This has been a hell of a year. I know, that’s an understatement, but it has.
This was the year that, amongst a plethora of other things, I got acquainted with my inner child.
I’d heard of reparenting and working with the inner child in passing, but never took it very seriously. Everything about it sounded cheesy and woo-woo, and honestly, I’d been disconnected from Little Me for so long that I felt nothing towards her. I squashed her deep down inside because everyone else had squashed her previously, so I didn’t see her as worthy of more. If I was so removed from my own childhood that I could not even summon up an image of my toddler self in my mind, how could I embrace, support and protect her? None of it made any sense to me.
I tried to start the work. I attempted visualizations and reparenting meditations. It didn’t feel authentic for me. As someone who was never really allowed to have a childhood, I couldn’t connect with that small version of myself and see her as a little girl who needed me to comfort and help her. I’ve never had any maternal inclinations, and ironically, I could only see myself through the same lens that my mother saw me – as something small, lacking, unworthy, frustrating, and annoying.
I didn’t like my own inner child because all I could see in her were the reasons I felt not good enough. She was an enemy, not someone to embrace and integrate. No matter how I tried, I didn’t understand how I was supposed to not only accept her, but take care of her. How could I? I still felt like a big version of the same child, a sham in the shell of an adult body.
I’ll be honest, the idea that I have to be the adult and now protect and honor that soft inner part of me is still terrifying. But I’m getting there. I’m working through it. I can’t tell you what changed except that I continued to try, I kept massaging my resistance to this healing, and I just came at it from all different angles until somehow I broke through the blockage. The journey is a work in progress. It’s not perfect, and I still sometimes resent that little girl inside me because accepting her means accepting pieces of me that I believed to be weak and pathetic.
I’ve realized that before I learn to reparent her, I have to learn to be friends with her. To see her as someone precious to be loved and defended – the way I would any other child outside of myself. I am developing love, respect, and compassion for this little version of me who didn’t deserve the shit that happened to her, but who came through it all somehow. To respect her for her strength, courage and tenacity. To respect myself.
So what if you dig in deep and start to get to know the little you? What if instead of burying that part of yourself, you bring it to the surface with compassionate curiosity for what lives deep inside you that you’re scared to revisit? What if you tell that scared, vulnerable kid that you love them and that it wasn’t their fault and that they are going to be okay?
Keeping moving forward, even when you’re completely unsure of where you’re going and what might happen. The healing journey often feels frustrating and uncertain. You’re making progress, even when it seems like you’re sliding backwards. You can get to know, and even embrace, your own inner child. They are there waiting patiently for you. They need you. You need you.
I love you. Happy New Year.