Release Childhood Shame and Loneliness to Be Healthy

The terms “inner child” and “inner child work” are becoming more popular every day. According to, “In popular psychology and analytical psychology, the inner child is an individual’s childlike aspect. It includes what a person learned as a child, before puberty. The inner child is often conceived as a semi-independent subpersonality subordinate to the waking conscious mind. The term has therapeutic applications in counseling and health settings.”

What I’ve come to know and understand is that we all have this space in us where our inner child resides, but many of us leave it untapped. We run from the uncomfortable feelings our inner child creates because we feel ashamed. Therefore, we may suffer internally. This suffering keeps us withdrawn from others, causing feelings of loneliness, which no child should ever have to feel. At a young age, shame, loneliness, and suffering can cause long-term effects, making it much harder to live a healthy life.

There was a part of my childhood where shame lived. Being so young, I didn’t understand that I held myself captive with the wrong stories and emotions. The shame grew and because of this feeling, I couldn’t confide in my loved ones.

According to, “As children, we sometimes suppress aspects of our experience when there is no one available to help us understand and come to terms with them. We suppress experiences and feelings which would otherwise be overwhelming without adequate support, but disconnection from our experience becomes problematic. The experiences and feelings remain but in unprocessed form, driven underground, and in this way affect us without our understanding. Perhaps we feel tired all the time or live in a state of perpetual tension and low-level fear. Or maybe we are limited in what we feel able to achieve, or how easy we find it to maintain intimate relationships. All these may be signs that there are things we need to understand and connect within ourselves.”

My Buried Inner Child

My inner child stories followed me into adulthood, but I learned to bury them. Or, so I thought. But like all uncomfortable feelings, the monster reared its ugly head. In my early thirties, with the help of a therapist, I uncovered some of the real stories. That is when I realized how I sentenced myself to a mental prison that I didn’t deserve. Not only had I looked at my inner child in the wrong way, but I missed that little girl deeply. She was creative, fun, spirited, and carefree—a part of me that I wanted to incorporate back into my life.

I wanted to remember her. I found a childhood picture of myself that I started using as a bookmark. I would catch myself staring at that little girl and remembering her spunk. I visualized that little girl standing in front of me. I hugged her and told her the stories she thought were true were actually misinterpretations.

Shifts started to take place. I felt lighter and more like my old self. My adult world integrated with my childhood world. I soon felt called to do things that I loved doing as a child. I would dance in my living room, draw in a notebook, cook foods I loved growing up, and even start daydreaming about the passions I had back then. It was truly a profound feeling. I was loving all parts of myself. The shame slowly disappeared, and unconditional love took its place.

Through therapy, I embraced my inner child and chose to never be ashamed of her again. One of the most recent acts of love I performed for my inner child was to write a journal entry to the little girl within me.


When we deal with overwhelming emotions, it is beneficial to find a healthy way to express yourself. Therefore, journaling is a helpful tool for managing mental health. Journaling can help you:

  • Reduce stress
  • Manage anxiety
  • Cope with depression

Journaling helps improve mental health and mood by:

  • Identifying problems, fears, and concerns
  • Tracking mental health symptoms so you can recognize triggers and learn ways to control them
  • Providing an opportunity for positive self-talk and identifying negative thoughts and behaviors

When you encounter a problem and experience stress, keeping a journal can help you identify what caused the stress or anxiety. After you’ve identified the stressors, you can develop a plan to resolve the problems and reduce your stress.

Tips to Get to Know Your Inner Child

I challenge you to get to know your inner child again. There are so many experiences that feel traumatic in those early years that force us to put up walls and keep us shackled in our minds. Free yourself of that life sentence. Here are a few suggestions of how to begin:

  • Find a picture of your childhood self and put it in a place where you will see and reflect on it often. This will spark more childhood memories to bridge that connection.
  • Ask for stories from your loved ones about your younger years. This will help you fill in any holes from your memories.
  • Allow yourself to feel and remember what it was like to be a child. Journal freely. Write whatever comes to mind. You will be so surprised by what comes out.
  • Start doing things you enjoyed as a child. Don’t worry about what someone may think if you get on a swing at the park. If you enjoyed it as a child, try it again as an adult.
  • Don’t suppress old feelings. Rather, allow them to live and breathe. When triggers come up, allow yourself to feel them, reflect on them, and get to the bottom of that specific emotion.
  • Seek counseling and discuss what you’ve discovered.

Working on old, suppressed recollections are difficult, but it gets easier the more you release those memories. Think of it like cleaning out your bedroom. You are getting rid of the old things that no longer bring you joy and leaving new space for things that

might bring you comfort and peace. We are never really done “cleaning” our bedroom, but the more we do the more efficient we become.

About the Author

Heather Caroccio is a health coach, author, podcaster, and blogger regarding all things health and wellness. She is passionate about inspiring people to embrace new techniques to improve their well-being so they can embody the highest version of themselves. Subscribe to today to get my free eBook, 7 Surefire Ways to Goal Setting. Get inspired to improve your well-being with Heather’s new book, The Missing Piece.

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