Becoming a Good Mom to Myself

(This post is inspired by the work of Dr. Richard Schwartz, the founder of Internal Family Systems (IFS). To learn about IFS, please visit

During the inner journey work, we uncover many parts of ourselves all with specific needs. A part is a sub-personality with it’s own beliefs, viewpoints and has it’s own role to play. Parts develop from various experiences we have and influence how we interact with the world.

In my imagination, the parts of me have become like hatchlings, sub parts of me that I care for. I imagine the most conscious part of me as an eagle mom, watching over all of the sub parts of me, taking the lead and perfectly embodying the mother archetype: the wise and loving protectress.

As my hatchlings manifest, rather than ignore their needs, I have learned to tend to all of the parts of me with loving care. Even the most difficult parts, I have learned to step back into my conscious mother self and listen gently, be present with and care for.

Regularly, I imagine giving form to the parts of me that are in pain, anger and shame. I imagine holding, embracing and listening to them. As an example: if I find myself feeling ashamed for some reason, I will take these steps:

  1. Locate the source of shame in my body
  2. Focus on the part in my body that stores shame and notice what is feels like, sense what it looks like and gather information
  3. Check in as to how I feel towards the part
  4. Befriend the part, tune it to what it needs and then see if it is willing to receive from me

I close out this practice by telling the part that I am always here for it, and I mean that. I give shelter to all of my parts with this inner “nest” that I have built for them. They no longer live flailing and trapped in unconscious responses and memories. They are held with the space to express to ME, the ultimate mother to myself.