My Inner Nurturer knows I always deserve respect and love. She helps me trust my perceptions rather than taking a vote from the people around me. She replaces “should” with “could” every time I hear it. She is deeply, unhesitatingly compassionate about my pain.
My Inner Critic has a lot to say on the subject of Inner Nurturers. “Silly. Self-indulgent. Dangerous. What will other people think?” My shoulders hunch defensively toward my ears.
Calm at the core
My Inner Nurturer helps me breathe through my defensive reaction and observe the criticism without letting it knock me off course. When I connect with being 100% on my own side, I feel settled and calm at my core, even during emotional storms.
You’re doing it right
Your Inner Nurturer may have a different name. Robyn Posin calls hers Mommy Inside. In her book The Obsidian Mirror, Louise Wisechild calls hers Carrie. Yours might be your Inner Ally, Inner Healer, or any other name you choose.
Inner Nurturers are solidly convinced that you’re doing it right, whatever “it” is. They know that you’re doing your absolute best with the resources and information available to you, and if you could do better, you would. When your back is to the wall, they open a door into sanctuary.
Your Inner Nurturer contains your self-trust and confidence about your place in the world. Our right to be here can’t be proven, only assumed, and Inner Nurturers confidently assume it.
Learning from others
Some people’s Inner Nurturers develop by internalizing the consistent, loving care they receive in childhood. Others receive abusive or neglectful parenting and develop an Inner Nurturer later as part of healing. Both as children and as adults, our Inner Nurturers gleefully adopt accepting language whenever we hear it.
A friend told me once, “Don’t go to the hardware store for milk.” It hadn’t occurred to me before that maybe no one is at fault when there is a mismatch between a situation and my expectations, just as there is nothing wrong with wanting milk, nor with a hardware store for not stocking it. Now my Inner Nurturer reminds me when I forget.
Practicing on your own
In addition to absorbing non-judgmental ideas wherever you find them, you can develop your Inner Nurturer through practice.
- Meditation builds the nurturing skills of noticing reactions and accepting what is.
- Supportive voices on your internal committee create more room for your Inner Nurturer to emerge.
- Your sensitivities encourage you to honor your own preferences.
- When you notice self-doubt, see how it would feel to support yourself 100%. What would you do differently if you trusted yourself?
Inner Critics worry
If you’re thinking that you “should” be more on your own side, and that if you were just more healed this would be easier, and that your own quiet (or loud) Inner Nurturer doesn’t measure up, you’re hearing your Inner Critic’s voice instead. Inner Critics worry about the power and vulnerability of being 100% on our own side, and do their best to protect us from it with their usual tools.
Notice your responses to your Inner Critic’s concerns. Do you shrink away, argue, tense up? Listen for your Inner Nurturer’s voice in your responses. What would someone say if they had your back? Your Inner Nurturer is right there in that knowledge of your inner truth.
From self-doubt to self-trust
When a tiny voice inside says, “I want… (something wildly new and different),” or “I don’t want… (something you’ve tolerated for years),” your Inner Nurturer celebrates the information about your boundaries. When your intuition and your feelings react strongly but “unreasonably”, your Inner Nurturer knows there is always a good reason.
Being 100% on our own side gives us a solid place to stand when someone tries to sway us with manipulation. Best of all, it interrupts the vicious cycle of self-doubt and self-justification with the sweet relief of self-trust.
Robyn Posin writes personally and insightfully about how she developed her Mommy Inside.