CORE EXERCISE: PARENT YOUR INNER CHILD
Most of us would never, ever speak to a child the way we speak to ourselves, criticising and judging and blaming.
But we were all once children, and we still have that child dwelling within us. We've generally spent our adulthood ignoring and neglecting our inner child. We have been told by society to 'grow up', pushing our inner child-like wonder, innocence, joy, sensitivity and playfulness aside. Your inner child holds onto all of your accumulated childhood pain, abuse, hurts, trauma, fears, anger, guilt and shame. The little girl still within you has been craving love and acceptance, but instead feels abandoned and rejected.
Our parents did the best job that they could at the time, with the awareness that they had. They're only human. If your relationship with a parent didn't give you what you needed, wanted or expected, now is your chance to consciously re-parent yourself.
If you have experienced a difficult relationship with a parent or guardian, you might want to write a list of what an ideal parent would look like to you. Think about what you saw in other parents that you wished you had. This may bring up hurt and disappointment; that's okay. Feeling our pain is essential if we are to heal it. Even thinking about writing a list essentially highlighting your parent's shortcomings may trigger guilt, shame and fear in you. That's also okay. Know that your feelings, wants and needs are unique to you, and you do have the right to express them and to heal them. You are writing the list as an act of self-love, not to hurt anyone. If you need to release those feelings so you can write the list, use EFT from Module 3 - Release.
Until we acknowledge and heal our inner child, we are essentially children in adults bodies - it is a hurt, terrified little girl calling the shots and directing your adult life. She feels anxious, lonely, afraid, inferior, lost and insecure, and overwhelmed at having to fend for herself in an 'adult' world without protection and support. She is emotionally wounded and deeply hurting, and needs your love, acceptance and care.
Acknowledge your inner child. Tell her - either in your mind or out loud - that she's going to be okay. You're here for her now. You love her, and you will never let her down. Tell her that she did her best; she didn't deserve what happened; you are listening to her and will look after her. Speak to yourself as you would a small child.
I recommend using H'oponopono (from Module 3 - Release) with your inner child. Tell her: I forgive you, I'm sorry, thank you, I love you. Hear her saying the same to you: she forgives you, she's sorry, she thanks you and she loves you.
Practice tuning into what your inner child needs throughout the day. Does she feel safe? Loved? What actions does she want you to take? Continue telling her all the loving things she needs to hear.
You might like to prompt yourself to be aware of your inner child throughout the day. A friend of mine actually carried a small doll around in her pocket for awhile, to remind her of the presence of her inner child. You can set a regular reminder to pop up on your phone, or carry a slip of paper with a prompt on it in your wallet or pocket. Check out the information on 'anchors' in Module 6 - Reinforce for more suggestions.
EXERCISE 2: YOUR LIFE STORY
When we think back on our lives, we aren’t watching an objective, unbiased recording of what has happened to us. Our brains are creating a story for us. Certain memories stand out, and our brains take those memories and interpret them as meaning something particular. We draw conclusions about events and about ourselves - 'This happened in my life because of person X, and that led me to situation Y.'
In this exercise, you'll take conscious control of the story your mind has been telling, to find new meaning in your past and present. While you can’t change the facts about what has happened to you you can change the way you see them and how they make you feel.
So , write down your life's story. It can be as short or long as you like.
Then look over what you've written. The details you've chosen to include are important clues. What does what you've included say about your viewpoint? What are you focusing on?
Pay attention to the tone, the words and phrases you've chosen. Does the story feel cheerful and optimistic, or dark and gloomy? The way we tell our stories plays a role in the feelings we generate from them.
Are there any themes or issues that seem to keep coming back up? Why do you think this is?
We allow stories about our past define who we are in the present and who we will be in the future. Often we have let the stories become an integral part of our identity. As a result, letting it go can be confronting and scary. Without that story to define us, we fear we will lose who we are. However, we have to be willing to let go of our stories in order to grow and heal. We must shift our perception of the experiences we've had.
Take a moment to thank the story for making you the person you are today. Affirm that you are now ready to surrender that story and let it go; that you no longer want to live out the residue of the experiences in your story, allowing them to affect your present day life.
Next, it's time to edit your story and reframe your experience, embracing what could be. Could you include more details of your positive achievements in your story? What about mentioning those people who have supported and assisted you? Is the language you've used blaming other people and events something? Can you change the wording to allow yourself to take responsibility for your part in events? If you'd like, continue the story into your future. Write down what your magnificent, abundant, joy-filled future looks like.
When I did this exercise, the life story I had written mentioned my traumas and hardships, rather than celebrating any of my wins and achievements. This was eye-opening for me, because I considered myself an optimistic person! It made it clear that I had unresolved pain to heal, and people in my past to forgive. Use the Ho'oponopono forgiveness practice from Module 3 - Release if there's anyone in your story (including yourself) that you need to forgive.
EXERCISE 3: AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE
Everything in the Universe is made up of energy, vibrating at different frequencies.
Gratitude has a high vibrational frequency. Feeling grateful raises the vibration of our energy field, elevating our mood, increasing our manifesting power, improving our life experience...
What are you thankful for? Taking a moment each day to get present to what you are grateful for in your life makes an enormous difference to your level of happiness and the speed at which you’ll reach your goals. When you appreciate who and what you have around you, this raises your vibration, which in turn, immediately begins attracting more abundance to you in the form of new positively charged people and golden opportunities that will help you reach your goals!
One of the best ways to cultivate an attitude of gratitude is to start up the habit of writing in a gratitude journal. Keep a notepad or notebook beside your bed and, before you turn in each night, take a few minutes to think of and write down 5 things that you feel grateful for that day. After just a few days, you’ll begin developing your “gratitude muscle,” and you’ll find that it becomes easier and easier to think of things you’re grateful for in any given moment!
You can be thankful for little things or big things. You can be thankful for absolutely anything...
'I'm grateful for all the fresh air that I've taken into my lungs until now. There is an abundance of air on planet Earth and I am freely enjoying it. Thank you! I love breathing! And thank you for all the food that my body has been blessed with so far. The Earth is good and kind and has nourished me greatly. I love living on this beautiful planet!'
When I'm in a funk, in a bad mood, I always challenge myself to list five things that I'm grateful for. Sometimes my inner critic will resist, protesting that 'it's stupid' and saying, 'fuck off, I don't want to'. In this case, I literally hold up one of my hands with five fingers outstretched and firmly but lovingly tell myself: "C'mon, you can do it. Just five things!", and then put down a finger for each thing I find to be grateful for. This shifts my vibration so quickly and I feel happier and empowered!
Check out 30 Trillion Reasons to Be Grateful: An Ode to the Awesome Human Body by Joel Almeida for some inspiration and body gratitude.