I want to address how to love and re-parent yourself.
Believe it or not, the most healthy, intimate relationships begin within ourselves. Within our own internal psyche, with how we define, understand, honor, and connect with our true nature.
Our true nature is the part of us that is free of ego, free of insecurities and unhealthy attachments. It is rooted in our natural capacity to love ourselves and others fully. It allows us to be engaged with the world around us with awareness, curiosity, and equanimity.
Many of us are disconnected from our true nature. There are multiple, varied reasons for this. Today, I want to focus on one of the main reasons: not having nurturing parents or caregivers.
Essentially, if this was part of your experience growing up it is likely that you did not have people in your life who helped you to see your own innate goodness, or who modeled for you that mistakes were part of learning, and who believed in your true nature.
Many of us did not have people who taught us that our worthiness to be loved did not rely on how we behaved, or the grades we got in school, or the sports we excelled at, or our physical appearance, but because of who we were in our truest, deepest heart.
If you can relate to this, then it may also be true that even today you do not value yourself beyond your accomplishments, or your material success, or your physical appearance, or how well your own children are “performing” in the world.
And it may be true that because you still do not value yourself from deep within, your marriage is suffering.
In order to heal from our own feelings of unworthiness and the suffering in our marriage, we need to learn how to cultivate love, compassion, and tenderness from our most vulnerable parts. The parts that have been hurt by others, or misunderstood, or convinced that we have to be “perfect” in order to deserve love.
Tara Brach refers to spiritual re-parenting as the tender, nurturing response we can offer to ourselves and others that allows us to begin to receive and give love with a wide open heart.
She states that spiritual re-parenting occurs, “as we learn to bring interest, understanding, and love to our own inner vulnerability. This process of healing extends to our relationships with others and our larger society – by reaching out to widening circles with interest and care, we bring increasing harmony and peace to our world.”
So as always it begins within yourself. You can start today to parent and nurture and love yourself. Be kind, be compassionate, be curious and ask yourself “Where does it hurt?”
And when you contact the hurt parts of yourself, respond as if you were the most nurturing, loving parent ever. Do not judge, criticize or shame yourself. Instead, embrace the vulnerable, hurting human within you that desires only to be truly, deeply and fully loved.
As you do this, more and more, you will also be able to give that to your partner. The love you extend to your partner will come from deeply loving yourself. It will be powerful, strong, authentic and transformative. It will be gracious and forgiving; patient and kind; respectful and supportive.
And it will start from deep within you. It will unfold more and more as you commit to a daily practice of self-compassion and re-parenting.
As you learn how to honor and love yourself, and accept that you are worthy of being greatly loved and capable of loving greatly, you connect to your true nature.
As you connect to your true nature, you are free to live your best and most authentic life, as well as being free to create a deeply intimate bond with your partner.
I encourage you to start today. Give yourself the love you deserve. Tenderly respond to your own feelings and experiences and then observe how much this clears the way to create even more love within your marriage.
Peace in the Journey,