It often happens in my practice that a certain theme will emerge over a week or a few weeks. Suddenly, out of nowhere, 75% of my sessions will be about the same thing. When that happens, it tells me that the theme is universal and there's A LOT MORE people who also need help with that particular issue.
If you're reading this, that probably means you.
Recently, that theme is adulthood and self parenting.
You will need parenting until the day you die.
Not only that, but while your parents will hopefully provide love and support forever, you are the one you need parenting from.
We all understand that at some point, our parents hand over responsibility for us to us.
We begin caring for ourselves financially. We decide how we're going to eat. We provide our own shelter, exercise, and entertainment. We make decisions for ourselves.
Essentially, being an adult means that we're the ones parenting ourselves.
The part, though, that we don't usually understand is that being in charge of ourselves means meeting our emotional needs as well. Just like that was mom and dad's responsibility when we were young. Now it's ours.
I find that people's relationship to parenting themselves is directly related to the way their parents did it.
If your parents didn't welcome your emotions, you're unlikely to be very compassionate with your feelings.
If they were good at celebrating your accomplishments, you probably are too.
If they didn't listen to you or hear you accurately, you may not know how to access your inner guidance or trust yourself.
If they didn't provide loving words, actions, tone, and touch, you probably don't give that to yourself either.
If they knew how to have down time and connect with you, you probably know when you need rest and how to nourish yourself with alone time.
And (this one's a BIG one) if they didn't know how to attune to you and try to understand you so that they could know what you needed and offer it, you probably won't know how to do that for yourself either.
Unless you learn how to.
Parenting (yourself) is a skill. And you can learn it.
Learning how to parent yourself is very, very possible. Actually, it's necessary to living an embodied, happy, peaceful, adult life.
And the beautiful thing about it is that as we learn to offer ourselves what we need, we also heal our childhood hurts. So while there's room for feeling the pain of where your parents may have fallen short, this is your responsibility now.
Without this skill, we look outside ourselves (especially to partners) to parent us and meet needs that are actually our responsibility. So we approach the world or our partner as a boy or a girl looking for what we didn't get (or still aren't getting) from mom or dad, not as a man or a woman looking for a partner.
You can start now.
Pay attention to how you're reacting to this post. Get quiet with yourself for a moment and notice if deep down (or not so deep down) this idea scares you, excites you, makes you anxious, inspires you, or feels like a relief. Or whatever else is there.
Are you noticing any thoughts like, "Ugh, won't I ever be able to relax and be loved by someone else without having to do it for myself?" "I'm already X years old and haven't learned this yet. I'm so behind!" "How on earth am I ever going to get this?"
If you're having thoughts that sound anything like that, underneath you're likely feeling sad, scared, ashamed, or something else that could use your attention.
Now imagine that there's a little kid in the room with you and they said to you, "Mama (or Papa), I'm scared. What if I'll never learn?"
Hopefully you don't respond to them with, "Oh, come on, that's stupid. Get over it." nor do you ignore them. Hopefully, you lovingly hear their fear, help make space for it, and soothe them with your presence, touch, or just your love.
You can do the same thing for yourself.
If you can make contact with what you feel, you can learn how to parent yourself. (And if you can't make contact with what you feel, you can learn that too!)
It takes practice, but I know it's possible to learn because I'm teaching it to people every day!
What do you think? Do you agree that you need parenting sometimes? Can you see places where you're good at being with yourself and others where you're not? Will you try relating to yourself this way? Leave me a comment below and tell me about it. And be sure to check back for my response!
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