"Your parents did the best they could (and still are)." For many, this statement is a difficult one to grasp. Especially if one's childhood was not ideal (for most people, this is the case).
Folks oftentimes argue that their parents "should have known better." Sure, we could all "know better" if we are given the healthy resources and tools. However, a lot of parents (especially the older generations) have used the skills they observed from their parents, or they did the best they could to parent on their own, for instance, if their parent(s) were absent or abusive.
What if it is to our benefit to have had parents that did the best they could? What if we were supposed to realize and embrace that we are each the evolved version of them? If you have your own children, what if they are the evolved version(s) of you?
This is a really beautiful concept; after all, we each have the enormous capacity to evolve into amazing, bright, glorious spirits as a result of our parents best and very human efforts to teach us. Even if the lessons are challenging and extremely hard.
Indeed, some lessons we learn from our parents (and even our entire family) seem harder than others. However, what we do with the lesson is truly up to us. We can follow in their footsteps, or do the complete opposite.
If we came from a dark and painful upbringing, wouldn't it behoove us to shine as brightly as we can, reminding our inner child that we are safe, ok, and that what we presently feel is just sensation from our past?
Our inner children indeed still live inside of us reminding us that they are here through primal reactions, often times triggered by the words and actions of our loved ones.
Therefore, we must parent ourselves (or as I often say, "re-parent" ourselves). We must hold our own hand and reassure that little girl or boy inside that they are ok. They are perfect just as they are in this moment, and the shame that they actually carry is not theirs to hold onto.
If you started today to (re) parent yourself, to hold your own hand and reassure your little 5-8 year old inner child that he/she is truly ok, that you are protecting him/her from harm and loving them the way in which they deserve, how might your interactions with yourself change? With others? I realize this may seem foreign, scary, even awkward. However, I encourage you to do this exercise.
Some of you may feel like you do not know how connect with your inner child. If this is the case, find a picture of you when you were 10 or younger (the younger the better). Write a letter to yourself at that age, asking him/her various questions. What would you want to know about you if you just met? His, her age? Favorite color, greatest fear and hope, etc., etc. Then switch hands and using your non-dominant hand, and let that little child inside of you answer.
Watch what happens! This is a very powerful exercise that many people are too scared to do. It will reveal SO much amazing information about that small you that lives inside, waiting to be heard, waiting to be set free.
I would also encourage you to find things that you love to do that are spontaneous, healthy risk-taking (void of any addictive behavior), and playful. What would you LOVE to do that you don't allow for yourself? Children are amazing at play, pretend, being free, trustworthy, open. Where did these attributes in you go? Are you willing to recover them if you've lost them in adulthood?
In time, if you make a concerted effort to connect with your inner child (I suggest daily), you will learn how to parent yourself in a more loving and healthy manner. This will in turn assist you in parenting your own children, and if you don't have any children, then your pets, or other loved ones.
Remember, you are SO worth it.