With Mother’s Day having just passed, I thought it would be helpful to speak about the importance of mothering ourselves.
Regardless of whether or not you have children, each and every one of you reading this has the responsibility of mothering.
Why is that?
Because each and every one of you has the responsibility of taking care of your own wants and needs.
Most of the clients who reach out to us for help through individual therapy, and even couples counseling, at our San Jose office, are all looking for help with how to feel more love in their lives and their relationships.
Through working together what we learn is, each of the individuals and couples we work with had experienced a sense that despite having fairly loving parents, most of the time there was still a sense that their needs as children were not met.
What happens then is, we begin to do the work of reparenting. Some of you may have heard the term “reparenting” before. It became popular in the 1980s and 90s with the inner child movement and hasn’t quite left the therapy and personal development scene since.
Reparenting is the work we do as adults, to help love and heal our inner children who didn’t feel like they received the love they needed or wanted as children. These hurt little children live inside your grown adult body, and if left unchecked, can wreak a whole lot of havoc in your life.
When we do the work of reparenting, we are essentially giving ourselves what we feel we needed when we were young.
Sometimes this simply looks like taking the time to hear your inner child out and acknowledging its presence. Other times it looks like holding that child and reassuring it that you as the adult will keep it safe today.
To make it real let’s use an example:
Perhaps as a child you felt you were not heard. The child inside of you today might still believe that you aren’t heard…and if left that way for too long, it can start to act out and create tantrums within you, which can then lead you to behaving in ways that seem childish or immature.
If you felt like you weren’t heard as a child, or that your voice didn’t matter, one of two things usually begin to occur: 1. You can continue to move through life believing your voice doesn’t matter, or 2. You can begin to act out in ways that demand your voice be heard…and you might do so in some unappealing ways…like temper tantrums and anger fits.
If you participate in scenario 1, then you never allow yourself to express your full depth of thoughts, feelings, and opinions. You become a doormat, and people may begin to perceive you as backboneless. As a result, people may start to walk all over you and take advantage of you…which will lead you into resentment. More on that later.
If you participate in scenario 2, then most of the time people will tip-toe around you, because they don’t want to be the subject of your wrath. You become the dragon. This leads to a life of loneliness and isolation, which will further your need to be loud, boisterous and explosive…which further perpetuates the feeling of loneliness. See how it’s a never ending cycle?
Now back to scenario 1: If you are a woman who has gotten used to being the doormat and have become resentful, watch out world, because the explosion that is likely to come will make you the person in scenario 2, where you explode and become the dragon...only to feel shameful when it’s all said and done.
The danger with each of these scenarios is, you are not allowing yourself to live your authentic life. You are not allowing yourself to express yourself as you truly wish to express. You are instead living a life where your hurt inner child is at the helm and wreaking havoc in your life.
Do I believe you want to be a doormat or a dragon? I sure do not.
Yet, does it feel like that’s what you have become as a result of the experiences you had? It sure might.
Living the life of either the doormat or the dragon, or vacillating between the two (which is what tends to happen) leads to a life of further isolation and disconnection, even when you are surrounded by people you love.
That’s why here at the Center for Soulful Relationships, we work with individuals and couples to help them become more balanced in their lives.
During our time in individual therapy, we help our clients learn how to mother themselves so they can learn a more balanced way to live.
During our time in couples counseling, we help our clients learn how to show up for themselves so they can show up with more love and kindness and compassion in their partnership.
The result of working with us: our clients feel more love, peace, connection, and joy in their lives and their relationships.
If you are ready to move out of disconnection and into connection, schedule your Get Acquainted Call today.