FEATURE - July 2015 - Kansas City
A Kiss for my Little Girl
By Pamela Hawkins
My mom’s cousin came hurriedly into the room, excited that she’d finally found the journal she was looking for. My mom had written a poem about her mother just after she’d passed away a few weeks earlier and her cousin thought she might be the only person who knew about it, now that my mom was making her own unexpected transition.
As she thumbed through the book, a piece of paper fell out. Picking it up, she said, “Oh look, your mom kept a note from a little child.” She handed it to me and I looked to see who it was from. A rush of tenderness came over me as I realized who wrote it, and now, as I lay in bed next to my dying mother, I read the words she had written to her little girl self.
They were words about love and happiness and having fun together...telling her she was glad she was born, that she was loveable and that she’d always take of her. The other side of the paper revealed, in a child’s handwriting, her love and appreciation for being wanted, taken care of, and feeling safe.
It seemed like it was no accident that this page fell out of the journal and into my hands.
It was a heart-touching moment.
Whether part of a regular practice or a workshop exercise, I’m sure the reason my mother wrote the note was a part of her desire to become more whole—to have a healthy relationship with the inner child part of herself.
In his book Self Parenting, Dr. John Pollard says that many of us grew up within a parental environment that did not meet our childhood needs for love, support, and nurturing. As adults, we mentally continue the same patterns as an “Inner Parent” that left us feeling alone and abandoned as a child. However, with attention or practice, we can shift our inner parenting style and learn to give our inner child the love, support and nurturing that we need to thrive.
The inner child part of us might also be thought of as our intuition, our true self, our heart, our creative side. In any case, it seems that most of us have learned, unconsciously—and effectively—to suppress, override, subtly stifle or shamelessly criticize that part of us. It also might be where some of our most authentic creativity, joy, and wisdom resides. So it behooves us to become more actively aware of this wise and wonderful, probably wounded, part of ourselves and invite it into a more conscious conversation and healthy relationship—to embrace the “natural creative intelligence that lives in each of us”, as Joseph Pearce says in his book Magical Child.
“Compassion for the little girl that is me”
My friend, Annette Hadley, shares that her introduction to her inner child has been one of the most profound and joyous experiences of her life. Early on, as part of her therapeutic and healing process, a counselor suggested that she make a sign to read, “Compassion for the little girl that is me” and keep it nearby along with a picture of herself as a young girl.
Annette maintains an active practice of journaling with her “lg” (little girl). She has learned how to check in and listen—to establish a deeper trust between her inner parent and inner child. As she says, “We’re all parented one way or another as children—and we continue to parent ourselves as we grow. This is an opportunity to shift ways of “parenting” and relating to self, abandoning criticism and judgment in favor of a loving, more tuned-in, emotionally safe and supportive environment.”
Part of Annette’s process has also entailed getting in touch with pain and suffering—discovering that, deep down, she didn’t believe she deserved to be happy and also that she’d grown up believing she was a “bad” child. Doing this Inner Child work has introduced her to an aspect of herself she didn’t know existed and has become the foundation of a transformational relationship. “I have fallen in love with the little girl that is me. It’s a lovely and loving relationship, and I absolutely adore her.”
This relationship has also inspired a significant change in Annette’s life. It was through a dialog process that she was initially asked to explore her creative side. In doing so, she discovered an untapped love of painting. She regularly uses expressive art as an essential part of her healing and life journey. It has all even culminated in the birth of a new business and career direction.
Kissing the Inner Child
As I’ve grown older I’ve become much more intrigued with my own inner little girl.
Though I may think of my inner child self as my “true self,” or my “intuition,” I find that putting the face of my actual self as a young girl on it really changes my perception. I was recently given a picture of myself about the age of eight. I don’t recall ever seeing it before, but my first response was, “Oh I hate seeing myself when my bangs were so short.” Immediately recognizing the familiar rush to criticism, I stopped and just looked
at her.I appreciated her smile—the way she looks like she knows something I don’t know—or have long since forgotten. I wanted to have a conversation with her and ask what she was thinking the moment the picture was taken. I had an overwhelming desire to give her a hug and kiss.
So I made it into a play-date. I took a picture of myself “kissing” her and merged the two images together and then we colored hearts and flowers for the border.
There is something deeply satisfying in this inner exploration. I invite you to connect with your inner child and, in doing so, may you be gifted with a rich, meaningful, and a joyful complement to your inner and outer life.
John Pollard, Self Parenting
John Bradshaw, Homecoming: Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Child
Louise Hay, Forgiveness/Loving the Inner Child
Joseph Chilton Pearce, Magical Child
Pamela Hawkins is a sometimes painter, writer, facilitator, and teacher, but always a curious explorer of the mystery of life. You can reach her at
“It is never too late to play, for
we are all Magical Children.”
Joseph Chilton Pearce
Pamela Hawkins is a sometimes painter, writer, facilitator, and teacher, but always a curious
explorer of the mystery of life.You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org