A recent Being Well podcast featured Dan Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson’s wonderful new book The Power of Showing Up: How Parental Presence Shapes Who Our Kids Become and How Their Brains Get Wired. Being Well Podcast: The Power of Showing Up
In the interview, Rick Hanson talks about Showing Up from four different perspectives, one of which is being there for ourselves and healing our own childhood wounds. My work on healing trauma is very much in alignment with this approach.
It is possible to heal childhood trauma through understanding our nervous system, survival responses, and gently and courageously getting to know and support ourselves.
It is not too late to repair our relationship with ourselves. We can understand the origins and role of a mean inner critic and use mindfulness to be present and firm. We can show up for ourselves in the ways they recommend in the book.
Neuroscience research is showing that being attuned about 30% of the time is enough for a child to develop a secure attachment with a parent and that even one supportive person in our childhood is enough. We can begin to be that person for ourselves.
With our own inner work in mind, I’ve modified Dan and Tina’s 4S’s.
• Safe: As adults, we can’t always insulate ourselves from injury or avoid doing something that leads to hurt feelings. We had even less control of this when we were children. When we give ourselves a sense of safe harbor, we will be able to take the needed risks for growth and change.
• Seen: Truly seeing ourselves means we pay attention to our emotions—both positive and negative—and strive to attune to what’s happening inside beneath our behavior.
• Soothed: Soothing isn’t about providing a life of ease; it’s about developing resilience to cope when life gets hard. By consistently showing up for ourselves with kindness, we begin to trust that we will not abandon ourselves. We know we will never have to suffer alone because we are on our own side.
• Secure: When we know we can count on ourselves, time and again, to show up—when we reliably provide safety, focus on seeing ourselves, and soothe and self-regulate in times of need, we will trust in a feeling of secure attachment. And thrive!