Friday, December 4, 2015

You're the Mama (of You)!

Only you can birth this baby. You decide what to do when she's sick or fussy once she's here. You're the mama! These words were as scary to me as a new mom as they were empowering; I share them here with you in case you need some inspiration to step up and take care of yourself- after all, you're the mama of you! 

As adults, we can't go back and be re-parented but we can parent our inner child. You decide how you respond to yourself when you're sick and tired, how you take yourself out to play, put yourself to bed, who you spend time with, etc. It's all up to you! Likewise, only you can resist the urge to do harmful things and cope safely with your worst symptoms and situations. It's all you, baby! 

I read an email newsletter about loving your inner child that did a great job explaining this concept in concrete terms. The author, Rick Hanson, writes the following...

Because of experience-dependent neuroplasticity, the things you felt, wanted, or believed as a child have been woven into your nervous system. For example, crying as an infant until someone came, joy at beginning to walk, fun with friends, feeling bad about yourself when scolded about schoolwork, power struggles with parents, wanting your body to be bigger/smaller/different in high school, wondering if anyone will like the real you, the bittersweet excitement of leaving home - whatever your own childhood was, experiences like these have sunk in to you and travel with you every day wherever you go.

Taken as a whole, these residues make up your inner child - which is not a silly cliché, but actually a large-scale system embedded in your brain that continually and powerfully influences your mood, sense of worth, expectations, and reactions. This child inside is at the core of who you are.

The holidays are a great time to practice being the loving parent we all want- someone who is safe, nurturing, and unconditionally loving. I propose you do this in simple ways, like compassionate self-talk, treating yourself to a special gift, making something by hand, weaving a connection with an old or new friend... The list is infinite and it's entirely up to you to discover what soothes your inner little being. You might start by asking how your inner child is feeling and go from there.

I want to leave you with this sweet project, Your Holiday Mom, created to help LGBTQ youth through letters of support, love, and validation but applies to anyone who may not have a safe and welcome spot in their families of origin this season. Be your own holiday mom! 

You deserve only good things and I wish them all to you...

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