I’d like to begin with a relevant thought, which is based on this tweet I posted recently:
Our inner voice tends to speak to us like our parents did.
For most of us, this retraumatizes rather than supports
“If you want to be happier, make sure your inner voice speaks to you like the parents you needed, not necessarily the ones you got.”
In therapeutic circles, this process of updating your inner voice is called reparenting.
So often, our inner critic is an internalized negative parental voice, or a falsehood we made up about ourselves due to non-nurturing childhood experiences.
As we grow up, before we become conscious of our programming (and often even after we do), we continually rewound ourselves.
So instead of just 17 years of negative parental messages, we end up with additional decades of reinforcing those messages to ourselves.
The brain eventually gets pretty locked into this way of habitual thinking and it isn’t easy to break the pattern.
So one way to look at reparenting is that you’re taking years of negative messages and untruths, and replacing them with a few months (and ultimately a lifelong habit) of positive messages and truths…
Eventually, your brain starts to rewire itself. The conversation in your head begins to change, and so does your whole experience of life. It’s as if you’ve removed dark glasses and can finally see the beauty, vibrancy, and truth of the world – and who you really are.
But healing doesn’t begin here. It takes a while to learn about what parents we had, what parents we needed, and how to be those great parents to ourselves.
The first step to becoming a better parent is: Awareness.
This is what happens on the first day in my high impact coaching group. Often, people who’ve already done years of work on themselves, are shocked by how much they learn about themselves in just one session.
The second step is Understanding. This requires zooming back to truly realize that these externally programmed behaviors are not you and not about you.
This part of the process often leads to huge lightbulb moments, and sets you up for the third step:
Releasing. Our issues arrived not intellectually but emotionally. So an intellectual understanding of your issues is not enough. It’s just conscious incompetence, until you do the emotional healing work that requires experiential exercises and intensives.
Only then can we truly and deeply engage in Forgiveness (not just of others but also for all those years you weren’t kind to yourself).
Then we are ready for the fifth step of replacing unhealthy beliefs and behaviors with healthy ones. And this is Reparenting.
It’s not a task, it’s a journey.