In today’s article, I’m going to be sharing what reparenting is, what your inner child is and why it’s important to free her/him, and how exactly to begin reparenting yourself.
What does it mean to reparent yourself?
Reparenting is a form of healing by giving to yourself what you didn’t receive as a child. It’s being the parent to your inner child that you always needed. It frees your inner child, which in turn frees you.
It doesn’t matter how “good” your parents were, every adult has issues of their own and raising a child is hard. Because of this, many parents unknowingly pass on messages to their children that become apart of that child’s program.
For instance, if your parent/s stressed manners and putting others first, you have likely grown up to be an adult who puts others first. You don’t even think to not do so because the program to be mannerly is running in the background.
Another example would be the appropriateness of different situations and circumstances. What roles did the men and women take on in your family? What was allowed and not allowed? What were the dominate beliefs or rules? What happened to people in your family or community who didn’t adhere to those beliefs or rules?
Children are amazing at adapting. It’s why most adults assume that things pass over children’s heads because they always look for things to make them feel better, even in bad situations. They are the masters at finding joy.
Unfortunately, as they grow up they take those adaptions from childhood that kept them safe and loved into their adult life. This is where reparenting comes in to save the day.
You don’t need to go back to childhood and get apologies or explanations. Right now, from this place, you can begin reparenting that inner child who’s still in there trying to keep you safe and loved.
You can show them that they are safe and loved without those adaptions.
What does it mean to have an inner child?
An inner child is who you were, and still are, from your childhood. Everything that you perceived and translated as a child was added to your subconscious program. This program will run for as long as you are unaware of it.
My inner child learned to be quiet, accommodating and pleasing in order to avoid strife. What did yours learn in order to avoid trouble or disappointment from the adults around you?
As an adult, my inner child is still operating inside me, pushing me to keep my real thoughts to myself, bend over backwards for others, and to be as pleasing as I can so that others will like me.
It’s very subtle, but you can begin to make the distinction between behaving from a genuine place versus the scared inner child by how you feel. Behaving how you think you should makes you feel resentful and irritated. You basically feel bad.
When you’re coming from a genuine place of authenticity within yourself, you feel good.
Another way you can tell is that when you’re operating from your inner child’s program, you are very concerned with others around you and how they’re perceiving you. The inner child is trying to keep you safe and loved, and in order to do this the inner child is constantly surveying other’s emotions in order to adjust his/her behavior accordingly.
When you are operating from your authentic self, you do not take responsibility for other’s emotions. You understand that it’s their job to handle themselves and it’s your job to handle yourself, not theirs.
How do I reparent my inner child?
Reparenting your inner child is very straightforward and simple. Yes, it takes some adjusting to but overall, I have found it to be one of the quickest, most delightful ways of reconnection with self.
It feels like coming home. Your inner child will be scared at first, scared that others are going to be sad/mad/angry, but this gives your inner child the chance to see that all is actually well even when they aren’t pleasing to others.
Try a few of these reparenting techniques and see how they feel.
1. Start really caring for yourself
You know yourself better than anyone. What really lights you up? What brings you down? What unsettles you? What could you do for hours? What recenters you?
Think about being the parent of a small child. You know so much about this child and you know what she/he needs. You know that when she’s breaking down it’s because she’s tired or hungry. You know that crowded spaces overwhelm her. So you try to give her what she needs when she needs it.
You are the parent of yourself now, of your inner child. Would you push this child to do things when they’re already exhausted? Would you constantly put them in situations that you know overwhelm them? Would you make them be around people who make them uncomfortable? Would you force them to stay up past their bedtime or not give them food that makes them feel good? Would you berate them for having negative emotions? Or for making a mistake? Would you break promises to them repeatedly? Would you hold a mistake over their heads for days, weeks or years?
So why do we do these things to ourselves? Well, because our inner child wanted to please, and that’s the tape that’s still playing. Somewhere along the way, we got the message that something was wrong with us; that if we could just be better, the ones we loved would keep loving us.
When you begin to see yourself in this way, it’s much easier to begin truly reparenting yourself. To begin deeply loving and caring for yourself in a way that was probably never demonstrated by any of the adults in your life.
Get into the habit of asking yourself this question throughout your day. What do you really need in this moment?
If you’re in a long conversation with someone but you’re tired and you’re getting a headache, in that moment you would end the conversation and go take care of yourself.
If you’re becoming irritable or low on patience, are you hungry? Do you need space? Stillness? Do you need to cry? You’ll find a lot of things out about yourself by asking this question.
Reparenting is caring about and giving to yourself as much as you can in any given moment. Without any guilt.
2. Start making authentic decisions for yourself
Is that same friend or family member asking something of you once again that you really don’t want to do? Your inner child wants to say yes so that they keep loving you, but the adult you is going to show your inner child that all is well even when you have to disappoint others.
This takes practice, but try to check in with your initial gut reaction to anything. Does it feel right for you? Do you feel excited about it? Or do you already feel some resentment just at the thought of it?
I’m not saying we all need to go out and be assholes (maybe nice assholes) but I am saying you need to stop being an asshole to yourself.
It’s okay to disappoint others. It’s okay to end something. It’s okay to not be the savior. It’s okay to not be the one everyone depends on.
Yes, those kinds of things give you assurance that no one will leave because they depend on you, but you will not have inner peace. You will not experience true joy in your life or with others when you operate from the scared inner child.
Everyone is an adult and can handle themselves. You don’t have to make decisions based on what others desire for you to do. They can desire it and they will also get over it if you decide you don’t want to do it.
This is an awesome way to show your inner child that he/she matters, that what they feel matters and that the world does not come crashing down when you make decisions that momentarily disappoint others.
3. Be a little more selfish
I did something “selfish” the other day and my inner child was soaring.
I was in a public bathroom washing my hands and had moved over to the dryer. It felt so warm on my cold hands and I was enjoying it so much. Normally I would’ve quickly left with my hands still half wet because God forbid I get in anyone’s way or “hog” something for myself, but this time I stayed.
I stayed there and dried my hands completely. No one ever even got behind me to use the dyer. My inner child was like “WHAT?! You mean to tell me my whole life could’ve been more comfortable and relaxing than I’ve let it be?!?!”
It was something so small but so huge for my inner child to not be rushed or hurried out of anyone’s way.
In what ways can you be a little more selfish? If you’re not hurting anyone else, why not?
Take the last slice of pie. Say yes when others are trying to give to you. Let the world around you delight and please you, and don’t feel bad about it.
4. Allow others freedom too
On that note, let others be the same way. Let them enjoy themselves in whatever way they choose. Our inner child judges because it’s jealous when others seem to have a freedom that it doesn’t.
But when you free your own inner child, the natural effect is that your inner child no longer feels upset with another’s way of being. Your inner child now has the freedom to be the way they want to be and loses all resentment and jealousy.
Now that you’re an adult and can reparent yourself, you don’t have to suppress who you really are. And others don’t have to for you either.
It’s honestly true freedom to come into this realization and way of living. Live and let live. Allow others the freedom you crave for yourself. Let them be.
So much happiness floods in when we show our inner child it’s safe and okay to do this. Because again, your inner child truly delights in seeing others happy no matter where that happiness is coming from, and so do you.
5. Come into the present moment more often
When you were very young, you lived in the present moment. This is when you would stand at the hand dryer and feel the warmth of it on your cold hands and get lost in the feeling. You didn’t even notice anyone else in the room.
Your soul felt true delight, love and joy on a consistent basis just from being in the moment, even when you were surrounded by low vibrating adults.
It was those pesky adults who had been taught by the pesky adults before them that you need to hurry up and get out of the way. Those adults who spent most of their waking moments either consumed in the past or the future, but never in the present moment.
Real joy is in the present moment, because that’s all there really is. When you’re living in the past, you’re resentful or regretful. When you’re living in the future, you’re worried or stressed. But when you’re in the present moment, you just are.
A technique I learned from Eckhart Tolle’s book The Power of Now to bring yourself into the present moment is to feel the energy on the inside of your body. You can start with a certain part of your body and gradually move it until you feel tingling throughout the body, as if your skin were just a thin veil covering this energy.
He said you can’t be present in your body and be anywhere else at the same time. I have been using this technique every day and finding so much pure joy and bliss in the present moment.
There is no anxiety when you’re present. No worries. No feelings of sadness. Only presence.
I think this is the presence that most children operate from, and bringing it back is so extremely healing for your inner child. You were brought out of it by adults who deemed it selfish, but you can go back there now and reclaim it for yourself.
Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed this article and found something to take away with you.
For holistic self-care tips every Sunday afternoon, you can sign up for the Dwell in Magic weekly newsletter.
If you’d like more real life examples of daily self-care, you can connect with me on Instagram.
And if you’d like more direct support and community with like-minded people, come join the Dwell in Magic Facebook group.
Jessica Dimas is the creator of Manifesting Magic with the Moon, a holistic self-care ritual bundle.