Your Softness is Stronger than the Storm
Last year I was introduced to the concept of “reparenting” myself.
The idea is this: the people who raised me did the best they could. They used the tools, understandings and communication strategies that were available to them in each moment and, within this human process, they absolutely and inevitably fumbled. They said the wrong things in the wrong ways at the wrong times. They messed up. Sometimes in little, forgettable ways. Sometimes in earth-shattering, trauma-inducing ways. They did this over and over and over. This idea suggests anyone who has ever relied on another to care for them (aka anyone who was ever a baby… so all of us) inevitably have these scars.
Sometimes we get lucky. Sometimes we are born to loving humans, foster trusting friendships and partnerships, meet wise teachers, hire good therapists and open our hearts to others such that they know the right things to say in the right ways at the right times. Sometimes support flows from the outside in. But these moments are gifts. They are not to be expected or related to as the only source of having our needs met. To reparent oneself is to know that the only person responsible for saying the right things and meeting one's needs, is in fact, you.
For months now I have been working with Little B in my meditations. Little B is the younger, hidden version of myself who lives inside of each of my experiences. As I sit in meditation, I imagine her seated in front of me. She is the tearful 2 year old, scared of her father’s temper. She is the awkward 8 year old who feels unwanted as she plays by herself. She is the judgemental, lying tween who is trying desperately to fit in. She is the heartbroken young adult learning the depth of love lost. She is the anxious college student strung our of liquor, Adderall, and weed. Little B is all of the pieces of myself that I have tried to forget, to deny, or to turn away from.
As I write this, I trust that so many of you already know that we cannot hide from ourselves (at least not without numbing out). AND, if you are anything like me, what one knows and what one does are often in direct conflict.
I invite you to consider, what pieces of yourself have you been hiding from? What have you been denying and casting out? I invite you to sit quietly with yourself, to visualize a younger you, and to invite them to speak to you.
This is where the reparenting begins. As little you speaks, you are given the opportunity to listen and to say all of the things that you never heard before. To meet the needs that have gone unmet for years. To say things like ‘I’m sorry this is your experience. You don’t deserve this. This is hard. I am here with you. You are safe with me. I am listening. I love you.’
If you take this on you will find that some pieces of yourself hide in plain view. Some things will be no surprise. Other pieces of ourselves, the ones that have been exiled to the farthest corners of our psyche, will take more patience. More time.
If you take this on I encourage you to meet each piece of information little you offers with the essential mantra “This belongs here.” Each piece of you is essential. Each piece of you a teacher. Each piece of you, at its core, an expression of love.
For support in how to begin these meditations, check out the “Little You Compassion Meditation” from last weeks newsletter here.