Dialoguing with Our Inner Child: Making It RealBy Nancy Swisher
December 31, 2006
Do your dialogues with your Inner Child feel real to you? Do you experience resistance in your dialogue process? In this article, Nancy shows us how to make our dialogues in Step 3 of Inner Bonding feel real and how to get beyond our resistance.
Step Three of Inner Bonding is self-exploration in the form of dialoguing with our Inner Child. In many ways, this is the most important part of the process, because without understanding the source of our pain and false beliefs we cannot fully love the part of us that holds so tightly to them. To move into our wholeness at the deepest level, we must go through the wounded child(ren) within us, loving them, understanding them, holding them, and bringing in the truth for them.
In my practice I have observed resistance come up for people when they get to step three. Sometimes this can be in the form of not believing what their child says. Sometimes it looks like always "dialoguing" in their head, silently. Or sometimes the tone of voice of the adult is tinged with frustration. Of course, when these kinds of resistance happen, it's an indication that one is not fully in the intention to learn to love and understand the child. It's also a good reflection of how one's parents probably responded to them as a child.
Because Inner Bonding itself is a creative, learning process - in other words, by doing the process we continually learn to go deeper into mastery of each step - inevitably we will be experiencing resistance at some time in Step Three.
How do we then learn from this resistance?
First of all, we must be aware of it. In the beginning, usually this requires support from an Inner Bonding Facilitator who can guide us to recognize the resistance. But eventually, with enough practice and commitment to healing and learning to love, we can hear and feel the resistance ourselves.
I find that the most helpful way to approach the dialogue and to learn to detect our resistance is to make it real. By real, I mean using our imagination to the fullest extent. This may sound like an oxymoron: real = using our imagination to its fullest capacity? But this is true. Our imagination is a gift, which allows us, with the help of Spirit, to hear, feel, remember and believe our Inner Child. To know the truth of our child's experience and resulting false beliefs.
How do we make the dialogues real?
I have found, both in my practice and my own process, that dialoguing aloud holds the greatest potential for going deep into the child's experience, as well as providing the greatest opportunity to create one's Loving Adult. This is because our imagination is most fully accessed. We have sounds, intonation, and a full expression of both aspects of the dialogue itself - the Child and Loving Adult. Both have the chance to be heard, literally.
Every time I observe a client dialoging "in their head", I feel an absence of real depth of feeling. Many times the silence itself is a form of resistance to embracing the Child, allowing him/her to have a real voice with real emotions.
I have also observed dialogues where the Loving Adult speaks aloud, and the Child's voice stays "in the head". This too, generally reflects a resistance to hearing the child, and may indicate the pervasiveness of not being heard as a child.
When we dialogue aloud, however, using a stuffed animal or doll to represent our Child, an actual relationship occurs. Our imagination can be more fully engaged. Remember the movie "Castaway", with Tom Hanks? He literally survives, emotionally, by drawing a face on a soccer ball. The ball is external to him. He can see it, talk to it. Let it talk back.
Here are three ways I have found that help to make the dialoguing process real:
1) Gaze into the eyes of your bear or doll and take time, however long you need, to imagine your self at age two, three, or twelve - whatever age your are working with - before asking a question. Consciously use your imagination to make the stuffed animal become yourself as a child.
2) Notice your tone of voice when you speak to your child as the Loving Adult - does it sound compassionate? Does it sound curious and loving? Does it sound like you really want to know what the child has to tell you? These are the qualities of the Loving Adult in the dialogue context, but without the sound of our voice, we cannot hear if indeed this is who we are truly being in relation to our Child.
3) When your Child speaks back to you, let go of all skepticism, judgment, editing of your Child's need to speak to you. Drop into your body, your feeling self where the Child lives. Surrender to the Child - allow her/him to have a voice. A real voice. Not a mental voice, but one that has sounds, one whose feelings ride on the tone of her/his words. Sound creates a greater sensory experience. It gives the child an arena of expression. Whereas, when we stay in our head, there is no external arena. Externalization of the child's feelings and truth is essential to the healing process.
When we hear the sound of our child's voice, our hearts are more likely to open. Our Loving Adult grows. And our open-heart makes the child feel safer to keep telling us everything she/he needs to tell us.
The more real you make your dialogue, the deeper your self-exploration unfolds.
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What nurtures you? Do you feel nurtured by being out in nature? By doing something creative? By sitting quietly and listening to music or reading or watching a movie? By being with caring friends? By being physically active - hiking, playing a sport, or gardening? By meditating, journaling, practicing Inner Bonding? By playing fun games? By playing a musical instrument? Today, be sure to create balance in your life by nurturing yourself.
By Dr. Margaret Paul