We all have people in our lives who we’ve internalized to some extent – like parents, mentors, parents of choice, partners, friends, etc. These are called attachment figures. Parents and caregivers will have the strongest role initially in our lives.
The way they handle heartache, disappointment, anger, difference, joy, etc can get embedded within us without us being aware. How they view us can also become how we view ourselves, too.
Being hurt or routinely disregarded by an attachment figure can have such an impact on our lives. We may see ourselves being someone we don’t want to be and have no clue how to get out of it.
Our work then is what I like to call the GREAT DETANGLING. In a way we have to disentangle ourselves from what we often think is just how we view ourselves or how we are from what is actually an imprint from that attachment figure. It’s not ours and we don’t have to hold it as truth.
The other thing that we must do is find those people who reflect our goodness, help us feel safe and are there for us. Then, start to deliberately internalize them and their wisdom. Because we aren’t meant to go through life alone – figuratively or literally.
Some people call this idea your “internal board of directors” – I personally like the idea of “internal VIPs” – either way, you get to choose who’s voice is loudest in there. Whose voice you’re actually going to believe.
Over time, it gets easier. These internalized VIPs become your inner role models for all the if this, then that’s in life.
And this, dear ones, is actually some of the magic behind therapy and why therapy can create lasting change well after therapy has ended.