Healing my inner child

“Healing your inner child”… I heard this term very recently and I haven’t been able to shrug it off. I never imagined my inner child as a different being which probably explains why I have always refused to answer the question:

“If you could say something to 10-year-old Shawn right now, what would you say?”

That kind of inner confrontation sends panic through my body and right through to my soul. It was an existential panic, confirming that I was certainly in no form to answer. I still hold a sense of shame toward my inner child, a feeling that I still have not done enough to make up for what we had gone through in my impressionable years. 

I am not delving into the nuances of healing your inner child, instead, I will break it down in my own thought process and hopefully some of you folk can relate.

I really don’t know what I am aiming to get out there with this particular post but this thought/phrase has been hovering in my peripheral for WEEKS now. 

Prior to moving to Aotearoa to establish more stable roots with my family, my parents were often high-strung, overworked, and unappreciated. They showed up every day for the purpose of leaving my homeland, in order to ensure a more stable future for myself and my brother. I now realise they had a greater sacrifice of forcefully leaving behind their own childhood and having to grow up faster than they expected to. 

Me, fresh off the boat at 12.

At my current age of 26, my parents were married and they had already been blessed by yours truly. I can’t even begin to imagine that responsibility now. The excuse I carry with this thought is that “I want to enjoy my twenties”, and I am pretty sure that resonates with a lot of you folk reading this who were born in my generation (who share the privileges I had)…

It’s almost like because we saw our parents lose their inner child and now we are subconsciously protecting ours. Counter to this I feel like I am protecting this inner child so much that I am smothering it and in turn repeating the same behavior my parents were forced to concede to. 

My parents never had the privilege to dream, my mother who came from a working-class family, was thrown into the role of breadwinner right out of high school for a variety of reasons. My father was predominantly raised by his Nana who only barely scraped by to feed either of them. These two people had no access to a family trust or were a beneficiary of an inheritance or dowry. Aspirations for higher studies past high school were also squashed due to survival instincts kicking in to cater to their own family and also to their future family. 

When my body clock stuck at 18 I had the world in my hands and further education at my doorstep. This is a stark contrast to the options my parents had. Moving our life to the land of the long white cloud almost immediately released a weight that lay on my parents’ shoulders.

I began to see the glee in their eyes for the first time, I saw them dance and twirl more than I had ever seen before. Their laughter and giggles now resonate through our family home, and this shit just warms my heart. 

Even spending time with each other was the absolute last priority for my parents and now it warms my heart to see them go on date nights and even take local dance classes! They worked tirelessly for our future and now it’s time for them to heal their inner child and recover their sacrifices. 

So in conclusion… I am yet uncertain how I might mitigate my own inner child and actions to set him free but I know I want to start with helping my parents do so first. 

This is only part one, I gots more to divulge.

Published by Shawn Wimalaratne


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