So here I embark on the first step of my commitment to self-esteem growth: self parenting. Self parenting has to do with how you treat yourself and relate to yourself. It also deals with your inner conversations – approval and disapproval. In my resource for self-esteem growth, it asks the following questions: “Do we treat ourselves with genuine unconditional love, care and respect? Do we effectively nurture and nourish our bodies? Do we adequately respect our own feelings? If the answer to any of these questions is no, then we need to make a decision to change aspects of our thinking and behaviour, in order to reflect good parenting, even if it feels strange at first.”
I found a good blog post about this very subject a few days ago that outlined how to better parent oneself. The first step was to be willing and open to making the connection with your inner child, which I feel I am. Secondly, it advised the reader to consider how they were as a child – likes, dislikes, feelings. So what was I like as a child? Well I was many things. I was sweet-natured most of the time, very quiet and introverted with a big imagination. I loved writing, watching music videos, colouring and drawing. I had a comforter and I sucked my thumb. I also had great neurotic tendencies. I had eating problems. I was extremely cautious, always scared of hurting myself. I had no courage, no gumption. I was bullied on countless occasions throughout my school life, my vulnerability hung over me like a red arrow, signifying that I was an easy target. With my mother often preoccupied with alcohol and questionable men, I was overly dependent on my father who was both a source of comfort and of despair for me. He could be highly empathic and soothing and then he could be cold and callous, humiliating me and singling me out in the family home. On multiple occasions, my feelings were disregarded. I have a memory of crying in the street at a young age and my father accusing me of emotional blackmail. I also remember learning to ride a bike and falling off and crying, my father becoming impatient; treating me like I was pathetic. Because I mostly stayed with my Dad and my brother, I was the only girl in the house – and the youngest. Sometimes I was the favourite and sometimes I was ridiculed. This shaky dynamic is no doubt what caused my disposition to neurosis.
Remembering what I was like as a child already stirs in me this feeling that I need to be more gentle with myself. My inner child is very vulnerable. Once so dependent on outward approval, I now depend on myself and I need to take responsibility for that. I plan to make an active effort to not scold myself when mistakes happen at work or when I don’t make the most of the day. It is possible to reinforce good behaviour without punishment but, rather, with encouragement and compassion. I also plan to better respect and honour my difficult feelings – they are your soul’s way of telling you you need a bit of TLC or attention. Hugging yourself and sleeping with a comforter are two great ways to self soothe and things that I plan to implement this week.
Doing things you enjoyed as a child and incorporating “playtime” into your life are things that are also advised in the blog post. Initially, upon reading this I was reminded of a weird corner of YouTube I found myself in a few weeks ago after reluctantly clicking on a recommended video named Daddy’s Rules For Me. Pictured in the thumbnail was a girl and her boyfriend so I assumed the dynamic explored age-play and I was right. Delving deeper into her channel, fuelled by a disturbed fascination, I became familiar with the terms psychological regression and ABDL (Adult Baby Diaper Lover). Basically, this girl pretends to be a baby, has an actual changing table and cot and her boyfriend enables it, acting as a “father figure”. In my opinion, it’s fucked-up. The age-play is clearly a sexual thing and it appears the lines between her childhood and the current adult relationship she’s in are blurred. That’s the last thing I want for myself, so the idea of “playtime” was one I met with reluctance. However, I came up with a couple of activities that fill the criteria but won’t have me rolling around in a onesie and sucking a pacifier anytime soon: using an adult colouring book and watching a few episodes of my childhood favourite cartoon – SpongeBob SquarePants.
Next the author questions why the reader has been so out of touch with their inner child.
Probably because it hurts to be so vulnerable. It hurts to feel everything and be at the mercy of a sometimes cruel world. It is easier to close up, be shut off and dismiss things as they arise – like a neglectful parent. But as unhealthy habits pervade and low self-esteem intensifies, we find ourselves here: living a banal life, watching our passions fizzle out and never feeling satisfied in relationships. It is ourselves we are not satisfied with, our parents we are truly taking issue with and our inner child we are taking it all out on. Again. Better, then, to be in touch with your inner child and simultaneously shield her from harm with good self parenting. That is my goal for this week and I plan to follow these steps:
- Talk kindly to and be gentle with myself
- Self soothe with hugs and a comforter
- Use a colouring book and watch cartoons to incorporate play
- Eat healthy
- Be self-aware
For my next post I will evaluate how I found my week of self parenting and give advice to others looking to follow a similar path. Thanks so much for reading.
– SMUT. ❤ xxxx