“This article isn’t for me, my inner child is just fine, I had a great childhood, no need to go scratching in the hornets nest, thank you very much.”

The inner child can sound like a lot of mumbo jumbo new-age spirituality, something for the hippies, right?

And maybe you’re right. But, I ask you, have you ever responded inappropriately to a situation without understanding why?

I was at a social event many years ago and I was seated between two men. Another man came up to us and greeted the man to my left with a handshake, passed over me and greeted the man to the right of me with a handshake.

I was FURIOUS. The kind of furious that takes days and weeks to overcome.

Everyone I came into contact with was told the story, and I became more and more incensed that the *insert expletives here* misogynistic *insert more expletives* patriarchal *end with a choice expletive and several exclamation marks!!!!!!!* had dared to pass over me as if I didn’t exist.


We all have a version of this story. Be it in traffic or with a boss or a partner or a child and even our friends, we all have situations where we have a tantrum, or two or three.

Once I began my journey of self discovery I was able to trace back the root cause of my anger in that situation and it turned out that I often felt unseen.

This is a perception I carried from childhood. The inappropriate response wasn’t my thirty-something-year-old self, it was my inner child, the wounded little girl who lives inside me shouting at the top of her voice:

See me, look at me, here I am!

A photo of 11-year-old Denise.

I now have a relationship with that little girl and I am often (not always) able to see when she’s having a tantrum or needs my attention, when she’s sad, bored or wants to play. And now, instead of judging myself for behaviour that I don’t understand, I am compassionate towards this hurt part of myself. 

Acknowledging the wounded inner child is a gateway to compassion and healing. Imagine that you were a small child learning to navigate the world for the first time, what would you say to that child? How would you comfort that child? We are taught to be hard on ourselves but nobody teaches us to nurture ourselves, to love ourselves, to be gentle with ourselves.

“Of course,” I say to her, “of course you feel angry and unseen, it’s okay to feel those big feelings, what do you need from me now?”

Next time you’re feeling big, overwhelming feelings why don’t you close your eyes, imagine your younger self and say to that person – of course you are angry or sad or disappointed or ashamed, I’m here for you, what do you need from me?

And see if you are able to meet yourself with compassion instead of judgement.

Denise trained as an NLP Master Coach and has combined those skills with Gabor Matè’s Compassionate Inquiry technique, to help her clients unearth the root cause of their behaviours. She uses these two modalities along with over 20 years of yoga and breath-work experience to create an individualised healing experience. Click here if you would like to book a 15-minute discovery call with Denise.