We mentioned in the earlier article “How to Cope As a Highly Sensitive Person” that when given a “good enough” childhood, highly sensitive people can thrive and live lives that are fulfilled. Even if you are not a Highly Sensitive Person, however, odds are you were still affected by your upbringing, and unfortunately in all likelihood, you experienced some negativity on the part of your caretakers as a child that impacted your ability to live your best life.
What is Reparenting Yourself?
Reparenting yourself is not about blaming your parents or finding fault in them. It’s about identifying how your inner child would need to be cared for, and providing that care for yourself. Parenting is hard, and if you are committed to your healing, you may have stumbled upon the idea that your parents did “what they could with the information they had”. This is a compassionate viewpoint, and if it resonates for you, you do not have to go against this mindset to reparent yourself. There are many reasons why our caretakers could not or did not give us the type of upbringing that we needed. On some level, you know exactly what you need. You can connect with your inner child to identify these things and give them to yourself. Reparenting is an empowering way to take control over your life and fulfill yourself from within and you do not have to make anyone feel bad for not providing these things to you as a child. It’s an exercise of self-love to fill in the gaps of care we did not receive when we were younger.
How To Begin Reparenting Yourself
So how do you begin the reparenting? As we mentioned, reparenting yourself will take reconnecting to your inner child and identifying what they need. Try visualizing yourself in a vulnerable moment from your childhood where your needs were neglected. It may help to find a picture of yourself from around this time and take a moment to connect with who you were back then. If you were neglected, at the beginning of this process you may see your younger self and respond to them the same way your caretakers did, with neglect and disinterest, but continue to connect with the fact that it is you, and you need care and attention.
Some Small Ways To Begin Reparenting
Reparenting yourself requires taking loving action in favor of your best interest. After visualizing yourself as the child you once were and connecting to that inner child, identify what they need most from you at this moment to have a fulfilling and secure life in their adulthood. You can also begin by looking at these 5 areas for guidance on what a child needs to progress into a self-actualized and independent adult.
5 Areas of Reparenting:
Security of Resources – feeling that our most vital needs for food, water, shelter, and other necessities will be received
Physical Security – a sense that we are usually physically safe from harm
Emotional Validation – understanding that our emotions are valid and okay to feel
Emotional Regulation – being able to regulate our emotional state after being triggered
Feelings of Unique Value – feeling like we are special and valuable to our world and relationships
Maybe providing these things to yourself includes:
Showing up for yourself (pulling through difficult tasks to give yourself what you deserve)
Validating your own emotions and allowing yourself to sit with them as long as is healthy for you
Developing tools to emotionally regulate in stressful moments
Addressing your negative self-talk and working through it to create a more positive view of yourself
Making promises to yourself and keep them. Start small with this if you’ve had trouble coming through for yourself in the past.
Making healthy choices for your mind and body
These are all examples of things we should have modeled or provided to us in our development, but even if we didn’t get them then, we can start giving these things to ourselves now.
Does Reparenting Work?
It might prove difficult to accept the care we want to give ourselves when reparenting because the way we were brought up makes us feel averse to loving treatment as adults if we did not receive it as children. This is very normal. Therapy can help with identifying why we might recoil from healthy, loving treatment, even if it’s from ourselves. There may be issues with limiting beliefs, “People like me don’t receive motherly love” or a tendency to self-sabotage that reinforces our negative views of ourselves, which can feel safe and familiar. Exercise compassion with yourself and remember that old habits like these die hard. You can train yourself by using small moments or triggers to hold compassion and love for yourself in your body and get used to these feelings. If you have children, you can draw on your feelings of unconditional love towards them for examples of how you should also love and take up for yourself. Keep consistent in your practice and know that the more often you exhibit more healthy actions toward yourself, the more deserving of them you will feel.
Reparenting yourself can be a fulfilling and reaffirming journey. if you struggle deeply with what you lacked as a child. You are not a bad person for being hung up on the past if you struggle with what care you did not receive from the people who were meant to give it to you when you were younger, but you are empowered to take steps to provide this love and security for yourself. Even if you had a “good enough” childhood or even a great one, reparenting could help you to feel completely seen and understood in a way that no one outside of yourself, who knows you best, could anyway. No one knows your needs and is more invested in your well-being than you, and you can use this to give yourself the best caretaker possible, yourself.
If you are having trouble letting go of the resentment you feel for being poorly cared for as a child, treatments like Ketamine Therapy, Sound Therapy, or Neurofeedback may be useful to you. These treatments can help you release rigid thought patterns that are necessary for holding onto anger and resentment from the past, and open your eyes to new possibilities and outlooks for your life to move forward. If you are interested in learning more or receiving any of these services, click here to fill out our short consultation form, and we will be in touch.
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