Our childhood is where the subconscious mind is formed.
It’s also where we learn how we process emotions, what relationships look like, how to hold boundaries, and many other behaviors.
Ideally, our parents are two self actualized people who allow their children to be seen and heard as the unique individual they are. The reality is that we live in a culture that does not teach conscious awareness, so most of us are born to unconscious parents.
Unconscious parents are repeating the same habits and patterns they’ve learned. They’re operating from a wounded space because of their own unprocessed emotions.
It’s important to understand that parents can only parent from their own level of awareness.
We can only give others what we have practiced giving ourselves.
Some of you reading this might be thinking there is no point going over your childhood. Modern CBT therapy tends to take this view but there can be great value in doing it.
We tend to be protective and defensive around our childhood experience, but the truth is we have a unique opportunity to heal and consciously choose different behavior as adults.
This process is called reparenting.
Reparenting is the act of giving yourself what you didn’t receive as a child.
Discovering reparenting was a game changer for me.
It was not my parents “fault.” It meant nothing about who they were as people. Or how much they loved me. They were doing the best they could with their level of awareness.
Now, it was time for me to do the best I could with my own evolved level of awareness.
Reparenting is our personal responsibility. Anyone can begin the process of reparenting themselves. It takes time, commitment, and patience. But it will allow you to heal and forgive.
The 4 Pillars of reparenting are:
Discipline, Joy, Emotional Regulation, and Self-care.
1. Breathe: Yes, this is a step. It’s easy to become overwhelmed. Reparenting is a process. It’s not something that happens overnight. It’s not something that happens over a couple of months. If you try to do too much of this work at once, you’ll become overwhelmed and fall back into old patterns. Follow the steps, do not try to do too much at once.
2. Keep 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. Some good examples are: meditate for 2 minutes, go for a 5 minute walk around the block each morning, cook one meal at home every day, future self journal each night before bed. Time is important here: do not choose any promise that takes more than 10 minutes in total.
3. Tell someone you trust (other than you’re parents) that you’re beginning the process: do not share that you’re doing this with your parents. It’s not necessary, and can be hurtful to them. Remember, they did the best they could with their level of awareness and will likely become defensive if you talk about this. Reparenting is for you.
4. Use this Affirmation: “What can I give myself right now?” This is a mantra I use often. As children, we weren’t always given what we needed. As adults we have an opportunity to give what we need to ourselves. When you feel yourself having strong emotions, ask this question. Sometimes the answer for me is a bubble bath. Other times it’s to disconnect with social media, or a need to get into the sun for 15 minutes. It’s ok if when you begin asking this question you feel confused or like there is no answer. Just continue asking. It’s a practice of connecting with intuition. If you stay committed, you’ll begin to get answers.
A course of hypnotherapy can help you with this process. You can look back on scenes from your childhood with adult eyes and heal them.