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Day 20. Raising You

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Connecting with and tuning in to your inner voice is about recognising that you have needs that are being unmet that you have been looking outside of you or relying on your inner critic to fulfil and of course, feeling vastly short-changed and very under-nourished at times.

The things that we look for from others, tell us a great deal about what we need to be and do for ourselves. They tell us about our needs.

You have been looking for acknowledgment, recognition, patience, kindness, compassion and more… from inner and outer critics whose only and primary mode respectively, are to be critical.

I’ve learned a lot of lessons over the last decade and a key one has been realising that I have got to be the parent and the adult for me. Sure, I have two parents but if I keep looking for them to parent me, it will just result in chaos from me doing the same thing and expecting different results. I can appreciate them and anyone else who I’ve experienced unmet needs with, for who they are, but I won’t give them inner or outer power to mess with my head.

That younger part of you that you've connected with in this process, you’ve got to parent him/her as a result of being an adult for you.

When you take up an adult role, literally and figuratively, you stop looking for others to be and do things that you are not being and doing for yourself. You take responsibility for how you want to feel and continue to feel as well as your actions and choices so all of a sudden, you are open to love. Responsible adults don’t act like ‘bad parents’ so you’re liberated from having to go to any extremes of berating or shaming you. Instead, you practice kindness, compassion, patience, tolerance. Like any parent (or adult for that matter), some days you win and some days you lose but if you continue to strive to treat you better, you enjoy the cumulative effect of treating and regarding you with love, care, trust and respect.

Parenting is about being or acting as a mother or father to someone.There are people in your life who may have been parenting figures but weren't necessarily your parents and you can be that parent to you. Consider your own parents/caregivers and any other ‘authorities’ in your life - where do you feel that they could have parented or taken care you more adequately? What are the unmet needs - the things that were the point of frustration and hurt with you? In deciding to parent those younger parts of you as part of taking up an adult role for you, you’ve got to decide what type of parent you're going to be. Big clue - you don’t want to continue repeating a very critical style…

I want to provide an environment where my children and also me - now, younger and in the future - can thrive and improve and grow without feeling like they're under a critical eye or that they're being neglected.

When I thought about, not just the type of parent that I want to be but also who I am as a person, I realised that I don’t want to live my life in a way that’s very, Do as I want, act perfectly, don’t eff up ever or else I’m withdrawing my love and support. That’s not who I am.

Who are you?

Choosing how you want to be going forward means that you stop being caught out by an inadvertent double standard.

Your inner critic has been teaching you some pretty dubious values on repeat - you’ve got to differentiate your own values from theirs.

Your values express your preferences for how you want to live. They’re about what feels good and right for you. Your inner critic’s values are theirs and represent where you’ve absorbed up some distorted lessons from outer critics and critical messaging.

If you’re not living by your values so in terms of your personal values, the ones that speak for your character as well as the values about how you want to live - how you want to conduct yourself in relationships, the types of relationships you want to have, religion, political, sexual and so on. Your values are yours not your inner critic’s to hijack.

In an adult role, you will also have to have boundaries because you’re no longer that kid anymore who doesn’t have a choice about he/she’s around or what they have to put up with. When you parent someone, in this case your younger self who is scared at times, you also have to be the parent and know a line that they are not aware of.

You have to know when to say no to you. You have to know when you’re on that proverbial ledge and acting out or paying too much attention to the inner critic and you’ve got to be willing to talk you down so that you can get grounded.  When your inner critic pipes up or even tries to go in to overdrive, you knowing your boundaries and knowing your job of calming down disruption and yes, tantrums, you have got to talk back (more tips on this in the forthcoming lessons).

Tuning in to your inner voice means that you finally get to listen and you stop disrespecting your emotional and mental boundaries.

Healthy emotional boundaries means knowing whats yours and what belongs to others- you take responsibility for your own feelings and are able to empathise without over-feeling and taking ownership of other people’s feelings and behaviour. You have a sense of how and what you feel and in doing so, you have a line that’s emblematic of your emotional rights and responsibilities. This also means that you’re able to distinguish between someone dumping on you with blame and recognising that you’re not responsible for it. In a relationship, you’re able to retain your sense of self and get close to another.

Healthy mental boundaries means knowing which opinions and beliefs are yours and being able to own these even when challenged and all while doing so from a place of respect rather than feeling under threat and attacking you, going on the defence, or abandoning your opinions and beliefs in order to be ‘compliant’. You don’t suppress your needs, expectations, desires, feelings and opinions and you don’t make people into authorities over what’s in your head.

You’re also going to have to teach you (and as a result, your younger self and your inner critic) positive lessons. Part of it is about leading by example and part of it is about sending message clear messages down the line, as I talked about in the last lesson.

What has caused you to feel insecure? I don’t mean the discomfort that comes with change but what are the things that you have done or that you have listened to that have left you feeling less than personally secure and what is it that you need to do to curtail this?

You are the one who needs to provide personal security for you - every time you give your inner critic master status, you are abandoning you.

JOURNALING: If certain things are important to you like truth, integrity, love, respect, empathy etc, it's not going to show up without contribution from you - how are you going to make sure that you are bringing that value into your life? How are you going to show you and your younger self what your values are and actually that you can be trusted, that you love and care about you, and that you have integrity? Can you see ways in which you can be more emotionally and mentally boundaried? Write these down and add as you go.

 

TASK: Think about what you can do to help you to grow. If there are opportunities that you’ve shut you off from out of fear, what are these and how can you be more open to trying these out? Also think about the ways in which you can start to provide a good standard of living for you - often people who have a very overactive critical voice within, withhold certain things out of fear of further judgment and criticism. A very common one is only buying cheap clothing or things that are on sale because of messages about being showy or wasting money.

 

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