We have been talking a lot about self-love over at Spirit Society lately, specifically what it is and how to actually do it. What we come to time and time again, is that we need to learn how to love all the parts of our being. This is especially true for our inner child that has often been neglected and disowned. That is why self-love and reparenting go hand in hand. Reparenting is very closely associated to self-care because it is when we begin to take care of ourselves like our parents did or should have. So today we are going to talk about what the inner child is and how to begin to take control of our lives and reparent ourselves so that we can fully and radically love ourselves.
Lets meet our inner child
If anyone made it to the age of 20 without ever experiencing some form of trauma, I would be seriously shocked. Unfortunately though, most of us have experienced trauma much younger than that, usually at time when we were ill equipped to deal with it constructively. When we don’t know how to work with the pain of wounds we wind up shutting it out and locking it away. This then becomes a frozen part of ourself that we disassociate from and no longer acknowledge. However, just because we don’t acknowledge it doesn’t mean that it is no longer there. Those parts of us are there somewhere inside, stuck at the age they were when we experienced the initial wounding and they become our inner child or children.
Another reason they might come about, is that at some point we got the idea or message that a certain part of ourselves wasn’t ok. So what did we do? We pushed that part of ourselves down and pretended it wasn’t there. This is similar to a wounding in that it stays frozen at the age in which it was neglected. And we like to think that these parts of us are gone forever because we don’t want to deal with them and have ignored them for so long. But again they are always there, hanging out in our subconscious usually wreaking havoc. It is similar to Iliza’s party goblin (if you haven’t seen her comedy specials on Netflix do yourself a favor and watch them). Like her party goblin, your inner child, which you have ignored, lays and waits on a bed of teen beat magazines eating a stick of butter, waiting until he or she hears the perfect opportunity to unleash itself. It is exactly for this reason that it is important to acknowledge and learn how to deal with these parts of ourselves. Otherwise they hang out in our unconscious and reveal themselves at the most inopportune times.
Become the parent for your child
In order to heal, the first thing we have to do is acknowledge these younger versions of ourselves. I have found meditation to be the best way to do this. This is a time when we can be silent and just allow these parts of ourselves to surface. Im going to give a warning that this can be a difficult process because in order to acknowledge our inner child we have to deal with the pain that he or she has been carrying since they were wounded. A lot of emotion can come up when we finally allow ourselves to listen to our neglected parts, and just like children, these emotions can be big. This is why it is really important to be gentle and kind to ourselves during these times. You may even want to work with someone during this time to help you deal with any emotions that come up. The most important thing though, is to trust that you can make it through and that you will not feel this way forever.
Once we acknowledge our inner children we need to begin to reparent them. We need to promise them that we will begin to do everything a good parent does. We will pay attention to their needs, give them love, and guide them as the older wiser person. This may look like acknowledging that they need to feel some emotions and creating a safe space to allow them to do so instead of forcing the emotions down and deciding to go out with friends instead. Sometimes its about protecting them by not allowing them to be in the same position that they were in when they got wounded in the first place. For example, if they were wounded due to some kind of abuse, do not allow yourself to be in an abusive relationship. Or if your inner child was created because you pushed down the part of you that “talked too much”, do not continue to silence yourself. This is why reparenting is closely associated with self-care, because it is about paying attention to your needs and making sure that they are met. Whether that looks like staying in and taking a bath, making sure you get some greens in your diet, or having a night set aside to feel your emotions, it doesn’t matter. Just do whatever it is your inner child needs as long as that doesn’t look like hurting someone else.
It can be a difficult and emotional process but there is a fun side to it also. Parenting isn’t all about guidance, protection and emotional support, sometimes its about letting your child be a child. So sometimes reparenting yourself looks like letting your inner child play. It means that if you go to the beach you get to allow yourself to play in the water instead of worrying about getting sandy. It can mean that you let yourself run after the ice-cream man, play a game, have a dance party, or do a puzzle at the end of the night. What’s amazing about this is that the more you start to work with your inner child the more he or she will start to integrate into who you are today and you will begin to feel more childlike in all the right ways instead of in the tantrumy bratty ways.
I hope you take some time to get to know the inner parts of yourself and begin to take care of them. Listen to what they need and find ways to give that to them. Figure out what they need to learn and teach them. Most importantly love them with everything you have. If you have any questions or comments I would love to hear them, so feel free to post a comment, tag us on instagram, or send a private message. Until next time, much love.