What if we offered kindness to ourselves instead of judgment? What if the inner critic’s voice was the quietest and the kind, compassion, self-assured voice inside of us was loudest? What if we could recognize a young part of us that is needing attention and avoid all of the shame that builds up when we feel needy? I have begun offering this mindful solution to my clients, I am hoping this will be a useful tool to you as well.
When you start to notice that a shame-based thought is entering your head like “I am taking up too much space” “My needs don’t matter” “I should have known better” “I will always feel alone and misunderstood” see if you can offer yourself some understanding for why that thought came about in the first place. Typically, there’s a young part in there that is feeling shame for having needs. Often, we try to muscle our way through the thought, not giving it any attention, and just wishing it away or numbing out to avoid the sadness and pain that thoughts like that inflict. My suggestion is: put your hand on your heart, take a deep breath, and offer some kindness to your inner child who may need some attention.
You can literally say out loud,
“It makes sense that you feel this way, that you’re questioning yourself and your worth, because when you were a kid you were told or shown that your feelings don’t matter and it’s selfish to have needs. What need do you want met by me right now? How can I help you rewrite the script? Your needs do matter, and I can be a part of your healing by helping to develop more empathy and understanding for all the parts of you that are here right now.” After some time and practice, the sharpness of the shameful thought dulls, and the volume of the self-compassionate thought rises.
Here’s a common everyday example:
Your household growing up was always busy, loud, full, and pretty chaotic. Your system got used to that pace. When you are alone or don’t have plans, it can be quite unsettling. So instead of blaming and shaming yourself for having a hard time resting, try putting your hand on your heart and saying to yourself, “It makes sense stillness scares you because you never experienced it while you were a child. But, I’ve got you. Stillness doesn’t have to be as scary or foreign as it once was. Let’s try something new together. I promise to keep you safe.”