Writing a letter to your inner child helps you explore unresolved feelings, emotions, and self-beliefs from your past. When you write a letter to your inner child, you’re using the autonomy of your current adult body to comfort the part of yourself that felt helpless as a child.
Maybe your parents didn’t make you feel seen for who you were; as an adult, you can identify with your child self who felt that way, and you can take this chance to acknowledge all your own great qualities.
Maybe you experienced abuse and always blamed yourself; in your inner child letter, you can write to yourself at the time you were abused, and say all the things adults in your life should have:
- You could never possibly deserve that treatment.
- Going through what you did made a lot of things harder than they should have been, and that wasn’t fair.
- You were so strong to make it through without reassurance.
Think this is a soft, girly thing to do? Think again! Men have inner children, too, and there’s a growing movement to help guys recognize: “Yes, there’s really a little dude inside you and he needs your help… Trauma is bound to happen somewhere in any normal boy’s childhood. Perhaps it’s a parent who’s not around, maybe it’s a bully or a coach with a mean streak.” It all gets stored away with your inner child.
This letter-writing exercise helps you process and mourn any difficult events from the past. It helps you remember that while you felt helpless back then, you are now in an adult body capable of defending yourself and honoring your needs.
This exercise is good for people who have experienced…
- Dysfunctional family
- Self esteem struggles
- Imposter syndrome
- Abusive relationships
How can writing a letter to your inner child help you feel better?
Your inner child is the part of your inner world that has held onto unresolved pain. It’s the part of your inner world that knew something wasn’t right, way back, but never got connected to your adult problem-solving perspective.
When your pain stays locked away with your inner child, you can’t do anything about it, and the pain festers, coming out in unhelpful or unexpected ways (like anger). Connecting with your inner child can help you resolve self-criticism, imposter syndrome, and negative self beliefs from problematic relationships.
What’s the time commitment?
It can take as little as 15 minutes to write a letter to your inner child. But you should spend as much time as you feel you need.
Some people benefit from writing a single letter to their inner child. On the other hand, some prefer to write these notes regularly, as a way of keeping the inner child fresh on their mind.
Part of connecting with your inner child is learning to hear your own intuition; writing at least one of these letters will give you a feel for how often you want to do it.
Need motivation? Here’s what others have said…
“If you have unmet #emotional needs from childhood, one way to meet them now is to write your inner child a letter telling them everything they need to hear. This activity can help you #reconnect with your #inner child and remember the emotional quality of being a child.” – @open071
“I wrote a letter to my inner child and it was so soothing and groundbreaking.” – @Themagicmuir
Therapist Pete Walker on the power of writing to one’s inner child: “Journaling taught me to bear witness to myself – to validate that I was born innocent – unfairly deprived of a child’s birthright to be loved. Through no fault of my own, I got the joker from the parenting deck. Journaling helped me grieve this terrible loss… Through continually evolving my ability to nurture, love and protect myself and my various child selves, I customarily feel a sense of safety and of belonging in the world.”
How to write a letter to your inner child:
Imagine yourself at a variety of different ages (e.g. elementary schooler, teen, toddler), and bear witness to the sadness, pain, loneliness, and challenges you faced at that time (if you need more specific guidance for this part, here is a detailed walkthrough). Think about how you might’ve wanted to be spoken to at that time. What did you need to hear? What support do you still, to this day, wish you had received in the moment?
Take a look at the templates below, and see what resonates for child-you. From there, just start writing (or drawing, or collage-ing, or whatever helps you explore these prompts):
Reassurances for your inner child (via u/ready__gi):