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How To Accept And Love All Parts Of Yourself with Jenna Riemersma

  • Have you ever felt a surge of anxiety or fear or anger that feels out of balance with whatever just happened?
  • Do you  feel things you don’t want to feel? Or do things you don’t want to do?
  •  Do you struggle with critical self talk that take overs and no matter what you do you can’t seem to break free of them? 

In this episode, Jenna Riemersma shares how to move towards healing and wellness and begin to break free and heal with Internal Family Systems Model . IFS helps us understand why we do things we don’t want to do and feel things we don’t want to feel: because we have different parts inside of us that are at war. 

Jenna is the author of the best-seller, “Altogether You, Experiencing personal and spiritual transformation with Internal Family Systems therapy,”  a Harvard-educated innovator, therapist, and bestselling author who is making emotional wellness accessible. By bringing together the best of cutting-edge neuroscience and clinical treatment, she’s created a dynamic paradigm shift from mental illness to mental fitness. In fact, Jenna has pioneered a simple three step process that anyone can use to reduce suffering and increase wellness. She believes this proprietary Move Toward™ approach is THE answer to todays’ skyrocketing rates of overwhelm, anxiety and depression.

Listen below or scroll down to read the full episode transcribed, if you don’t have time.

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Where to find Jenna:

Her website: https://jennariemersma.com/
Her book: 
Altogether You: Experiencing personal and spiritual transformation with Internal Family Systems therapy
Her Free Course: 
Unlock Your Inner Parent Superhero
Resources 

 Sheryl 

Well welcome, Jenna, to The Moms of Tweens and Teens podcast. So happy that you’re here.

 Jenna

Thank you, Sheryl, I’m so glad you invited me, it’s a treat to talk to you.

 Sheryl 

Well, I am so excited to talk about your book “All Together, You.” I’m going to hold it up for those that are watching the video on YouTube or on our page. “Experiencing personal and spiritual transformation with internal family systems therapy.” Now our listeners probably don’t know what that’s about. But they are very shortly going to understand why this is so important and why your book is so powerful.  It is such a powerful concept and probably the majority of our listeners don’t know what it is. 

I learned about it through my training but also through my friends that were spiritual directors. My friend gave me your book. And so when I told her I was interviewing you, she – at the end I’ll ask her questions – she was like “oh my gosh, she said yes.” I mean we’re both so excited because we talk about your book all the time. She does some spiritual direction sessions on me when we’re just talking as friends when I’m struggling, she’ll take me through some of the exercises to really get down to what’s really going on. We can call it a content process. So we can be up here on the story, as my kids back talking me and it’s so upsetting. But then, when you get down to what’s really going on? There are those messages of “I’m a horrible mother, you’re never supposed to talk back.” That’s because I grew up in a home where that was not okay.  

All those voices are screaming, underneath the surface that we act out. And so that whole concept – I think we’re just trying to fix the top of the problem or we’re never really going to get to it unless we get underneath it to see what’s really going on so. So why don’t you, because you’re the expert, explain IFS: Internal Family Systems.

 Jenna 

I would love to. On the one hand, is very simple. And then as soon as we start peeling it apart, it gets very complex. So I’ll try to go with a really simple approach. 

The idea is that a system is a group of people or objects that influence one another. And the idea is that inside of us, we have a system of different parts, and they influence each other. And that just intuitively makes sense to me. Because there’s a part of me that wants to eat the whole bag of Oreos, and there’s another part of me that wants me to eat kale and go to the gym. And those two parts have very different goals and objectives and kind of even personalities inside of me. And they don’t really like each other very much. 

And that creates a lot of conflict inside of me, that’s very different than our typical view of who we are as people, which is monolithic.  When we have a monolithic view of ourselves, that we are just one entity, then we tend to over-identify with the things that we do and the things that we feel. So we say things like “I am an addict” or “I am a bad mom” or “I am depressed, I am anxious, I am controlling”, we over-identify with a feeling or behavior that just one part of us is carrying.  

So the internal family systems approach tells us that we have an internal family inside of us a system of many different parts. And so we have our core self, our authentic self and that is always with us. It is always positive and it is always healing and it contains the “8 c” qualities: calm, curious, connected, courageous, compassionate, creative. And then I never can remember the last ones, but “8 C” qualities that are always there.  But we often don’t have access to that, because we have different types of parts that tend to take us over. And there are really just three different types of parts that we need to know about. “The exiles” are the parts of us that we try to exile, those are the parts that carry our pain and our wounding from traumatic experiences in our lives. And then we have parts that try to protect us from the feelings of the exiles-

 Sheryl 

Which could be Oreos, right? Or alcohol.

 Jenna

Absolutely, or anything, overworking over-exercising, people losing control all the things.  And we’ve got proactive protective parts, those are called the “managers”, they try to prevent that pain of the exiles from getting triggered. And then we’ve got reactive parts. And those are the ones that jump in and try to put the pain out when it does inevitably get triggered. And those are called “firefighters.”  

And so really, we just have this core self, exiles, managers, and firefighters. And when we look through that lens, every single behavior and feeling that we struggle with or that our kids struggle with makes complete sense and gives us a much more effective way to approach it, to de-escalate it, and help it to heal.

 Sheryl 

Okay, wonderful. I want to, for our listeners, I want to kind of think of an example. So most of the listeners have tweens and teens. And I think that this is really tough like we talked about before we jumped on here. Because you start losing control like they get older, and you can’t control them very much. And I found for myself, that’s when it all came out. It was like I was good. At least I thought I was I was doing okay, and so my oldest hit like 9, 10, and 11. And then it was interesting because I had panic attacks as a kid starting at about 11. They came back when my daughter turned 11. And it was triggering all that old, unfinished business that I had that I hadn’t dealt with. So can you think of an example where that might be happening when you’re parenting? Where are these different parts coming out? So they kind of get an idea of the concept we’re talking about?

 Jenna

Absolutely so first of all, kudos to all the moms of teens and tweens. My kids are a little bit older now they’re in their 20s but these are not easy developmental years and also these are not easy times to be having children in difficult developmental years. So my kudos – my heart is so with all the wonderful moms who are parenting right now.  I have a really easy tool to help you check in to see if you’re in a part or if you’re in your core self. And the shorthand is we’re gonna parent more effectively when we’re in our core self. So the question is when I’m thinking about this situation if maybe my child back-talking or not doing their homework or wearing something I don’t approve of, or whatever it might be. The question I can ask myself is very simple. “How do I feel towards fill in the blank?”  

And this doesn’t have to be just around parenting. This is a way of checking if you’re in self-energy toward anything. So maybe it’s that the child is back talking. So I’m going to ask myself, how do I feel toward my child? Right now while they’re back talking. If the answer is, “I feel calm, I feel curious about why they’re back talking, I feel connected to them, person to person, I feel courageous and compassionate”, then I’m probably in my core self.  That is not likely to be most of our answers, most of our answers are going to be something like, “I feel angry, I feel disrespected, I feel frustrated, I feel controlling.”

 Sheryl 

Powerless.

 Jenna

Powerless, yes, there’s going to be a lot of different feelings that come up. All those feelings or those physical sensations, because our parts often show up in the body. So it might be tension in the jaw or the shoulders or might be a racing heart. It might be a furrowed brow, those are all parts. And I’m going to be less effective in parenting my child, helping them to come into connection with themselves when I am parenting out of a part. And so right away, we learn one of the most powerful tools of the model, which is we have to take a U-turn before we can return.

 Sheryl 

I love that – U-turn before return.

 Jenna

Yes, yes. And this is a little kind of IFS phrase to help us out. When something is happening, for me, my energy usually goes outward toward the person or the event that is activating.

 Sheryl 

Okay, like lashing out? “Go to your room, don’t talk to me that way.”

 Jenna

Or maybe it’s ruminating about what they’re doing, or trying to control them, or whatever. My energy is going out, it’s leaving me, what I want to do is take a U-turn with my energy, and I want to direct it back toward myself, which is the only person by the way I have any control over.  I want to ask what is coming up in me? The answer to that question is going to tell me the work that I need to do before I’m ready to return to the relationship to bring my calm, clear-minded, courageous, wise, connected self to the conversation, or to the parenting moment. 

So if I take a U-turn, and what is coming up in me is anger and powerlessness, then I want to begin to move toward those parts of me with curiosity and compassion to find out why they’re taking me over at this moment. And that may seem kind of straightforward, but it’s actually very complex, because our parts, get stuck at the moment in time in our lives when we first began to feel that way. And they’re largely not sort of brought out of those old difficult memories into the present moment.

 Sheryl 

So like what I was saying with the panic attack.

 Jenna

Exactly. And so for example, with the panic attack, so you were noticing the panic part was coming back up and taking you over. You lost access to your calm, clear-minded, courageous self. It was still there, but it’s kind of like the sun in the clouds. The sun is still there. But sometimes the clouds cover it over so you don’t have any access to it. You can’t see it.  Anything with ourselves and our parts, our self is always there. But when we have parts that take us over, we lose access to it. 

So we’re no longer calm, clear-minded, curious, compassionate, courageous. Now, we get flooded with a panic exile. And that exile has taken us over because something in our environment reminds it, of where it first became burdened with the burden of panic.  And so if we’re noticing that and we can take a U-turn, and we get curious – and I’ve developed a shorthand for how to do this -I call it “moved toward”  it’s just three words – notice no and need.  So what we would do if we were you turning around the panic is just to notice where’s this panic showing up around my body. So, where did you typically notice when you were having a panic attack? Where did it show up in or around your body?

 Sheryl 

Well, chest, usually throat and head. My head is frozen. It feels like this adrenaline surge through my head and my chest like shortness of breath.

 Jenna

Beautiful. And that makes sense. Because when we are in a panic state, it’s usually because we’ve there’s a threat that is so extreme that fighting or fleeing is not possible.  So the only thing we can do – the adrenaline the cortisol is still shooting through us. But we freeze, we go into a freeze response. So the elevated heart rate, the panic, and that sense of being frozen is happening because this panicked part is carrying that from an earlier time.  It would be a time in your life, we don’t necessarily know what that is. But the part does – where it was faced with a threat that created a lot of fear that it couldn’t fight and it couldn’t run away from. And it got triggered. And now it’s getting triggered again because the environment is reminding us of that original traumatizing experience. So with the three steps of move toward, we could notice, where’s it showing up in my body? Okay, chest, throat, and head. Stay with it without trying to move it or change it in any way just welcoming this part. Which we don’t typically do we tend to want to lock these parts in the basement, which is why we call them exiles.

 Sheryl 

Yeah, get rid of it. It’s terrible. I’m feeling this way.

 Jenna

Right. But in fact, this is a young part that is in a lot of pain and is flooding forward because it wants our help. And once we understand that, we can actually welcome it, instead of being freaked out and trying to push it away. Welcome it. And then just ask it, “what do you want me to know about why you’re taking me over right now?” We’re not trying to figure it out, we’re literally asking the panicked part of us because that part knows exactly why it’s taking over right now.  Typically what happens – it’s not weird, you don’t hear voices or anything, but you’ll just get a sense of something or maybe a memory – I’m making stuff up because I don’t know anything about your story. But what would be typical for a client of mine, “oh, when my child getting angry and elevated and talking back to me is reminding me of when my dad would get drunk and come home and yell, and it was terrifying. And I couldn’t fight him and I couldn’t run away. So I would just freeze and panic.” And this part first learned to take on this burden of the panic way back then. And my adolescent child’s backtalk is reminding him of that, and it’s taking me over and making me panic.  

So that’s an important thing to know, this isn’t actually about my child. This is about my dad. It’s about my childhood. So that would be a typical way that this would progress. And then we go to step number three, “What do you need from me right now to feel just a little bit less panicked, a little bit less uncomfortable? What do you need from me?”  

Very often, what these parts of us need is to be welcomed and comforted by our adult self, our core self. And they also may need us to take action. In our outside world, they may be letting us know that they need us to connect with other moms who are going through the same thing, or they may need us to connect to our calm, clear-minded courage and set a loving but firm boundary around a conversation with the child. “Sweetheart, I love you very much. I hear that you’re angry. You may not speak to me that way. And I need you to rephrase your statement. What it’s bringing up in me right now is some panic. And I don’t want to be responding to you out of a panicked part of me. I want to be responding to you out of my core self. And I’m finding that difficult right now I’ll need you to take a moment and come back and rephrase what you’re saying in a way that’s a little more calm so that we can communicate respectfully.” 

That would be a really quick explanation of how I might take a U-turn. If it was me dealing with panic and take those three simple steps of a move toward which is Notice, Know and Need in order to be able to respond out of my core self. Well in parenting a child versus out of a burdened part, which will never help me when I get in a panic place with a child or a controlling place, or an angry place, or a silent place, all these different parts of me are trying to protect me. But they’re actually making the problem worse, the place where I’m going to parent most effectively is out of my core self. And that’s how we can get there. As we take care of our parts when they panic and take us over.

 Sheryl 

Yeah, and ask them what they need. I love that. If you were saying core self would you also consider that more of like when you’re grounded? I use that word a lot like okay, getting grounded, but when you use the word “core self” explain that a little bit.

 Jenna

The core self – that’s kind of the term that I would use it referring to it as self. There are many different ways to describe that it’s a very deeply embodied state, or grounded as you say, we’re very connected to ourselves and we feel very grounded and authentic and very empowered in a very healthy good way.  For those listeners who may be on a spiritual journey. Many different spiritual traditions have a different name for this, this self in Protestantism or Catholicism, we would call this the God-image inside of us, in Hinduism, it would be referred to as Ottoman Buddhism would refer to it as Buddha.  

So every faith tradition has a word for this and it is that deep connection to the divine within us, that’s our authentic connection to the divine. So from a Christian standpoint, this is what we’re referring to when we talk about being led by the Spirit or that all of our parts – all the different parts of us are actually being taken care of by the God-image inside of us or as I first would call it, the self. It is leading us – not our parts taking over in their panic and trying to lead because they don’t do it very effectively they cause us to actually make our pain and the pain of others around us worse. But the core God-image within all of us or this authentic self is a deeply grounded, deeply embodied deeply spiritual state that is very strong, it’s very healing it’s very compassionate, and very wise. And ideally, we want to be led from that place inside of us. And that part of us is able to lead all the different parts of us very effectively.

 Sheryl 

I picture it as you were talking. I listened to one of your podcasts about Pixar. I never knew that Pixar with the movie about the feelings

 Jenna

Inside Out.

 Sheryl 

Yes. My daughter, my oldest, said “Mom, you’ve got to see this movie you will just love it. It’s so you.” The anger has his hair on fire. It’s like standing up and the sad and the scared. I think of our bodies, like when you talk about different parts, like we’ve got all those parts inside that are like, wait, this is happening and put it out, put out that fire. Or, “I’m gonna go get a glass of wine” In and of itself, those things aren’t bad, but it’s, I just noticed as I’m wanting to go drink a couple of glasses of wine, and like, “okay, what’s going on with me right now?”  What do I need to maybe express or talk about with, whether it’s my husband or somebody in my circle so that I’m not trying to numb that pain? So I’m just imagining all those different parts of ourselves that are inside that are activating all of these different feelings. And when we’re just trying to put it out, it doesn’t work very well. Rather than asking it “Okay, what do you need? What do you need right now?”

 Jenna

Yeah, that’s right. I really think it’s a beautiful way to become acquainted with ourselves. Because unfortunately, in a western kind of culture, or civilization, we are experts at not knowing ourselves. We are unaware of what we feel, many times we disconnect from our bodies. Often when clients come into a session I have a feeling wheel, which is just a wheel of feelings on a piece of paper. And very often when I asked people to do a feelings check-in early in their therapy they’re not aware of what they’re feeling. And so I will hand them the wheel and say, “Does anything on here, connect with you?” And we literally are having to piece it off of something printed on a piece of paper, because we have become experts at dissociating from ourselves, from our emotions from our needs, from our physical bodies.  

When we are highly dissociated from ourselves, which is the norm in our Western culture, we are unable to connect to our authentic selves, which is the place from which we live our best life, and it’s also the place from which we parent most effectively. And we can all just think back to the way that we were parented. 

And parenting is hard. So there’s no sense of finger-pointing or anything, but just from an awareness standpoint, just think back to whatever your personal experience was of how you were parented. And think, what would it have been like if your parents parented out of that core self, most of the time if they were calm if they stayed connected to you, even when you mouthed off, or did wonky things if they were compassionate to your feelings and your needs if they were curious about what was coming up for you why you were doing the things you were doing. If they were courageous, in lovingly setting and holding boundaries when you needed them, but not in a shaming way, in a loving way of caring for you?  

Most of us would say, “gee, my life would have looked different.” And so we can know based on looking backward in our own lives, how important it is, for a parent to as much as possible connect to our own core authentic selves. But unfortunately, what happens is when we dissociate from that our burdened parts have to take over and our burdened parts are trying desperately to help. They’re not bad parts, they’ve just gotten stuck in bad roles.  

Say for example, as you said, have a part that’s trying to help you not feel stressed or overwhelmed, might have gotten stuck in the role of drinking multiple glasses of wine. That’s not what that part of you was designed to do. But it’s taken on that role because it learned at some point that if you drink a couple of glasses of wine, the stress goes away. And it gets stuck in that role. 

 And it repeats it even when that no longer is helping, which is the case with all of our burden parts, what they’re doing makes our pain feel better in the short run. And it always makes it worse in the long run. And that’s true, whether we’re talking about picking up a glass of wine, looking at pornography, raging, shopping, overspending, restricting our eating or binge eating and purging, people-pleasing, control, every one of these things is the activity of a burdened part. And it always makes us feel better in the short run. And then it makes our pain worse in the long run. 

When we parent out of our burden parts, we’re actually making our pain worse, and we are creating burden parts in our children. And we don’t want to do that. And that’s what we call passing on legacy burdens or generational burdens. We notice that those kinds of legacy burdens if we think back to what are the patterns, how was I parented? How are my parents parented? What are the themes that we notice, very often we notice these burden parts repeating themselves over and over and over, whether it’s addiction, or investment, or narcissism or suicidality, or control or spiritualizing or people-pleasing, we can identify these burdened parts that passed down generationally that are well-intentioned – they’re trying to help us get our needs met but because they are not our core self they wind up making our pain worse.

 Sheryl 

You respond in a way that you end up having shame, so your rage, yell, scream. You say something you wish you didn’t and so then the other part is that a “Manager” and “Exile” comes in and kicks the angry part – what is the one that kicks it?

 Jenna

It’s such a common cycle, isn’t it? Because that’s just how burden parts work. So let’s say we’re in a situation and the child is aggravating us and, and suddenly let’s say a powerless exile takes us over. We’re feeling maybe scared and powerless, that our kid is gonna go off and do this thing that we don’t want them to do. So the rage or the angry firefighter jumps in and yells at the kid, “You need to go to your room, you’re not allowed, you’re grounded.”

And then when that part comes down – see it initially feels better. Because it feels like it’s exerting a little bit of control over something that feels out of control. So it’s making the powerlessness feel a little bit better in the short run.  But then when the angry part calms down and releases back now what’s coming up in us is usually now that shame exile of “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I said that thing. And now my child’s angry and hurt. And now I’ve made it worse.” 

So the shame of exile comes up. And now that inner critic jumps up, which is the manager, and starts yelling, at the firefighter of anger, “how could you yell at your kid? You’re such a bad Mom, what are you thinking?” As you’re saying this, and notice, all of these different parts of us are really good parts that have gotten stuck in a bad role.  

My inner critic, which is very active, is trying to yell at the parts of me that are having unintentional negative outcomes from their behavior so that I don’t continue to have those negative outcomes, it’s actually trying to help me, it’s just doing it in a way that feels really awful. And the anger, it’s trying to help, it’s trying to help make something that feels scary backup, or get a little control. And it means well, but then it’s making the problem worse. And this is true of all of our burdened parts. So we want to love ourselves and our parts well, so that they don’t feel like they have to take over and try to be the parent, when in fact, it’s our core God-image or our core self that is able to do the parenting well.

 Sheryl 

Yeah, I just love that you say, “All parts are welcome here.” I think that’s what we all long for, the need to be loved. And I think that God-image be loved, even when we’re at our worst, and more and more to love all those parts of ourselves. To say, “Okay, they are serving.” That’s what I just love about your book, there’s serving a purpose or information, and we need to pay be paying attention to what they’re trying to tell us in order to have that healing and that generational healing.

 Jenna

When we can bring that compassion to all parts of ourselves when we begin to understand that we don’t have any bad parts, and I don’t care what our parts may be feeling or doing. There are no bad parts. Only good parts of us have gotten stuck in bad roles. And that’s true even in the most extreme circumstances. So the parts that may show up and have gotten burdened with suicidal thinking, or cutting or panic attacks or addiction or rescuing, it literally does not matter what behavior the part is engaged in, it is not a bad part, it is a good part trying to help when it’s gotten stuck in a bad role.  

That makes sense if we understand the whole story. Now understand that doesn’t mean what the part of us is doing is okay. None of our burden parts are doing okay things even though a lot of the manager’s behavior looks very okay on the surface like people-pleasing perfectionism spiritualizing, that looks really nice and shiny on the surface, but it’s actually not underneath. But it’s not because that’s a bad part of us that’s doing that. It’s a really wonderful part that’s lost access to what it was created to be underneath this very heavy burden of this job. It doesn’t actually want to be doing that.  

That’s true of our children’s parts as well. And that is so important for us to know as mamas in this day and age where our kids are dealing with everything under the sun, suicide, homicide, drug use, alcohol addiction, porn, addiction. I mean, you name it, our kids are dealing with all the things. And as a parent, if we just think monolithically, like that kid is suicidal, or my child’s friend is cutting or my child is addicted. We can feel very hopeless, that feels utterly hopeless to me.  But if I can see through this lens of parts, that behavior that child is engaged in, or that my child is engaged in is not who they are. 

That is a good part of them that’s gotten stuck in a bad role trying to help them in some way and instead of moving against it – if I move toward it with curiosity, I might be able to help it not have to take over so often and help my child help it to heal.  So for example, let’s take an extreme situation, let’s take suicidality because we’ve got a lot of kids who are dealing with this right now, either passive ideation or active suicidal ideation. And let’s say I’m a mom who’s got a child dealing with that, and the child maybe comes in shares. 

The average mom is probably going to have a huge fear of exile come up and take over. And then some manager or firefighter part is going to try to take over so we don’t feel that fear. So we may either go into freeze or deny mode, “Oh, you’re fine, don’t be so dramatic.” Or we might go into rescue and get hysterical and go offline mode, which would be a firefighter. In any event, none of those responses, of course, are helpful.  

But if we first took that U-turn, and asked what is coming up in me, and brought compassion to that, then we can move toward our child’s part. And we can use those three steps” Notice Know, Need. “Okay, sweetheart, I’m noticing there’s some fear coming up in me, would you mind if I just took a minute to take a U-turn with my fear? Okay, good. I’m gonna let my fear step back. Okay, now. So thank you so much for sharing with me that you’re having some suicidal thoughts. Where do you notice that coming up in your body? How do you notice these suicidal thoughts?” “Well, it’s this imagery playing out in my head, just these thoughts of how this is going to happen.” “Okay, great. I know this is really weird, and really hard. But do you think you could just welcome that part of you for a moment, the part that’s trying to help you in some way by giving you the suicidal thoughts? Could you just let it be here for a moment? let’s not try to push it away? Let’s just get to know it. Okay, can you just ask that part? What does that part want you to know about why it’s taking you over right now?” “Oh, because that thing on Instagram and all the kids got invited to that party and you were left out and the pain is so huge that none of the other strategies that you have on board are helping with the pain. 

So the suicidal part had to jump in or felt like it had to jump in because it’s got an answer for how to make this pain stop when the pain feels too overwhelming. Oh my gosh. Does that make sense to you?” “Yes.” “Can you ask the suicidal part what it needs from you right now to feel a little less activated? What does it need, so it doesn’t feel like it has to take you over right now? Oh, it means you to get off Instagram. It needs you to reach out to this other friend who’s not in that friend group. It needs you to whatever, whatever. Great, let’s take that action.”  So the suicidal part doesn’t feel like it needs to jump in. 

Notice that is a hugely different way of parenting that is infinitely more effective than what we typically do. “Okay, sweetheart, you’re struggling with x? Where do you notice that urge in your body? What does that thing want you to know about why it’s gotten activated right now? What does that part of you need from you to feel a little more comforted?” And so even just using that language with our kids, this is a part of you. And its behavior makes sense in some way if we get to know it. That helps our children not feel so despairing as well because our kids think monolithically as well. They think if I have a suicidal thought I must be suicidal. Yeah, no, that’s not who you are. This is a part of you that’s become burdened, trying to help you avoid pain by giving you thoughts of ending at all because the pain just seems too overwhelming. That’s not who you are. It’s one part of you. 

There are many other parts of you. Let’s get to know it so we can help it. It’s a profound approach to parenting, and it is deeply compassionate because now there’s nothing the child can bring to us as a mom, that’s gonna freak us out. Literally nothing. Because if we just simply take a U-turn and notice what’s coming up on us and love on our sweet parts first so that we can get access to that core self. And then just Notice, Know, Need with our child. What’s huge and will radically change the quality of our relationship with our kids because there’s no judgment. There’s no control, there’s no fear. There’s just gentle graciousness and helpfulness. It’s a really, really life-changing thing.

 Sheryl 

So profound. You’re saying that is just the tendency to want to control it. And our kids feel that energy of wanting to control it out of our own fear, but it never works. Or we just want it to go away. We just want to fix it or give advice. That’s just another part of us. And then we beat ourselves up and blame ourselves or a kid gets caught drinking, and then we ground them. Now, I’m not saying there shouldn’t be consequences. But the part of “Oh, I wanted to belong, and all these kids at the party, were drinking.” Talking about that, or go to your room, you’re grounded for a month, we’re not really dealing with what’s really going on, and then they sneak around, and we’re not safe. How do we become this unconditionally loving a safe place for our kids? And it really does start with us.

 Jenna

It does, it really does. And it’s again, I always want to come back to this point what when we say all parts welcome and move toward with curiosity and compassion. We’re not saying that the drinking or the cutting or any of that is good or is okay. What we are saying is that the most effective way to help that is to move toward with curiosity and compassion. And it starts with taking our own U-turn first.  

Because when we parent out of burden parts, we wind up making the situation worse, it’s not our fault. It’s not because we’re bad. It’s not because our parts are bad. It’s because that’s the nature of trauma. That’s what burdened parts, which are carrying trauma, that’s what they do. They can’t help it. That’s not what our core self does. And so we have this access to this beautiful inner, very deeply spiritual, divine powerhouse of wise parenting. With just these three words, first, take a U-turn, what’s coming up in me Notice Know, Need. Now I’m ready to return to my child, and help them do the same thing Notice Know, Need.  

I wish somebody had taught me this when I was a teenager, my whole life would have been different. And the things that I’ve struggled with chronically my entire life would not have been a struggle. Because that which we resist persists. So the harder we try to move against the parts of ourselves and the parts of our children that we don’t like, the more they resist, that’s when we move toward that they heal.

 Sheryl 

So powerful Jenna. Thank you. Tell our listeners where they can find you. I would love to guide where can they find you, and then you have resources, and I will put it so it’s available to all the parents that are listening.

 Jenna

I love it, they can find me in lots of places come on over, and hang out with me at Move Toward Calm. My passion is to get this information to as many people as possible free. So come and enjoy my Move Toward guided meditations that will help you as a parent move towards your own parts and your child’s parts. I’ve got a video course on how to do this, with self-lead parenting that’s right there for free that people can take. If people want to text my first name, which is Jenna to 55444. And that will just directly send you an email with a free Move Toward worksheet and several free Move Toward guided meditations that will just get sent right to your inbox. And you’ll just be ready to go with these free resources to use this immediately to change the way that you’re caring for yourself and for your children. And so I’d love to make that available. I also am one of the core faculty for parent guidance.org

 Sheryl 

That is a great site.

 Jenna

Free Parent Resource that we just try to provide lots of support. And so I got videos on parent guidance.org. And of course, people are welcome to pick up a copy of my book “Altogether You” which is on Amazon, and it’s definitely written from a very practical standpoint, I try to make it just very conversational. So anybody can pick it up. And it makes sense and provides a lot of application, both questions, journaling questions, as well as guided application exercises so that people can grab a copy of the book and immediately begin to start working with their own parts and beginning to bring healing to their own parts. It’s really beautiful. So I hope people will feel free to take advantage of any of those resources.

 Sheryl 

Oh, thank you so much for being here with us and for all that you the healing work that you’re doing and that you’re putting out and making available to parents. So many people and kids wanting to do this healing work in their lives so that they can really have an abundant life and be so much freer. So thank you.

 Jenna

My pleasure. Thanks for having me on, Sheryl. It’s been great to talk with you.

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