A letter to my inner child

“Go back and take care of yourself. Your body needs you, your perceptions need you, your feeling needs you. The wounded child in you needs you. Your suffering needs you to acknowledge it.”

― Thích Nhất Hạnh, Reconciliation: Healing the Inner Child

Medical professionals call them “triggers” – those moments when an irreverent but seemingly minor event snowballs into something bigger. Through the event itself, you’re calm, calculated – on the outside nothing is wrong.

But inside the door opens. The moment the event ends and you’re “safe”, your body stiffens, then begins to shake. Inside, a wide, empty chasm expands… and you feel it. The pain of memories long hidden from your conscious mind rises to the surface. You struggle to catch your breath as the tears begin to fall. Except they aren’t my tears. They’re yours.

Hello, my child; my younger self. Hello, you brave, beautiful, wonderful girl. I’m sorry for the pain you’ve endured. You were so strong back then. You were so young, so small, and yet you carried your family’s pain with the strength of an army. You were brave, my child. You did things no one should ever have to ask a little one to do, and you did it better than most adults. And through it all… you never lost your heart or your compassion. You brave, amazing little girl.

But in the midst of this, you never had the chance to cry. So I’m giving it to you now. In these moments when a seemingly minor event cascades into tears, I will let you cry. I know what I see reminds you of heartbreaking things that happened to you. But you’re safe now, and all the pain and tears you’ve held inside are free to release here.

I want you to know that I’m sorry for what you’ve endured. You didn’t deserve to face what you did. Had we known what I know now, then perhaps we would have done things differently. But we didn’t, and instead you did your best. You went head-to-head with the pain and trauma of generations, and you did so with remarkable courage. Your courage helped others heal. Now it’s your turn.

Throughout our life, we’ve always put other people before ourselves. But now I’m putting us at the forefront. If you need to cry, then cry. If you need to be held, let me hold you. If you need to be heard, then speak. If you need to play and be the child you didn’t get to be, then let us play. I’m not afraid anymore, so you don’t have to be, either.

Your parents love you, but they, too, carried deep pain inside of them. Pain that they inherited from their parents, and so on down the line. They carried generational trauma, just like you do now.

But you, my dear, are a wonderful, beautiful soul. And I want you to know that we did a brave thing together. We broke that cycle. You grew up and you sought the silverlining through the haze of traumatic experiences, and you found a way to heal. As a result, you won’t pass this painful baton forward. You won’t do unto others what has been done to you.

You are free, my dear. Free to continue being that compassionate, joyful, empathetic soul you were always known to be. You can relinquish your fear and you can speak and cry and heal and laugh and embrace life. We’ll do it together – you and me.

I love you dearly, and I will protect you. You are safe. You are loved. You are free.

So be, and I shall be beside you.

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