Inner Child Quotes

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Inner Child Quotes

THC Editorial Team November 17, 2021
Cottage Children (The Wood Gatherers), 1787, Thomas Gainsborough, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (article on inner child quotes)
Cottage Children (The Wood Gatherers), 1787, Thomas Gainsborough, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Contents

What Is The Inner Child?

Proponents of inner-child therapy believe that everyone has an inner child, which is a part of the self that reflects the childhood experiences of the child within and manifests in adulthood as particular internal felt perceptions, emotions, thoughts, and beliefs or as external behaviors and actions.1,2

The concept of the inner child is thought to have been present since before the time of Christ;1,3 however, in the psychological lexicon, it appears to be attributable at least as far back as to the work of 19th- and 20th-century psychoanalysts Sándor Ferenczi, Sigmund Freud, and Carl Jung.1,2,3 More recently, the concept was popularized by the work of John Bradshaw and Richard Schwartz (internal family systems).1,2,3

Various psychologists have referred to the inner child as the “child within us who we once were,”4 as child-like aspects of ourselves,5 as our authentic or true self, as our emotions, and even as our bodies.

Quotes On The Inner Child

Here are some of our favorite inner child quotes.

Three things are striking about inner child work: the speed with which people change when they do this work; the depth of that change; and the power and creativity that result when wounds from the past are healed.6

— John Bradshaw
Homecoming, Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Child

You can’t heal what you can’t feel.6

— John Bradshaw
Homecoming, Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Child

Reclaiming your wounded inner child is a Zenlike experience.6

— John Bradshaw
Homecoming, Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Child

Children are natural Zen masters; their world is brand-new in each and every moment. For the unwounded child, wonder is natural. Life is a mystery to be lived. Homecoming is the restoration of the natural. Such a restoration is not grandiose or dramatic; it is simply the way life ought to be.6

— John Bradshaw
Homecoming, Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Child

The process of reclaiming your wounded inner child is a forgiveness process. Forgiveness allows us to give as before. It heals the past and frees our energies for the present.6

— John Bradshaw
Homecoming, Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Child

Finding and reclaiming the wounded inner child is an uncovery process.6

— John Bradshaw
Homecoming, Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Child

The “child” is all that is abandoned and exposed and at the same time divinely powerful; the insignificantly dubious beginning, and the triumphal end. The “eternal child” in man is an indescribable experience, an incongruity, a handicap, and a divine prerogative; an imponderable that determines the ultimate worth or worthlessness of a personality.6

— C. G. Jung
As cited in Homecoming, Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Child

I want you to imagine what you would do if you had come upon that real child in the original situation.… What’s a reasonable, compassionate thing to do for a child that’s confused and upset? You sit and talk with the child. You listen to it. You find out what’s bothering it, help it understand, comfort it, hold it in your arms; later, you play with it a little, explain things, tell a story. That’s therapy in its oldest and best sense: nothing fancy, just kindness and patience.6

— Ron Kurz
As cited in Homecoming, Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Child

The child wants simple things. It wants to be listened to. It wants to be loved.… It may not even know the words, but it wants its rights protected and its self-respect unviolated. It needs you to be there.6

— Ron Kurz
As cited in Homecoming, Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Child

Inner Bonding is a process of connecting our Adult thoughts with our instinctual gut feelings, the feelings of our “Inner Child,” so that we can live free of conflict within ourselves.7

— Margaret Paul
Inner Bonding: Becoming a Loving Adult to Your Inner Child

The Inner Child is the aspect of our personality that is soft, vulnerable, and feelings oriented—our “gut” instinct. It is who we are when we were born, our core self, our natural personality, with all its talent, instinct, intuition, and emotion.7

— Margaret Paul
Inner Bonding: Becoming a Loving Adult to Your Inner Child

Psychotherapy generally fails when it does not help individuals to discover the place within or without (depending upon the individual’s belief system) where they can go to connect with the spiritual truth.7

— Margaret Paul
Inner Bonding: Becoming a Loving Adult to Your Inner Child

The false self, or ego, is who we are when the Adult chooses the intent to protect and disconnects from the Inner Child. The unloving Adult and the unloved abandoned Child are the two faces of the ego.7

— Margaret Paul
Inner Bonding: Becoming a Loving Adult to Your Inner Child

When our Inner Child is feeling consistently loved by our Inner Adult, he or she is a wondrous being—trusting, creative, imaginative, curious, passionate, playful, energetic, enthusiastic, spontaneous, soft, sensitive, sensual, with an incredible sense of wonder and aliveness. Delighted just to be alive, he or she is open and receptive to new ideas and experiences.7

— Margaret Paul
Inner Bonding: Becoming a Loving Adult to Your Inner Child

When our Inner Child feels consistently unloved by our Inner Adult, the Child’s false beliefs, adopted in childhood when parents were unloving, are reinforced—beliefs that we are bad, wrong, unlovable, unimportant, inadequate, defective in some way.7

— Margaret Paul
Inner Bonding: Becoming a Loving Adult to Your Inner Child

Those of us who have suffered from extreme physical, sexual, and emotional abuse have a big challenge trying to create a loving Inner Adult.7

— Margaret Paul
Inner Bonding: Becoming a Loving Adult to Your Inner Child

By reparenting our Inner Child, we can release and heal the pain from the past.7

— Margaret Paul
Inner Bonding: Becoming a Loving Adult to Your Inner Child

All of us face the job of becoming a loving mother and father to our Inner Child.7

— Margaret Paul
Inner Bonding: Becoming a Loving Adult to Your Inner Child

The loving Adult is both father and mother to the Inner Child, regardless of whether we are a man or a woman.7

— Margaret Paul
Inner Bonding: Becoming a Loving Adult to Your Inner Child

If we do not accept the responsibility of being both the father and mother to our Inner Child, then our Child will seek elsewhere for someone to do it.7

— Margaret Paul
Inner Bonding: Becoming a Loving Adult to Your Inner Child

It takes time and practice to develop the ongoing consciousness: “Am I being a Loving Adult to my Inner Child?”7

— Margaret Paul
Inner Bonding: Becoming a Loving Adult to Your Inner Child

The most important thing we can learn about loving each other is the paradox that we must learn to love ourselves first.7

— Margaret Paul
Inner Bonding: Becoming a Loving Adult to Your Inner Child

For a strong and lasting partnership, both of us must be connected to our own inner feelings, as well willing to be open to learning about the other’s.7

— Margaret Paul
Inner Bonding: Becoming a Loving Adult to Your Inner Child

Even when we try hard to be good parents, when we are not being loving to our own Inner Child, we are teaching our children to be unloving to themselves.7

— Margaret Paul
Inner Bonding: Becoming a Loving Adult to Your Inner Child

It is only when we are willing to do our own inner work and take full responsibility for our own Inner Child that we can change the dysfunctional, codependent parenting that dominates our society. As we become healthy, so will our children and their children, leading to a healthy society.7

— Margaret Paul
Inner Bonding: Becoming a Loving Adult to Your Inner Child

… whatever the relationship, whether it be with a mate, a parent, a child, a friend, a coworker, or a professional, the ways we relate with others depend on the relationship we have with our Inner Child.7

— Margaret Paul
Inner Bonding: Becoming a Loving Adult to Your Inner Child

Our external relationships are mirrors for our internal relationship. Others will love us and support us when we learn to love and support ourselves.7

— Margaret Paul
Inner Bonding: Becoming a Loving Adult to Your Inner Child

The concept of the Child Within has been a part of our world culture for at least two thousand years. Carl Jung called it the “Divine Child” and Emmet Fox called it the “Wonder Child.” Psychotherapists Alice Miller and Donald Winnicott refer to it as the “true self.” Many in the field of alcoholism and other chemical dependence call it the “inner child.3

— Charles Whitfield
Healing the Child Within: Discovery and Recovery for Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families

No matter how distant, evasive, or even alien it may seem to be, we each have a “Child Within”—the part of us that is ultimately alive, energetic, creative and fulfilled. This is our Real Self—who we truly are.3

— Charles Whitfield
Healing the Child Within: Discovery and Recovery for Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families

Telling our story is a powerful act in discovering and healing our Child Within. It is a foundation of recovery in self-help groups, group therapy and individual psychotherapy and counseling.3

— Charles Whitfield
Healing the Child Within: Discovery and Recovery for Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families

To rediscover our True or Real Self and heal our Child Within, we can…

1) Discover and practice being our Real Self or Child Within.

2) Identify our ongoing physical, mental-emotional and spiritual needs. Practice getting these needs met with safe and supportive people.

3) Identify, re-experience and grieve the pain of our ungrieved losses or traumas in the presence of safe and supporting people.

4) Identify and work through our core issues3

— Charles Whitfield
Healing the Child Within: Discovery and Recovery for Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families

Our problem is not that as children our needs were unmet, but that as adults they are still unmourned!8

— David Richo
How to Be an Adult: A Handbook on Psychological and Spiritual Integration

Most of us emerge from childhood with conscious and unconscious psychic wounds and emotional unfinished business. What we leave incomplete we are doomed to repeat. The untreated traumas of childhood become the frustrating dramas of adulthood.8

— David Richo
How to Be an Adult: A Handbook on Psychological and Spiritual Integration

Jesus tells us that unless we become like little children, we cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. That child mind, sometimes called beginner’s mind in Zen, is the innocence of pure being, of unconditional love.9

— Ram Dass
Polishing the Mirror: How to Live from Your Spiritual Heart

Parental neglect and rejection in childhood can adversely affect self-confidence and relationships in adulthood, as people repeat old, frustrating patterns and then blame themselves for not being happy.10

— Lindsay Gibson
Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents

If we learn to dissociate from the pain of our reality, we can survive a childhood of tremendous betrayal, sadness, pain, and fear. But dissociation… from pain is not selective; we inevitably disconnect even from the joy of being alive.11

— Daniel Siegel
Aware: The Science and Practice of Presence

There is no such thing as perfect parents. All parents make mistakes and inevitably leave lesser or greater trails of damage. In later life it is often a painful and difficult task for a person to discern and integrate what occurred in childhood; this can be slow work, but it can yield great fruits of forgiveness, freedom, and tranquility of heart.12

— John O’Donohue
To Bless the Space Between Us

When one is at home in oneself, one is integrated and enjoys a sense of balance and poise. In a sense that is exactly what spirituality is: the art of homecoming.12

— John O’Donohue
To Bless the Space Between Us

Just as too much physical force can break a child’s bones, too much control can break a child’s spirit and fracture his psyche. It can cause a splintering of self, causing a child to disown some parts of himself and to inflate others.14

— Beverly Engel
Healing The Emotional Self

What a child doesn’t receive, he can seldom later give.14

— P.D. James
Time to Be in Earnest

… no matter how much the parents and grandparents may have sinned against the child, the man who is really adult will accept these sins as his own condition which has to be reckoned with.15

— C. G. Jung
Psychology and Alchemy

Just tell me how you judge your childhood and youth, and I will tell you who you are.16

— Søren Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard’s Journals and Notebooks, As cited in The Quotable Kierkegaard

Just as the spirit is invisible, so also is its language a secret, and the secret lies in its using the same words as the child and the simpleminded person but using them metaphorically…16

— Attributed to Søren Kierkegaard
As cited in The Quotable Kierkegaard

A soulful person trusts his intuitions and other forms of inner guidance, knowing that a stronger sense of self abides there.17

— Thomas Moore
Care of the Soul: A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life

References

  1. The Human Condition. (2021, Oct 19). Inner-Child Work: Overview, Benefits, and Effectiveness.
    https://thehumancondition.com/inner-child-work-benefits-effectiveness/
  2. Smith, J. (2017). Working with the Inner Child. (pp. 141–151). Springer.
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49460-9_12
  3. Whitfield, C. (1987). Healing the child within: Discovery and recovery for adult children of dysfunctional families. Health Communications.
  4. Hestbech, A. M. (2018). Reclaiming the inner child in cognitive-behavioral therapy: The complementary model of the personality. American Journal of Psychotherapy, 71(1), 21–27.
    https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.psychotherapy.20180008
  5. Woodiwiss, J. (2009). Making contact: Knowledge and the inner child. In J. Woodiwiss, Contesting stories of childhood sexual abuse (pp. 88–110). Palgrave Macmillan.
    https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230245150_5
  6. Bradshaw J. (1992). Homecoming: Reclaiming and championing your inner child. New York: Bantam.
  7. Paul, M. (1992). Inner bonding: Becoming a loving adult to your inner child. HarperOne.
  8. Richo, D. (1991). How to Be an Adult: A Handbook on Psychological and Spiritual Integration. Paulist Press.
  9. Dass, R., Das, R. (2014). Polishing the Mirror: How to Live from Your Spiritual Heart. Sounds True.
  10. Gibson, L. C. (2015). Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents: How to Heal from Distant, Rejecting, or Self-Involved Parents. New Harbinger Publications.
  11. Siegel, D. J. (2020). Aware: The Science and Practice of Presence. TarcherPerigee.
  12. O’Donohue, J. (2008). To Bless the Space Between: Us A Book of Blessings. Convergent Books.
  13. Engel, B. (2007). Healing The Emotional Self: A Powerful Program to Help You Raise Your Self-Esteem, Quiet Your Inner Critic, and Overcome Your Shame. Wiley.
  14. James, P. D. (2001). Time to Be in Earnest: A Fragment of Autobiography. Ballantine Books.
  15. Jung, C. G. (1980). Psychology and Alchemy. Routledge.
  16. Kierkegaard, S., Marino, G. (2013). The Quotable Kierkegaard. Princeton University Press.
  17. Moore, T. (2016). Care of the Soul: A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life. Harper Perennial.

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