How To Free The Inner Child From The ‘Grown-Up’ Prison

How To Free The Inner Child From The 'Grown-Up' Prison

How To Free The Inner Child From The ‘Grown-Up’ Prison

Filled with inhibitions?

Crippling self-consciousness?

Frightened to surrender control to the unknown?

In my earlier years, I was taught not only are children ‘seen but not heard’ but that the natural flamboyant, free, wild child inside was embarrassing to those adults around me. So from around the age 3-4 years old, I tamed my spirit and the wildness was locked down in a ‘grown-up’ prison never to be seen again until my early forties where she made her first appearance.

I watched in awe and envy throughout my school years as the class clown made everyone laugh, free of inhibitions. I watched as friends joined the school drama class, performed in the school shows, in costume wearing someone else’s mask, playing and acting.

Much bonding was done, but I was never in the inner circle. I was left out on the sidelines looking in, shy, anxious, fearful, composed, stiff and physically closed to freeing myself.

My body felt like a prison and I didn’t know how to break out from it. I had a child inside me peering through the prison bars, wondering how to escape.

How The Inner Child Reveals It Is Trapped Inside


When the wildness has been repressed it reveals itself in the same dark emotions, physical issues and other ailments. From anger to rage, sadness to fear.

My trapped child showed itself through:

– Intense anger and rage

– Acne and poor skin

– Hormonal imbalances

– Money blocks

– Depression

Taught NOT To Shine

Many of us are taught early on not to shine, not to reveal the best of us. This could be from school trauma, parental expectations and/or societal/religious expectations. And so we dim our light to fulfil those expectations. Often they are unconscious expectations, we only become aware of them when we are ready.

Cultural Limits To Freedom

Child Playing

The child dances, plays, sings and imagines new worlds. Some cultures are naturally physically free. Fluid in their physical movements, at home in their bodies and some cultures, are not. I often find that the countries of Denmark, Scandinavia, Netherlands and Sweden people can be freer physically. In the United Kingdom and the USA and other countries, physical expression may be more repressed, adding to the deeper trapping of the child within.

In the UK we have this ‘stiff upper lip’ way of being. To let your hair down, be the sacred fool, make mistakes, fail… was allowed in certain industries, but many find this incredibly hard.

Locked in the Body

I always had the feeling of needing to be composed, control how the world saw me. I had to look like I had my shit together on the outside (even if the inside was a mess or my life was falling apart). And this caused me tension in my body and in my face and jaw. A smile became my go-to expression and it became unconscious as it seemed permanently fixed on my face.

When I started to relax my mouth (I breathe better through my mouth), people began to interpret my relaxed face as unhappy and that I was feeling challenged, when actually I was feeling more relaxed than ever before. My 24/7 smile was challenged. I love to smile naturally, but often it was my go-to protection from the outside world.

And jaw dropped was hard for me, because I was called names at school when I relaxed in that way.

The Wild Child Emerges In Private – But Being Seen Is Scary

At home I would sing, dance, play, but to allow the world to see this child – NO!

It felt impossible. Letting my hair down in public, letting others see me ‘play’ felt more vulnerable than sharing deeper more dark emotions.

Sadness, fear, anxiety and embracing the shadow was easy for me to reveal in front of others, but to reveal my light? That is a big journey for me.

And possibly the class clown may find the level of the shadow and intimate side of their nature harder than I would, but for me ‘silliness’, ‘humour’, ‘wildness’, ‘dancing’, ‘singing’, ‘making mistakes’ all took my breath away. Literally making my throat choke up in fear.

It’s hard to ‘play’ publicly when you feel scared.

How Do You Free The Wildness?

The Sacred Fool

In my 41st year, I started to say ‘yes’ to that which I had said a very loud ‘no’ to before.

It was hard, but also easy. This is the reason I feel that the child is freed when we are ready at a deep soul level (naturally freed not artificially freed through substance or alcohol).

From a debilitating phobia of public speaking, saying yes to a radio interview by Brian Green and following this by attending an intensive weekend workshop called ‘Be Seen Be Heard‘ by Adam Fotheringham where I was challenged to make mistakes and play in front of strangers, felt like I was going through a trial by fire and I said YES!

And after saying yes, something unexpected happened. The workshop and radio interview opened me up to not only a new direction but new potential too.

Ideas for the ‘new’ in my life I had placed deeply in my child prison. Those drama classes I was terrified to do became appealing to me. And I said yes to attending a weekly class.

I am 3 weeks into the class and my ‘wildness’ is still hesitant to come out, but she is slowly emerging.

Ideas To Free The Wildness

1. Say YES to vulnerability

2. Say YES to drama classes

3. Say YES to dance classes

4. Say YES to speaking classes

5. Say YES to art classes

6. Say YES to making mistakes and goofing up publicly

The reasons classes are important is because you can’t do this on your own. You need a visual reflection from humanity. People need to see you so you can face those feelings and embrace them with love. The discomfort needs to come up, in front of an audience.

Choose safe groups.

Walk away from arrogant people

You need a nurturing environment to free the child within.

Examples include:

– The Helen O’ Grady Academy (worldwide)

Five Rhythms Dancing

Speaking Circles

The ‘Wildness’ Needs Freedom

Wild Fire Dancer

If you stick to the same old routine and comfort zones in your life the child will not be freed. Take a look at your life, what in your life is feeling blocked or repressed because your wildness is held back?


Does your light need to be expressed now?
Is your wildness locked away?
How are you freeing it?
Kelly Martin
Kelly Martin

Kelly Martin, author of ‘When Everyone Shines But You’ is a dedicated writer and blogger who fearlessly explores life’s deepest questions. Faced with a decade of profound anxiety and grief following the loss of her father and her best friend Michael, Kelly embarked on a transformative journey guided by mindfulness, and she hasn’t looked back since. Through her insightful writing, engaging podcasts, and inspiring You Tube channel Kelly empowers others to unearth the hidden treasures within their pain, embracing the profound truth that they are ‘enough’ exactly as they are.

Find me on: Web | Twitter/X | Instagram | Facebook

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.