Reparenting ourselves requires us to take responsibility. It involves taking proactive steps to consciously create a safe space for ourselves; one where we can be exactly who we are and also support our personal growth.
In my journey of reparenting myself, I had this massive realisation: while I was allowed to grieve certain things that were missing when I desperately needed them, I also now had the tools and techniques to give those things to myself. All of us have a fair second chance to create a strong, supportive and nurturing foundation for ourselves that’s in alignment with the kind of person we want to become and the kind of life we want to live.
As you read through the list below, consider making a note of things that resonate with you. Something that you know you really need to do and have been putting it off. From my experience, it’s never too late to start working on becoming more loving and developing self-compassion. I invite you see what speaks to you and then figure out how you can make space for it in your life.
25 transformational ways to reparent yourself
1. Allow yourself to be child-like once in a while
No, honestly, when was the last time you just let yourself do something without worrying about what someone else thinks of it? When did you allow yourself to just wonder about the most random things on this planet?
2. Acknowledge your painful experiences and validate them
You need to let yourself feel the pain of your past wounds and really sit with it. Perhaps some parts of your memory might have faded over time but the feelings you felt then are still lingering in you and need to be acknowledged. Tell yourself that your experiences are valid. You weren't imagining it. It wasn't your fault. It happened and it was awful. Learn to validate yourself like you would a kid.
3. Teach yourself how to communicate clearly and kindly
A very small percentage of us grew up learning how to communicate with ourselves and others. As kids, we pick up on how people around us communicate within themselves and with us, and it's often not the most effective or loving.
4. Learn how to draw healthy boundaries
How often does it happen that parents sit with their kids and teach them how to draw healthy boundaries? If you were taught the concept of boundaries by your parents then I'm surely happy for you. But if you weren't, it's not too late at all. There are so many resources available these days about how to set boundaries and stick to them.
5. Figure out ways to constructively process strong emotions
This is a big one. Strong emotions are scary and if you don't know what to do with them, you'd most certainly fail to tune in to the wisdom of these emotions. Most parents teach kids how to amplify "good" emotions and distract from the "bad" ones in order to protect them. Unfortunately, as we become adults, we realise that sorting emotions as good and bad doesn't necessarily help us process them. We need to find ways to really feel and move emotions like fear, grief, anger, guilt and shame out of our system.
6. Ask for help where you need it
This is straight-forward to understand and yet so many of us find it challenging. Trust me when I say this: you don't need to do everything on your own. It's okay to ask for help. We are interdependent creatures made to give and receive help. It doesn't make you weak.
7. Embrace your imperfections
How often have you heard your mother or a women in the family complaining about her body? Too often, yes? And now, how often do you hear yourself say really mean things about your body and wish so badly that you could fix it? Too often as well? Reparenting yourself involves working on acceptance of who you are. The whole of you.
8. Shower yourself with really loving words
This links to my #3. Spend some time really becoming aware of how you speak to yourself when you make a little mistake or don't complete a task on time. What do you say to yourself? It might take a while for the mean voice in your mind to lose its power but it's time you started on taking its power away.
9. Permit yourself to be who you are
This doesn't need much explanation but really, can you for once allow yourself to just be who you are without obsessing over changing and trying to fix things you don't like about yourself? How does it feel when you just say to yourself, "This is who I am. I am enough. I am whole and complete."
10. Explore your own belief system and core values
Spend some time asking yourself what your core values are and what your personal belief system looks like? Are they exactly the same as your family's or do you have your own set of beliefs? How do you feel about them? Allow yourself to explore what works for you and what doesn't without restriction. You might uncover deep truths about yourself.
11. Discover where your passion lies
This is pretty clear too. If you are someone who never had the opportunity to explore where your heart lies, now is the time to discover what speaks to your heart. Let yourself explore and wonder about and try different hobbies and actives. See what's out there calling for you.
12. Find out your personal triggers and taking responsibility
When we get triggered, we tend to blame those around us for making us feel a certain way. We expect other people to make it okay, to make us feel better. Were you taught how to create space between what you feel and how you respond? Do you know what it is that really triggers you and why?
13. Speak your truth even if it's scary
Speaking your truth can be frightening and so is the vulnerability that comes along with it. You will come across situations in life where speaking from a space of vulnerability is going to feel utterly uncomfortable and scary but learning to do it anyway is what will bring you a sense of freedom and confidence to be exactly who we are.
14. Show up for yourself before you show up for the world
Showing up for yourself means showing up for what you believe in, for what you need, what your desires, for your health, for your development, for your growth, for your responsibilities, for what brings your freedom.
15. Cultivate healthy habits and daily routines that are stabilising
Ask yourself where you want to be a few years down the lane. This is where you are today and that's where you want to be -- how will you get there? What are the steps involved? What's the next best step? What would you like your day to look like? Take the time to figure this out.
16. Become proactive about your dreams and desires
A lot of us are brought up with only the future in mind and so we grow up constantly chasing things and never really let ourselves become present. I've learnt that our bodies are wiser than our minds. Get into your body and out of your mind. This is where you are today.
17. Practice ways to become more present and grounded
A lot of us are brought up with only the future in mind and so we grow up constantly chasing thing and never really let ourselves become present. I've learnt that our bodies are wiser than our minds. Get into your body and out of your mind.
18. Affirm positive thoughts
Repeat positive, uplighting thoughts to yourself over and over again. Acknowledge the crappy ones and affirm the positive ones. It's takes practice.
19. Engage in relationships that are truly supportive and nurturing
This is such an important point. When we grow up dysfunctional families, our ability to discern between which relationships add value to our lives and which ones take away from it can become a little weak. Work on consciously engaging only in those relationships that are supportive and energising. Those that are in alignment with who you want to become.
20. Develop an attitude of gratitude
I personally feel that developing an attitude of gratitude requires a lot of practice. It doesn't just magically happen. I know how difficult it can be to find a reason to be thankful for when you're really suffering and yet I say that slowly practicing ways to find things to be grateful for in your life will bring in light.
21.Redefine your relationship with money, wealth and abundance
If you grew up in an environment where money was an issue or if money "created" an issue, it is likely that you have some preconceived ideas around it and that's understandable. However, unlearning limiting beliefs around money is the first step in establishing a healthy relationship with it so that you don't function on an old programme that doesn't serve you any more.
22. Work through forgiveness of self and others
As much as I believe that forgiveness is an integral part of healing and recovery, I also think that forgiveness takes some time. You need to consciously work towards it but you cannot force it to happen, especially in context of deep wounds, abuse and trauma. That said, if you're working on reparenting yourself, it's really useful to learn tools that can help you work through forgiveness.
23. Appreciate 'being' as much as or more than 'doing'
Perhaps your parents only gave your attention if you did things and never valued your presence and so you grew up with the idea that you are nothing without doing something. Remind yourself that your worth is independent of what you do and how much your earn. You are worthy and you are enough just the way you are.
24. Let yourself rest and take breaks
Learn to tune in to your body and mind and let yourself rest when you need it. There is no shame in going slow, taking things one thing at a time, and pausing every once in a while to recuperate and energise.
25. Invest in your ongoing personal development
Attend that workshop. Sign up for that course. Get yourself that book. Seek help if you need.
Invest in yourself. Invest in your future self.
There! These were the main points I had written down in my journal over the last few years of my journey. I'd love to know what you think!
What does reparenting yourself look like to you?