Growing up with harsh criticism, perfectionistic ideals, or chaos may have caused you to develop negative self-talk.
This can be harmful to both your mental and physical health as you navigate adulthood. Negative self-talk can be impactful and repetitive when you don’t develop behaviors to replace the habit.
Your mental health and physical health can also be impacted when you didn’t grow up with loving parents or didn’t feel loved as a child.
As a result, it may be difficult to feel secure and loved as an adult. Though it may feel like someone else should rescue or care for you as an adult, this is actually not anyone else’s responsibility but yours.
You can surround yourself with a community of caring people as you love yourself. In fact, most times this can be done at the same time for the maximum benefit.
Good parenting can start with you whether you have your own child or not.
When you have childhood wounds that continue to be recreated in your adult life, it may mean that developing a loving parent within yourself is a next step.
If your own parents weren’t an example of good parenting, you may still have a family member that showed up for you. No matter what, your self-talk can be impactful in your day-to-day life and establishing a loving parent within can help how you talk to yourself.
It may feel silly initially to think of yourself as your own parent, however, it is also a way to heal and grow emotionally.
If you have children, you can parent them as you parent yourself. This doesn’t have to be done separately. If you don’t have children, think about what you needed and wanted as a child. Then, create habits and strategies that help you get your own needs and wants met as an adult.
Identifying an inner child within you is part of developing a loving parent toward yourself. Every person has an inner child even if it may feel difficult to connect with them.
Sometimes, reparenting yourself can be painful because there may be gaps of grief where needs and wants weren’t met.
It’s okay to feel this way and still help yourself through the process. Seeking out professional support, like inner family system therapy, can help.
Reparenting yourself can be tough, and here are 5 ways to become your own loving parent:
1. Listen to yourself.
You may be giving yourself messages all of the time, depending on your level of self-talk. It is normal to do this, and how you talk to yourself matters.
Read More: “Five Truths About Self-Love: The Benefits and How-Tos”
If a tiny voice wants to go outside for a walk, and you have space in your day, honor that voice. If you don’t have space in your day, set a time when you can and fulfill the promise to yourself.
The more that you listen to what you truly need instead of what you think you may want, the more developed your loving parent becomes.
Even when it is challenging to meet your needs, fulfill those promises as much as you can.
2. Identify what you loved to do as a child.
Ask yourself what you loved to do as a child, and experiment with it. This is part of navigating how to have fun in your life.
There are very serious moments and it doesn’t all have to be joyless. Greet your inner child with care if you are able.
You can experience love for yourself by enjoying activities that were important to you as a child. If you are unsure, creativity is a great place to start.
Think finger paints, coloring, cooking, blowing bubbles, and anything else that sounds delightful.
You may find something that feels silly, and you may find something that you love long-term. Both are valuable bits of information.
3. Seek to feel awe and wonder.
When you are a young person, one of your favorite words may have been why?
Staying curious can help you to stay out of judgment toward yourself and others.
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When you are in awe of your surroundings or something within you, you can begin to feel wonder and take perspective of the world outside of you.
Part of parenting is to give yourself different experiences that feel safe so that you can learn how to navigate them when circumstances feel trickier.
Practice in safe spaces with perspective taking so that you can stay true to yourself and your values.
When you get curious about ideas, beliefs, and what things mean to you, you can develop open mindedness and stay willing in the way you approach life.
Often, nature is a way to tap into awe and wonder.
4. Develop self-discipline.
Holding boundaries is part of loving yourself.
You deserve safety, and boundaries can help establish security within relationships and yourself.
Part of unconditional love is to be self-disciplined because you are committing to promises no matter the circumstance. It may feel difficult to set and maintain boundaries, and they are part of self-discipline.
When you feel yourself making impulsive decisions with food, love, shopping, or relationships, this may be a signal to develop self-discipline.
Hold yourself accountable through food prep, waiting 72 hours to purchase something online, texting someone immediately, or creating unnecessary chaos in your life.
You may want to get a burst of power through an impulsive action and creating self-discipline can help you to be a loving parent toward yourself when this happens.
5. Take care of your basic needs.
Before you respond to a situation, think about how you can meet your basic needs.
Read More: “5 Ways to Self-Nurture”
Part of being a parent is to take care of yourself with shelter, food, and identification of emotions. A popular Al-Anon slogan is HALT. If you are hungry, angry, lonely, or tired, chances are you will be more reactive than responsive.
To be a loving parent, it is necessary to think about how you can create safety for yourself by ensuring you have a place to live, food to eat, and people who make you feel secure.
You may need to be preventative in order to establish these needs for yourself.
You won’t be able to control anything outside of yourself, and you can start to build safety and love within yourself.
Becoming your own loving parent can be a full-time job, and you are worth the effort. By being preventative and creating self-discipline, you may discover that joy, awe, and wonder come easier to you.
Joy is a vulnerable emotion, which is why safety within yourself can be imperative. How you talk to yourself and the way you show up for yourself each day are loving steps to becoming more regulated in reactive situations.
When you feel lost or imperfect, affirm that you are doing your best. Seeking therapy with a loving, safe therapist can help you to establish a relationship within yourself.
Part of parenting may be to acknowledge when you need help, and that is okay.