picture of mother and daughter lying on back close together smiling.

Being the Steward for All the Ages Inside Us

Have you ever been at a point in your life where the same emotion or situation keeps coming back around? Or you want to move forward but can’t seem to, or self-sabotage your best efforts to change or improve?

If so, this aspect of self-development work may hold the key to what is holding you back. 

Firstly I want to remind you, as always, do get help from a trained professional such as a therapist if you need to. 

You’ve undoubtedly heard of the inner child, that young part of us we carry inside. But have you considered all of the ages inside you? Every single age up to this one. The baby, the toddler, the child, the preteen and teen, the young adult, the adult and the middle-aged person, even the retiree – depending on your age. 

I have come to think of it as being a steward to all those ages of ourselves, rather than simply containing them. 

This is a bit like the way I think of myself as a steward to my dog, rather than her owner. And if you were to ask her, she would definitely not consider herself owned – although she might say I belong to her!

So, we have all these ages of ourselves within us for our whole lives (and of course the older we get the more we have). And they have needs, which can affect us. 

For example, if we have a goal, and a younger part of our self has a conflicting emotion, we can get stuck or self-sabotage. Perhaps that part of us isn’t ready to move forward yet, or doesn’t feel heard or seen. Maybe they don’t feel loved by us enough or safe enough to move forward in the direction we want. 

In a way it’s a bit like being a parent to a large group of children and adults. Some of them will need more at certain times, and when they do, it’s important we care for them. 

Trying to silence these parts of our self or force them to change or progress before they are ready, can be lead to troubling emotions and inner conflict. 

The best way to take care of them is to have a dialogue, stay open to hearing what they have to say and give them a way to express themselves. And if they feel a need for love, attention, information, guidance or other – give that to them. The exercise below is a simple way of doing that.


Sit quietly, breathing in a relaxed way. Pay attention to your physical feelings and emotions. 

Then ask, with an open mind, is there a younger part of me that needs something? 

Wait without expectation and you may feel a part of you come forward, or even see them in your mind’s eye. 

Have a dialogue with them. Give them the space they need to express themselves, as well as the attention and care they need to feel safe and seen. 

If you want to, you can write it out. If they express specific needs you can agree on a way to meet them. 

Finally, end by telling that younger part of you that you love them and feel grateful for everything they have done for you. 

Slowly open your eyes. 

This is a short look at a big subject, so if you feel there is more work to be done here the good news is that there are a lot of resources out there. 

A final note on this topic is that it is good to remember what you needed at the age you are talking to. At 27 years old you may have needed a lot of gentleness and kindness, in which case you try to give that to her when you talk to her. Or at 4 you may have needed to feel listened to, so try give that to him. Any age that comes forward should be able to give you an idea of what they need, but it’s worth remembering that they may not all need what we think people of specific ages needing. So do keep an open mind and make sure you listen to them. I would say I don’t think any of them will need discipline or harsh talk – they are coming up because they are hurt in some way. So always be kind. 

I hope that you, and all the ages of you, enjoyed this. Be gentle with yourself.

And take care!