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Out of the Shadows:

6 Steps to Making Peace with Your Inner Fearful Child

We have so many different parts of Our Self. Some stay in the shadows, pushed there because we can’t accept them and don’t want to have to hear from them, such as anger, and fear. But if we don’t allow them to express themselves, they don’t go away. These personas can spill out in distorted ways, as indirect hostility or even rage. They may attract to us others who are angry, unconsciously trying to trigger us, so we are then forced to look at the buried parts of ourselves and begin the work to heal.  

Fear is embodied in our inner Fearful Child. So many of our buried memories are associated with fear, some from as long ago as we can remember. But too often we don’t want to face the voice that wants to revisit those fearful memories.  We don’t want to accept that part of our self who is speaking out. But we need to, or we will never truly be free of fear’s grip. We need to allow our Fearful Child to come forth out of the shadows, speak up and be heard. Only then we can put the Fearful Child to rest.

Here the six steps of making peace with your inner Fearful Child, based on my own profound experience:

Listen

Let your Fearful Child express her or his feelings, and you may be surprised by what you hear. I had an unexpected experience with my own Fearful Child while on a retreat in Greece, when I was finally ready to hear what she had to say. Her words opened my eyes and my heart. What she said may resonate with some of you, who instinctively understand what your Fearful Child would want to say if given the chance: “I became fearful upon our birth. It seems to me that this world is a fearful place and that life itself is a fearful experience. I don’t want to feel afraid but I cannot help myself. There were many experiences in our life that made me feel this way.  I am fearful of others’ behavior towards us, I am fearful of loving. for I might get hurt. I am especially fearful of changes, or anything unknown about our future. I even feel fearful sometimes about what others think and say about us, and this makes me feel even more fearful and sometimes rebellious.

Absorb

Your Fearful Child will convey wisdom you may not have been ready to hear, but now it’s time to listen and absorb the wisdom of words. As mine told me: she felt so conflicted about her role in all the personas that make up my One Self, and afraid she was not loved. “I sometimes try to stop our self from moving forward in our life or from doing things you want to do because of this fear.  I can feel you and the other personas pushing against me and I push back; not because I don’t love you and the others but simply because I am afraid. Forgive me for causing so much interference in our life. I have often rebelled in our life, sometimes keeping company with some of our other personas. I am sorry I have caused so much unhappiness. Right now, I am fearful that you and the others do not love me.”

Acknowledge

Now that your Fearful Child has spoken up, take the time to convey your own awareness of her feelings, and make the connections to your experience — this is wisdom, come to light. As I replied to my own Fearful Child, “I know who you are and I feel your presence often. I understand you might be fearful right now about what I am about to say, but please know that I want to help us heal and feel safety, love and happiness. These statements come from my heart and are said with only love.” I explained how I now know so much more about her than I did, and can see her role in so many of my experiences. “The seed that bore you may have come from the moment of my birth, but you fell on fertile ground, “ I said. “The environment within my family, the traumatic experiences, and perhaps things still unknown to me and yet to come, have all served as food for you.”  

Reflect

I told my Fearful Child, “Now that I have you in my sight; I am able to watch you and I can see that you are ready to release your power for the greater good of Our Self. I know you originally came to protect me, but you hugged me dangerously tight, and distorted my ideas about myself and about life. You continued to grow in every part of my being to such a degree that at the sound of your name alone I became terrified. Often, I was afraid even when you were not there. Like a ghost, you began to haunt me, and I have been running down many unsafe and dangerous roads.”

Thank, Forgive, and Draw the Line

When that Fearful Child finally speaks up, it is up to you to not only listen and acknowledge it, but also to make sure you express not only your gratitude, but your certainty — that you are a Being of Light, not shadows, and now that you have come to meet this persona in the light, it is time to make sure you take away its power. But this should not be a rejection, but forgiveness. As I said to my Fearful Child, “If it weren’t for you, I would not have been motivated to find new ways of being. I can see the gift of your presence within me and for this reason I thank you for chasing me. On the dark paths I had taken, I began to see a light, like a flickering candle, which began to guide Our Self and determine our new life path. Slowly but steadily, the light is shining more brightly, making our progress surer. I want you to understand that this light is divine and will gradually illuminate every nook and cranny of our being, even the places where you still hide now. “

As I continued, “I thank you for your protection and bringing me so far. But now, I know I create my own life experiences and get to decide what to fear. So please continue to warn me of real danger, but please make sure it is not another illusion. Our self is beginning to grow beyond fear and now I know that which fears nothing is strong and serene.  It will get harder for you to find the shadows within Our Self to hide, and someday I will hardly know you even exist.” And with that, I drew the line.

End with Love

To my surprise, my Fearful Child expressed her desire to be loved, for Our Self to be happy, and respected my wishes. She said, “I am willing to do as you wish and I will only warn you of any real danger. I am willing to drop my old beliefs and release my power back to the whole of Our Self. It is time for me to allow Our Self to freely create our best life, and from now on I will do my best to encourage Our Self to move forward without illusionary fear.” And with that, I was able to tell her that I loved her, thank her for being willing to cooperate, and thank her for loving me. It was beautiful and liberating moment.

We all need to face and accept even our own shadow side, including the feelings and parts of ourselves that we have rejected, repressed or disowned.  At some point, all the personas that form Our Self served a purpose in our search for security, safety, self-worth, freedom and equilibrium. By perceiving each persona as one of our inner children, we can accept and love them. This is not only a gift to our past life, but more importantly, to our present and our future.

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