Ann: It's so good to see your face again – virtually.

Dr. Jean: Yes, it's good to see you as well. 

Ann: Yeah, I'd like to begin with actually sharing, you know, the anecdote with my listeners on how our paths crossed. Would you mind if I told the story? You can always correct me if I remember it wrongly.

Dr. Jean: Yes! Yes, please go ahead. 

Ann: So, yeah, it's a funny story. I remember this was 2020 – I think, you know, during the pandemic – and all the talks had moved online.

[00:04:22]
And after one talk that I was delivering online to a young adult community, or maybe young or not-so-young adult – I don't know – I received a WhatsApp from someone I didn't know; that was you. And you introduced yourself and said that you actually had just been – I think, your husband was actually attending the talk. And because he wasn't using headphones, you happened to hear some of what I was sharing and it resonated with you and, you know, you actually reached out and texted me.

[00:04:58]
And actually, that was really – I really appreciated that. And I have to confess, especially when you identified yourself as a psychologist – because I think a lot of the formation sessions that I give, for me, it's very important that it addresses the whole human person. And my own – I mean, the context in which I speak – since I used to be in full-time church ministry – a lot of times what's expected is, you know, more theological and more spiritual.

[00:05:31]
But through my own journey, I've realized that we really, really need that other human dimension. And a lot of that is, addressed with, or by psychology, right? So, I've always had an affinity for that. So, your affirmation that the talk that I gave touched your heart, or it spoke to your heart, not just your head, you know – that was great.

[00:05:55]
Then after that, I remembered for months we didn't, I mean, we didn't text at all. I mean, you know, I think I just thanked you and that was it. And then it was so funny. I follow an account. I think now, you know that story – I followed an account of an American psychologist who also is a Christian, and who does work that integrates spirituality and psychology; Dr. Alison Cook.

[00:06:19]
Dr. Jean: Yes. Dr. Alison Cook.

Ann: Yes. And one day I saw her on Instagram story that she had reposted an interesting post – I mean like, you know, a post that maybe someone made me go and click on it because it looked like an Asian face – I remember. And I discovered this account, right? – @jeanpsychologist, which happened to be your account.

[00:06:36]
And I didn't know it was you. Although the name – I remember thinking, oh, could it be such a small world? This person looked like she's from Singapore. Because I think I, you know – well, you call it – stalked you a little bit. And I remembered that you said. 

[00:06:51]
And I discovered that, oh, there is someone in Singapore doing all this work on inner child healing and, you know, perfectionism recovery – all that is very applicable to me also. And then I actually checked with your husband whether this was your account.

Dr. Jean: Ah!

Ann: Yes!

Dr. Jean: I did not know that part!

[00:07:14]
Ann: Because I thought before I texted you or whatever, better I confirmed first.

Dr. Jean: Yeah.

Ann: And then he said it was! And I thought, wow. Okay. So, then I think after that, I reached out to you because I thought, you know, this was so relevant, and I wanted to get to know you. And actually, from very early on, I remember thinking, oh, I hope I can get Jean on the Becoming Me Podcast at some point, because I know that you would add so much, so much value to my listeners.

[00:07:44]
I'm very excited today because all this time, you know, I've been making some references in my earlier episodes about my journey. And I've been dropping these terms, you know – here and there – that I've picked up in my own healing; like you know, inner child work, attachments, trauma. But I know that for a lot of my listeners, these are probably very new terms and it's so important that if they really want to be intentional to make that journey into authenticity and wholeness, they're going to need to be exposed to some of these resources.

[00:08:14]
Right? And that's why, I asked you here – I mean, today, specifically – to talk about inner child work, because that's the first thing, I think first concept, really, I've been wanting to introduce them in. I can't think of anybody better than you to have this conversation with. 

Dr. Jean: Aw, it's an honour. It's an honour. I just wanted to add on just one point about how we crossed paths, which is that like – yeah, there was something about the way that you spoke. When I overheard some of the sharings, I mean, the session – there was something about the way that you spoke that my heart just got stirred. And I think, you know, in the Bible, it's like when Jesus is walking among them, the disciples were like, did our hearts not feel stirred when He was with us?

[00:09:03]
And the truth of the matter is that I can be in a lot of church spaces and my heart feels dead – to be frank. But when it actually feels stirred, I really pay attention. So, I was like, wow. Okay! Like, there is somebody here who speaks to hearts as well. And I think that kind of grew our connection as well, especially when we both, you know, were reaching out to each other – there was just that sense of yeah, instant connection. 

[00:09:39]
Dr. Jean: So, yeah. Just wanted to add that. 

Ann: Yeah. Thank you! We're fellow interior pilgrims. I think we'd recognize that, right? – In each other.

Dr. Jean: Yes.

Ann: And it was wonderful that even before we know each other personally – I would say even right now, we haven't really had much time to get to know each other, like, you know, socially or personally – it feels as if we can intuit, like we know each other's soul, we can see each other's soul, yeah.

Dr. Jean: Yes.

[00:10:07] WHY "TALITHA KOUM"?
Ann:
And that's so, so precious. 

Dr. Jean: Yes!

Ann: Yeah. So, you're a clinical psychologist. And I know you have your own practice, right? And one of the first things that I checked out – I mean, when I was stalking you, kind of like finding your account – was like the website, I think, does she have a website? You know, and what does she do?

[00:10:27]
And my heart leapt when I found your website, actually. I think also because the name of your practice is Talitha Koum, right?

Dr. Jean: Yes! Talitha Koum Psychology, yes.

Ann: Yeah. Talitha Koum Psychology. So, could you share a little bit about what that name means and why is it the name – or why did you choose that to be the name of your practice?

[00:10:50]
Dr. Jean: This might be one of the first times I'm actually sharing this actually. And I think it's pretty apt I'm sharing it with you here, and with your audience as well. So, Talitha Koum references the Bible, Mark 5:41; where it kind of means "little girl, come alive" or "little girl, arise". And this is where Jesus, you know, He put his hand on the little girl who had died – who people thought had died. But Jesus said she was just sleeping, and He brought her back to life.

[00:11:23]
And I chose this – well I'll say I chose the verse. I chose this as the name of my practice, but I would say that it was also an inspiration and it feels very much like a divine prompting, which just felt – which I felt connected to. But it came because when I was contemplating about the purpose of my life, and I had no idea – I mean, it's a very big question, right?

[00:11:52]
What is the purpose of our lives? It's a very, very, very, sometimes even overwhelming question to answer. So, I then went more simply. I remember asking myself, well, what am I passionate about? What really – what does my heart feel passionately for? And it was very clear to me that connecting to the hearts of people is very important to me.

[00:12:18]
And particularly bringing healing – a healing connection to the hearts of people; to people who are feeling very alone, to people who are feeling like everybody else has forgotten them, who are feeling very isolated in their hearts and in their struggles – even if they are around crowds and they're smiling.

[00:12:37]
But you know, they're feeling very alone inside them. These are the people, these hearts are the ones that I deeply – I see, and I feel, and I just really would love to bring a healing connection and a healing touch to these hearts. So, as I connected with this passion of mine, then the two words came to my head – it's very important to me.

[00:13:09]
Because I was thinking, okay, I'll probably do something related to healing work. I mean, I am a clinical psychologist at that point when I was contemplating it as well. And the name, the words Talitha Koum came to my mind. And I was just like – when it came to my mind, it almost felt like a wind that whispered it to me because – and I was also walking – so, it was like, oh, the wind whispered this.

[00:13:36]
And I was just like, that feels right. I don't know why. I mean, I kind of knew the verse, but I thought let's just Google it just to confirm this is what I think it is. And then it was, yeah. What came out was "little girl, come alive". And, oh, when I saw that, like, I kind of felt like, oh my gosh, like I had chills because it just felt very poetic for me.

[00:14:01]
It felt like – I always feel like God is a poet, God is a real passionate lover as well. And it felt very poetic for me because in my own journey, I have gone through a very, very dark night of my own soul. I have gone through a long period of feeling like I was just wandering in the desert and feeling very dead inside.

[00:14:28]
So, connecting to people's heart is also a part of – that it's also because of my own journey, right? Like, I was one of those. And during that time, when I was feeling very dead inside, it was only when – well, I saw my spiritual director back then, it was in Melbourne and she's actually very trauma-informed.

[00:14:55]
Although she doesn't use those times to describe herself, but essentially it just means that she's a very safe person. She's a very non-judgmental person. She's a very – she looks beyond prescribing and telling you what you need to do. She actually holds and contemplates with you, what are the mysteries that are happening inside your heart.

[00:15:17]
So, with her, you know, we kind of made more sense of my history. And in particular, it almost was like deconstructing. And like everything that I thought my story was about, my childhood and who I was and everything, and actually just really looking at it with a new set of eyes.

[00:15:45]
And I think it was only at that point when I – well first I must say it's a very, very painful and difficult process. But as I went through that process and as I continued to feel dead inside while I was going through that process, then over time, I actually started to sense this – I started to sense that there was this very youthful, very young, kind of a joy; a very young, kind of a curiosity or playfulness that didn't just burst through. 

[00:16:17]
But very gradually, I would sense this presence inside me come to life and I started to become more playful with my friends. I started to also begin to feel again – to feel for people, to feel for myself.

[00:16:33]
I think, because part of my struggle was I couldn't really have empathy for what I was going through. So, when I started to feel for myself then, well – ironically, it's not selfish, like some people think it is. Like, it becomes very self-centered – no, it's not actually. It opened me up to really start to feel for other people even more.

[00:16:53]
And it really feels like I reconnected with this inner child of mine, this younger part of mine that I did not even know existed prior to that. And she started to live more within me. So, like right now, I feel like – I mean, I'm in my thirties, but at the same time, I feel like a kid. A lot of the times, like, I feel, I can feel my younger self, just very much alive inside me. 

[00:17:28]
And I will say that this whole process obviously took many, many years – like 10 years or so. And it was not easy, but when this part came alive in me, it changed everything. I just – I'm not the same person anymore, once I reconnected with this younger part of me. And it has been very freeing and very healing and yeah. I mean, in my work as a psychologist with my clients, as well – when they start to reconnect with their own younger parts – because this is my story, but everybody has their own unique call and their own unique journey to reconnect.

[00:18:09]
I mean, if we think about even from the gospel, it's the gospel of John, or Mark. What about the gospel of Ann, the gospel of Jean, right? So, it's how do we personally – Jesus asked, who do you say I am? How do we personally connect with all of this? And when my clients and I see them start to reconnect with their own inner child, with their younger parts, you really see them start to come alive and you really start to see them.

[00:18:33]
It's so beautiful to witness; there's this tenderness that comes back, like the childhood tenderness that comes back. And it feels safe to enter into that space. You see them becoming more connected and convicted in what matters to them again. So, yeah. So, when I saw like, "come alive", it's like "inner child come alive".

[00:18:56]
It just felt like Talitha Koum is like "inner child, come alive". And I personally – in my own personal journey, as well as in my work with my clients, seeing the inner child come alive in people has been very profound and very sacred for me to witness. Yeah. So, that's how I came about with the name.

Ann: Yeah, thank you.

[00:19:19]
That resonates so much with me. And I think the reason why the name touched me was because immediately – I think maybe the little girl in me recognized, Hey, that's me! That was what's happening. I may be jumping the gun a little bit here, but we'll go back to a bit more definitions and stuff.

[00:19:40]
But I just want to say, I think until I started doing this healing work – specifically this inner child work – I didn't even know how incomplete or how un-alive I was. I think I knew, but at that point, I really could sense something is missing, right. And I want to be more alive. And I'm trying so hard, like in all the different ways that I know, that I thought, you know, including – let's say, devotionally, spiritually.

[00:20:11]
But it was precisely because I think my spiritual director saw me struggle so much – you know, with all this sincerity, and this desire. And she was the one who actually told me, you know, Ann, actually I think you may want to do – may need to do some inner child healing work. And maybe that's where you are – this is why you're struggling so much, you know. That's the next piece that needs to happen.

[00:20:34]
And at that time, of course, I was like, oh, what's that? I mean, it sounds very interesting, but I've no idea what's that. And I bet that many of my listeners may be asking the same question, right? Yeah, what's this inner child? Because I think in popular lingo, sometimes this term comes up, but it's used differently as well, right?

[00:20:49] WHAT IS AN INNER CHILD?
So, I would like to maybe help them understand a bit like specifically when we're talking about this kind of inner work, this healing work, what is this inner child? You know, who is this inner child and why is it important for us to know him or her – our inner child?

Dr. Jean: Yes. Just a little bit of context – I think, most of us know ourselves in one dimension; like we think of ourselves as –

[00:21:14]
– you know, the adult that is working, holding these relationships, functioning. Usually that's the way that we experience ourselves. I mean, that's the way I experience myself quite frequently as well, if I'm not conscious. So, in autopilot mode, that is autopilot-self, right.

[00:21:28]
And then now, to hear that, huh? – What are Jean and Ann talking about? Like, there's this younger part of us. What parts? Why so many parts, you know? I know – somebody asked me, "how many parts do we have exactly?"

Ann: Right, yeah.

[00:21:45] DIFFERENT PARTS OF OUR BODIES
Dr. Jean:
But if you think about it – our bodies, we have different parts to our bodies. We have our eyes, and the function of our eyes is it helps us to see. We have our hands – it helps us to reach out for things. And so, similarly we have that functioning part we have, and most often that is quite closely tied to our logical and practical part; it's our thinking brain.

[00:22:08]
It's the one that has gone through the education system. It's the one that helps us to present ourselves socially. So, most people are familiar with this, right? Because our society is most familiar with this part. But then if you think also about when you first fall in love with someone, and how like the rush of emotions just burst through you – it's almost like suddenly you lose your mind.

[00:22:34]
People will say – they'll use that term, right? – You lose your mind. It's like suddenly I can't just use my logic or my practicality to evaluate this person. I'm just like, I'm just gone. And that's very scary. That's another part that's coming out. Or when you lose somebody that you really love in your life.

[00:22:53]
I had a due to bereavement I had at due to, you know, a relationship that doesn't work out. And so, people that's distancing in that relationship – there's a real pain that comes out that the logical brain can't quite make sense of. It's just – and you might end up doing things that in fact, some people would say, why am I doing this?

[00:23:14]
It's so illogical. I should know better than that, but somehow, I'm doing that. So, it's almost like a different part it's driving you, right? So, that's what I mean that actually we have – we are all made of different parts and there are different parts in us that are driving us most of the time.

[00:23:31]
It's just that we are usually connected to one part, depending on what kind of context we're talking about. And I would say that, with this in mind, that we have more than one part – our inner child is one of these parts, and our inner child is the part of us that is actually most connected to our feelings.

[00:23:49]
It's most connected to our feelings, which reside in our bodies. So, for example, if let's say I'm feeling tension in my chest, and I don't just go, "aiya", my brain might encode the tension in my chest as, "oh, she's just having shortness of breath". "She just needs to breathe more deeply". Like, that could be how the brain interprets it.

[00:24:16]
But if I connect with the tension in my chest from a more – connecting with it from an emotional landscape and I kind of go – okay, what is my body trying to tell me? What is the tension in my chest trying to tell me? What are the words beneath the tension in my chest? And I tell my brain like, keep quiet now.

[00:24:40]
This is not, you know, this is not for you to hijack. You talk a lot of the time, so let somebody else help. Like, let a different part talk right now. And if we stay a bit long enough, the more familiar we are with this part of us, that it would speak to us. But at the start, usually we need to stay a bit longer. Then you might find that in that quietness, in that stillness and that being present to that tension in your chest, then some words might emerge such as "I'm scared".

[00:25:11] OUR INNER CHILD
It's often very childlike, in that sense. It's very primitive in a sense of, I'm scared, or I don't like this person or, I don't want to do this. It's very – and these are words that often children use as well, right?

Ann: Yup.

Dr. Jean: So, that's what I mean when I say that the inner child kind of resides in our bodies, and it's very linked our feelings.

[00:25:40]
It's the part of us that actually experiences the world through senses, through experiences. And it's not pure logic because children are not logical. Like they don't – if you really take a young child before they've been conditioned by society, logic does not have the same priority the way that we adults prioritize logic all the time.

[00:26:09]
A young child is just raw. And they would just be like, "I want mummy", or "I don't want mummy". They would just be raw like that. And our inner child tends to be like that as well. It communicates like that. It's very raw. It's very authentic because it's so raw because it just says what it's feeling, what it wants, what it doesn't want.

[00:26:36]
So, I would say that yeah – our feelings, which resides in our bodies, that's how we kind of get in touch with our inner child. 

Ann: You know, as you were describing that inner child and how raw it is, and how logic is not a priority for the inner child – it really reminded me of when I was first starting to get in touch with my inner child.

[00:27:05]
I was afraid of precisely that – I was afraid of the lack of logic. I was afraid of the, you know – it was almost like I was afraid of hearing what I really felt. And part of my discovery was okay – I had, well, you know, I had really silenced my inner child all these years precisely because I think I lived a life where you have to be rational, you know, responsible.

[00:27:33]
And that responsibility is interpreted in a certain way. And I hadn't even realized, but it's almost like you can trust your emotions. Or emotions are messy and, you know, it will get you into trouble if you can't control your emotions, right?

Dr. Jean: Yes.

[00:27:48]
Ann: So, I was just – I'm just thinking when you were describing that inner child, I wonder whether some of the people who are listening to this also would feel the same way. Like, oh, that's scary. Why would I want to let that out?

[00:28:05] WOUNDED INNER CHILD
You know? Those of us who don't – who are afraid we can control let's say, once we get in touch with our emotions, right? Because as I was sitting on this powder keg, precisely because, I mean, at least for me, I realize because I've been burying it and suppressing it for so long, all the more, the force that seems to be latent.

[00:28:22]
Like, you know, hidden underneath all that is so powerful and so scary. Yeah, I wonder if you could say something about that, and whether that also links to how our inner child gets wounded, you know? We also, sometimes we hear the term, you know, a "wounded inner child". So, you know, there's a – yeah.

[00:28:41]
Dr. Jean: Yeah, let me answer the first part. And then I'll go to the second one. So, very, very common apprehension that people feel when hearing, "oh my gosh, I'm going to hear this raw" – you know, just this brat might show up.

Ann: Yes!

Dr. Jean: All these stereotypes, but isn't that the stereotypes that we think of children as well? Like we think that children – like that's how society, unfortunately, has tended to paint children as children are raw, they are destructive.

[00:29:17]
You leave them on their own, they are going to make everything bad. But actually, children are not. Children – I mean, children are pure, children are loving. Children are so sweet, the way that they look at things. I mean, I was just telling my daughter recently, because she was asking me about, you know, why do new-born mothers have to take maternity leave, for example, you know? Why can't they work?

[00:29:41]
And I was just like, oh, because they have to wake up at night. Like all the time, every time the baby cries, they have to also wake up to comfort the baby, to feed the baby. So, it's very tiring for the mom, right? So, my adult self is like, it's very tiring, right? And then her response to me – she just said, it's very caring.

[00:30:02]
And my daughter's four years old – just for listeners who are wondering. And I was like, oh yeah, it is very caring. You know, children see things with such a lens of purity and love. And it's very sad that, in our society, we have learnt to see children as almost like a – I don't know – animals that we need to control, animals that we need to train, as opposed to they are good already.

[00:30:31]
And we just need to help them learn how to nurture and tap into their goodness, and how to use that appropriately and whatnot, you know? So, it's the same thing. I mean, when we think about inner child, we think that, oh, something bad, something horrible is going to happen. They're going to paralyze me.

[00:30:51]
I mean, I would even say that – okay, for example, if let's say we are frequently finding ourselves procrastinating on a task, sometimes that could be that, you know, for whatever reason we are just procrastinating. Sometimes it also can be our inner child is actually the one there that is, kind of saying, "I don't want to – I don't want to do this task", right.

[00:31:12]
So, then this is where people would go, "you see, if I lean into that, then I won't do the task, right? Then – so, no, I cannot. I have to power through this task. I just have to drag this terrible part of mine, and drag it along with me. But the reality is that, if we actually slow down and listen to this part that's procrastinating, and we get curious about it.

[00:31:35] BEING CURIOUS WITH OUR INNER CHILD
I think it's always about being curious. I mean, when your children is having a meltdown, can we be curious and stop seeing them as just a little monster, aren't you? A little brat. I just need to beat you back into – you know? Can we actually be curious what exactly is going on? It's always, actually something good.

[00:31:51]
It's never something bad. And so, even with the procrastination – what is going on? Why am I procrastinating? And if we can actually listen to what the procrastination is communicating, then we start to better understand, oh, it's not that we are just trying not to do the task, it could be that as we slow down, for example – when I think about myself procrastinating, and I've done this with myself – it sometimes, it's because I'm scared that if I do this task, I wouldn't do it very well.

[00:32:24]
It wouldn't be up to standards. And then something inside me is going to beat myself up. I'm very scared of that. So, I'm very anxious about getting beaten up for not doing a good enough task. It's not that I don't want to do the task. I'm scared of the beating that's going to come inside me.

[00:32:42]
Like, I'm such an idiot, I'm so stupid, you know – just kind of like self-beating – that is stopping me from doing it. But actually, I want to do the task, right. So, then if I can listen to that and I can kind of go, "you know what? – You're right". I need to tell the part that beats you, like, we're not going to beat you up at all.

[00:33:00]
Like, or if that part is beating, I would just be like in my head – because I said that there are many parts to us, right? So, then I would tell that part, like, "Stop it!". This child – I would advocate for this part. I would say like, "Hey, this young inner child is so brave to do this task and she's so dedicated. Can you see how she's pouring herself out on this?"

[00:33:20]
I mean, yeah, sure – there are parts that we can improve on. But look how eager she is. Can we celebrate that? You know? I think, when we can do that, then suddenly you might notice that the procrastination drops, and you are more – you feel safer to go into that process. So, this is just one example. I mean, there are many reasons why we procrastinate, and our inner child can tell us a very unique reason for each of us.

[00:33:42]
And for me, it can be today I procrastinate for this reason, tomorrow I procrastinate for this other reason. So, we are constantly dialoguing and listening. It's a bit like children who are going through a meltdown. They're melting down for this reason, they're melting down for that reason, you know? 

[00:33:54]
They're melting down because they didn't sleep enough. They're melting down because maybe I haven't been connecting with them enough. They're melting down because I'm making them do something that they just want to do. They’re very tired! They've been through so many events – for example, right?

Ann: Right.

Dr. Jean: So, it's getting to communicate and know them. So, I would say, for people who are scared of doing this work because they are afraid of, something coming out to bite them, in that sense or sabotage them – sometimes people think of the inner child is like, “self-sabotager”.

[00:34:23]
I would say that often, the opposite is true. When we listen to it, it helps us to actually learn how to meet a deeper need. And then we enter into the same task with a sense of wholeness. We're not dragging any parts of us, but instead we're going in with a sense of energy, a sense of connection within ourselves.

[00:34:48]
Ann: Yeah. 

Dr. Jean: That's to answer your first question. 

Ann: Yes. I love that. Thank you!

[00:35:56] PRAXIS: LISTEN. PONDER. ACT.
I hope you enjoyed the first part of my conversation with Dr. Jean Cheng. Here are the practice prompts for this episode. One: Listen – as always, I invite you to remember if you really resonated with any particular part of the episode when you were listening to it.

[00:35:18]
Was there something that maybe connected with your heart a little bit more? Was there any emotion you felt? Two: Ponder – in this episode, you heard Dr. Jean Cheng talk about different parts of ourselves and she made reference to, you know – sometimes there are younger parts of ourselves. Now to the extent that maybe you can comprehend that, I invite you to ponder when was the last time that you remember maybe feeling an emotion that seemed that it came from a younger place in you?

[00:36:04]
What I mean is, sometimes, we have an emotional reaction and that emotional reaction actually is very similar to how we felt when we were a child. You know, let's say it's a sense of alarm, or fear.

[00:36:24]
But it feels as if that fear was the fear of a young child. It may take you a little bit longer to connect with this ponder question because unless you are already doing a bit of work to connect with your younger self, you may not even notice that sometimes, the strong emotions that come up in your current life, in very adult kind of situations – even perhaps at work or in an argument with your spouse, for example – that actually, the emotion that you feel is like that of a young child.

[00:37:00]
So, if you can, I invite you to ponder – when was the last time maybe that you remember feeling like a young child, an emotion of a child. Three: Act – this is just a very simple invitation I'm going to give you, for the invitation to act. And that is; I invite you to look at some old family photos. Maybe, you know – specifically, photos of your younger self, of you when you were a little girl or little boy.

[00:37:42]
And I invite you – maybe if you want to listen to this episode again, or for the future episodes on inner child – to have that photograph or photographs – if you have more than one – ready with you. I would like you to look at that face, okay? – Of your younger self, as you listen to us talk about inner child and inner child work and inner child healing.

[00:38:12]
And I would like you to remember that there is a part of you inside – inside you that is still also really that young child in that photograph, okay? And that when we talk about inner child work and inner child healing, it's about reconnecting with the younger parts of ourselves that have been neglected for a very long time.

[00:38:40]
Okay, I think I'm pre-empting our future – the next episode. So, I'm just going to stop right there and thank you for listening. I hope that you are looking forward to the continuation of this conversation with Dr. Jean Cheng. 

[00:38:55] 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!

Dr. Jean Cheng Profile Photo

Dr. Jean Cheng

Clinical Psychologist

Jean is a Clinical Psychologist practising in Singapore. She trained in Melbourne, Australia, graduated with a First-Class honours, was awarded the Australian Postgraduate Award scholarship to pursue and complete both her PhD and Masters in Clinical Psychology. Since her adolescent years, Jean has been passionate about alleviating human suffering and helping others (and herself) experience freedom from the inner prisons that limit one from living life to the fullest. Her special interest is in helping her clients build a nurturing relationship with themselves. This informs her passion for inner child work. She believes that when we are able to see, pay attention, and honour the inner child in all of us, we are then rewarded with the joy, curiousity, confidence, courage, purpose, wisdom, and contentment that a child who is loved and secure embodies naturally.