So, like a forgotten fire, a childhood can always flare up again within us. ~Gaston Bachelard

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A young blogger once asked me “what should I settle now before I get married?”

My answer to similar questions is this: release hurts of the past and love your inner child. I told her to resolve and release hurts of the past especially unresolved issues with parents…it is important to nurture one’s inner child even until our adult life.

No matter how old you are, a little child lives within who needs love and acceptance. My mother died just before I turned twenty years old and I was never able to let go of my hurts until much later in life when I thought I had breast cancer. While waiting for my surgery in 1996, I felt the fear and anxiety that mom had to go through with her breast cancer. I told mom in my heart that I forgave her for all the hurts that she inflicted upon me and sought the same forgiveness for anything that I had caused to hurt her. The tears just fell and I felt a baggage unload from my heart.

I understood much later in life that unresolved hurts tend to haunt you back in future relationships. Reflecting down memory lane, I think I was attracted to my ex-boyfriend because his personality somehow resembled my mother. My mother was difficult, emotional and hot-tempered. Of course, I didn’t want a difficult husband but unconsciously I ended up with one, at least in the first few years of our married life.

See, my mother rarely praised me or validated my self-worth. She wasn’t even loving or at least she was not demonstrative with her love except to our youngest brother. Instead, she continually criticized and berated me and even indulged in slapping and pinching even if I was already in high school. She didn’t know any better too. I found it difficult to understand why she was so mean to me. Now that I am an adult, I know it was not about me. She had problems but turned her ire on my siblings and myself.

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I learned the art of loving my inner child after I realized that there were many aspects that were left unresolved. As a child, when something went wrong, I believed that there was something wrong with me. Soon the idea came that if I could only do it right, then mom would love me, and she wouldn’t punish me. Since I was only a child, I thought parents were supposed to do that. In time, I believed I was never good enough. Sadly, it was only after my mom’s death that I blossomed under the love of my dad who was a silent parent when mom was alive.

Without a mom and far away from my dad (since I became independent after college), I learned to summon my the parent inside me. True, there is a parent inside each of us, as well as a child. Louise Hay explains :

And most of the time, the parent scolds the child almost nonstop! If we listen to our inner dialogue, we can hear the scolding. We can hear the parent tell the child what it is doing wrong or how it is not good enough. We need to allow our parent to become more nurturing to our child.

I have found that working with the inner child is most valuable in helping to heal the hurts of the past. At this point in our lives, right now, we need to begin to make ourselves whole and accept every part of who we are. We need to communicate with our inner child and let it know that we accept the part that did all the stupid things, the part that was funny looking, the part that was scared, the part that was very foolish and silly,┬Łevery single part of ourselves.

Love is the greatest healing power I know. Love can heal even the deepest and most painful memories because love brings the light of understanding to the dark corners of our mind. No matter how painful our early childhood was, loving our inner child now will help us to heal it. In the privacy of our own minds we can make new choices and think new thoughts. Thoughts of forgiveness and love for our inner child will open pathways, and the Universe will support us in our efforts.

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It was through forgiving my mother that I was able to unburden the past and move forward as a parent to my children and as a loving wife to my husband.

If you’re a woman, no matter how self-reliant you are, there is a little girl who’s very tender inside you that needs help. If you’re a man, no matter how macho you are, a little boy inside you craves warmth and affection.

As I said earlier, if you plan to settle down, resolve the conflicts of the past. Learn to forgive yourself and the one who hurt you. Continue to nurture and love yourself.

These days, I embrace my inner child by treating myself once in a while to fun events, ice cream, candy or a new toy (er gadget). I allow myself to laugh and play more.

Use the affirmation: I am perfect, whole, and complete, just as I am. The more you repeat this statement of truth about yourself, the quicker you will release the past.