You can’t re-parent yourself, but you can parent yourself
While there is much talk in therapy circles about reparenting yourself, that ship has sailed. You can’t re-parent yourself. It’s impossible to go back into your childhood and give that younger you what they truly wanted. The good news is, you can parent yourself until the day you die. With enough patience, attention, and practice, you can give yourself the loving parental behaviors you wish you had received starting right now.
What would those actions look like?
What would they sound like?
What would they physically feel like?
How would they make you feel emotionally?
While there are some universal loving, supportive phrases that most people crave, there are also differences based on who you are now. These might include:
Speaking kindly to yourself.
Speaking to yourself in a soothing tone of voice.
Calling yourself by an endearing name, like sweetheart, darling, my little love, honey, pet, or anything that resonates with you.
Stroking your arm, putting your hands on your heart, or tummy, holding your own hand, or giving yourself a butterfly hug. Here’s a video of a butterfly hug:
Telling your inner parent what you’re thinking, feeling, experiencing, afraid of, desiring, or processing.
Having your inner parent say the supportive words you want to hear, whether they are encouraging, praising, reflecting your true essence, or simply loving.
Reassuring yourself you can invoke your inner parent whenever you want that unconditional love.
At first, all of this will feel forced, awkward, and unfamiliar. You may even think it’s a fool‘s errand, but it isn’t. Just imagine how different your life will be if you spend the rest of it being kind, nurturing, and supportive to yourself. You can reliably become the refuge you seek. It will take a lot of effort, practice, and determination. There will be many times when you think it isn’t working. But you’re planting seeds and when you least expect it new sprouts will break through.
This is a different form of self-compassion. In time, it will feel authentic. Even if it doesn’t become your automatic default, you will have the tools to comfort and reassure yourself that you can handle life’s slings and arrows.
Copyright Nicole S. Urdang