This blog is experiential, an opportunity to be mindful and observant. The tools I share here come from a meditation I use in my personal life, as well as with my clients. “Loving Your Teenage Self” is a practice I teach parents; it’s a pathway into self-care, as well as connection with your children and teens.
An Everyday Practice for Parents
Find a quiet, undisturbed place to settle in for the next 20 minutes or so.
We’ll begin with my favorite, universal practice: Stop. Breathe. Feel.
Take a few comforting breaths– whatever those look like or feel like to you.
Settle into your seat.
I invite you to observe your body, your mind, and your spirit: how are you feeling in this moment?
You might give the various sensations names or maybe you use a number from 1-10 to label your current experience. Naming feelings can help you acknowledge yourself in this very moment, and there’s no need to judge or try to change the sensations.
From here, I invite you to visualize yourself as a tween or teen. Perhaps you think of yourself at the same age your child is at present. (For example, you may wish you remember your 15-year-old self if your child is 15.) You might think of yourself at a point in adolescence that felt challenging, frustrating, or impossible. I usually go to my 16-year-old self (pictured above); the girl that was searching for validation and belonging. You may imagine yourself feeling joyful, excited, or free as a teen. Any image is the “right” image for this experience. Trust the image that comes up.
Holding this image of your adolescent self in your mind’s eye, shower them with love, kind words, acceptance, affirmations, reassurances, encouragement, forgiveness, or simply hold space for them to feel safe and secure.
You might visualize certain colors or lights surrounding yourself. You may give your younger self a hug. Perhaps you use words such as, “You are enough as you are. I love you no matter what!” Trust yourself as you get into this meditation; send love to your younger self in whatever way feels authentic and intuitive.
If you feel comfortable, I invite you to close your eyes as you meditate upon your younger self and send compassion and healing their way. As you feel ready, in several minutes, open your eyes and return to this guide.
The Power of Connecting With Yourself
Once again: Stop. Breathe. Feel.
Scan your body, check in with your mind and spirit. How are you feeling? Once again, name sensations.
Do you notice anything different? Does your body feel different than before? Has something shifted in your mind? What about your energy and your spirit?
This practice, which is inspired by Louise Hay, is one that I practice regularly on my ongoing journey to radical self-love and self-acceptance. I have been able to let go of regrets and self-hatred that I’ve held on to for years. Furthermore, this practice helps me get centered with clients and to do healing work through a lens of compassion, empathy, and understanding. For it is in relating and connecting (dramatically opposed to isolating and disconnecting) that the biggest “ahas” and transformations happen.
I share this simple, yet powerful, meditation with parents of tweens and teens for many of the same reasons. Over time, I have received feedback from parents who use this practice. One parent shared that they were able to let go of fear and worry that come from their own teenage years; they found healing surrounding traumas from childhood. Another parent shared the following: “I am better able to get in tune with what my teen is feeling. Now, I can react with compassion more often.”
A parent who uses this practice daily shared that they have been able to “let go of assumptions about what [their] teenager is doing.” While building deeper self-knowledge and self-acceptance, parents that practice “Loving My Teenage Self” are able to relate to their children and teen from an authentic place. They acknowledge the ways they faced challenges (and still do); we are all much more similar than we are different.
Time Will Tell
Like all things, this practice takes time to become comfortable with. Furthermore, it may take repetition for you to notice the effects and healing. Stay patient with yourself, and be sure to set aside quiet, alone time to do this meditation consistently. Observe shifts within yourself, as well as in your beliefs. Stay open to the ways these internal changes impact your external world, including your relationship with your child.
If you’re looking for accountability to integrate this practice and other growth-based tools into your life and your family, let’s chat! As a Child-Centered Coach for parents and teens, I work with clients to build daily routines and rituals that inspire empowered, intentional living, and I’d love to support you on your journey.