Lesson #1: Your Parents Did The Best They Could
My parents separated when I was 13 years old and eventually divorced. It first took me years to acknowledge and cultivate awareness of how that circumstance affected me and shaped how I related to myself and others. Once I finally faced the immense sadness I felt inside it took me half of my 20s to process how what I needed as child from a parent was perhaps not what I received.
Our parents are always doing the best they could with what was set as an example to them from their parents in how to be a parent and the wounds and struggles they are sometimes processing throughout their entire life. When we fight internally who our parents are this ultimately causes strife and struggle within us. It took a lot of grieving on my own to grieve for what my parents were not, for the family dynamic I would never have, and to appreciate who my parents just naturally are and acknowledge all the ways that they did show up for me in their own unique way. As adults at some point, when we are ready, we have to take responsibility to heal our internal wounds. Finger pointing ultimately does not solve anything but pushes us further away from ourselves and owning our perspective in how we processed our past.
The wonderful thing about being an adult is that we get to meet our inner child the ways we always wished we were met when we were younger. We all have an inner child inside of us. I have a picture of me roller skating when I was about 5 years old on my fridge to stay connected to her. Sometimes she is still sad and sometimes she needs my attention. In this journey in fostering a deeper connection with ourselves, we get to tell our inner child all the things they needed to hear when you were younger. So you can tell them how wonderful and amazing they are just as they are and imagine giving them a big hug and taking time to hear what they have to say so that they can feel heard, and seen, and acknowledged.
Our first form of love often came from nourishment from a parent so for the rest of life food can be connected to am I loved, am I seen, am I supported, am I heard? When our relationship perhaps does not feel nourishing with our parents or when we are not feeling those emotions and sensations in our life it is completely natural for food to then come into that space. It is when we cultivate awareness of our emotions around how we were seen and held as a child and just allow our emotions to be there without trying to change them or make them go away that our relationship with food can find a very different place in our life as we nourish and satiate ourselves emotionally.
If you have wounds around your parents, I offer this suggestion to allow yourself to feel your wounds, feel the pain, feel the sadness, feel the anger. It was in feeling these emotions and no longer pushing them down that I felt more and more connected to myself again. When we push down our emotions we disconnect ourselves from our aliveness and from accepting and embracing our human experience as is. I know it can feel intense but just like a wave does not keep getting bigger and bigger the more we feel our emotions the waves eventually crest and calm down into gentle waters once again. I want you to know I have been through that process and am completely here for you.