Have you ever felt like the world is against you? Like there’s something wrong with you, and that the only way to fix it is to change yourself so that people will love you again. Maybe this thought has come up in your head when your parent points out your mistakes, or when someone doesn’t text back after a date. Sometimes we feel like our own self-worth relies on how other people think about us. That can lead to feeling lost, broken, and alone because nobody understands what we’re going through. When did it become okay for life to feel like an uphill battle? In this blog post I’ll share some tips on reparenting yourself – nurturing yourself back into wholeness, back into your real self-worth!
Parents have a profound influence on our subconscious while we are children.
In our childhood is also where we learn how to have healthy relationships, what forgiveness looks like, how to process emotions, and countless other habits and behaviors.
Ideally, our parents are two stable people who accept each of their children as they come and allow them to express themselves in their own unique way by offering meaningful guidance and clear expectations. With most of us being unconsciously raised, now that we are all adults it can be hard to undo the learned lack-based behaviors instilled into our little minds.
Parents unconsciously repeat the same habits and patterns they’ve learned from their parents when they become parents themselves. Each parent has their own unprocessed emotions, all of which contribute to them operating from a wounded space.
Parents can only parent from their own level of understanding and awareness.
We can only give others what we first have for ourselves.
I’ve worked with a lot of different of people from different places. Over time I’ve come to understand that most people seek help for relationship “communication problems”, destructive habits (addiction, self-sabotage), identity confusion (“Who AM I”), and generalized feelings of low-self worth.
Each of these issues can be challenging, but there are things that you can do to overcome them. the one thing they all have in common: low self-worth from conditioned behavior practiced since childhood.
Some of you reading this might be thinking “I don’t want to relive the past, there’s no reason to go back there.” Or “If my childhood is where I learned most of my coping mechanisms, I’m screwed.”
We tend to be protective and defensive around our childhood experiences, but ne of the benefits adults have when it comes to reparenting themselves is having the opportunity to heal and make new choices for their lives.
This process is called reparenting.
Reparenting yourself means giving yourself what you didn’t receive as a child.
I discovered reparenting was a game-changer for me.
I had been abandoned by my biological mother, my dad was a truck driver and was physically away most of the time, one step mother was abusive directly and the other step mother felt I was a problem for her relationship with my dad.
I recognize now, they all were doing the best they could with their level of awareness but that certainly doesn’t take away from the impact they made on my life.
You don’t have to experience something like me, you could have had two present well meaning parents and still come away with some wounding after all, we are all human and we don’t hurt others no matter how hard we try not to.
I came to a point where I realized it was time for me to do the best I could with my own evolved level of awareness and understanding.
Reparenting yourself is your personal responsibility. It takes time and commitment; there are no quick fixes. By showing up every day, you can learn to heal and forgive yourself for past mistakes that may have damaged your self-worth in the process.
Here are 5 Steps to Begin:
1. Mentally commit to the process: Yes, this is a step. It’s easy to become overwhelmed or to quit before you’ve even began. Reparenting is a process. Reparenting yourself is a process that takes time and can be overwhelming when it is done all at once. Take steps in manageable increments so you don’t feel overwhelmed or ready to quit.
2. Build trust with yourself by keeping one small promise to your yourself every day: This step should be so small that it’s seemingly insignificant. You need to choose something that sets you into a situation where you’ll succeed. For example, my first promise to myself was drink a cup of water when I wake up. I knew I could follow through with this every single day, and I still do! Some good examples are: meditate for 2 minutes, go for a 5 minute walk around the block each morning, cook one meal at home once a week, future self journal each night before bed. Time is important here: do not choose any promise that takes more than 10 minutes in total and it needs to fit seemingly into your life, no promise like I will start going to the gym and working out everyday for an hour for the rest of my life!!!
3. Connect with yourself: This is a big step! When you begin the process of reparenting, its is uber important for you to connect with yourself. Connecting with yourself is an act of self-love. All humans need love and acceptance for who they are, even if that means accepting the parts about your life which may not be so great or easy! The act of connecting with yourself is super simple, spend some quite time alone and tune into the sensations within your body. Examples are, I feel constriction in my lower back, I feel warmth across my forehead, my fingers are cold, my tummy has a rumble. Tune into your body and identify the physical sensations and speak them. It may sound silly and even feel silly and when I first started this I couldn’t find a lot of sensations but when I just sat with it, more and more awareness came and the more sensations I felt and spoke the easier I found it to feel into what is real, what isn’t and the connection and clarity I had with myself had me feeling full.
4. Be willing to ask yourself questions that lead to your need fulfillment increasing: Ask the question “What can I give myself right now?” or “How can I nourish myself today?” The last question is my favorite and I use it daily. As children, our needs weren’t always met. As adults, we have the opportunity to give ourselves what we need. When you feel yourself with unpleasant or strong emotions, ask yourself questions that lead you to discover what you need. Sometimes the answer for me is to disconnect and spend time alone, sometimes a nap, other times connection with friends. One of my favorites that comes up a lot is the need to feel whole so I go get into the sun. It’s ok if when you begin asking the question to feel confused or like there is no answer. Just continue asking. Here are some common needs to get you started: love, safety, security, respect, acceptance, desire, care, excitement, freedom, honesty.
5. Celebrate you! Reparenting doesn’t always come easy. It is an act of courage that requires you to self-love yourself first and accept the person you are becoming. Acknowledge the courage it takes, own your progress, and celebrate the person you’re becoming!
Contessa Akin is a Texas born former jet engine mechanic in the United States Air Force turned self-worth coach and author of Rebel Rising, How I went from wanting to be dead to loving everything in my head. Get weekly tips via her website.