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Can You Just Let It Be Okay?

By Phyllis Stein, Ph.D.
August 12, 2008

Lack of acceptance of our wounded selves can keep us stuck when we most want to heal. Accepting ourselves just as we are can, paradoxically lead to the greatest changes.

We come to Inner Bonding wanting to heal.  We don't like how our lives are going or how it feels to be us.  Our mantra is "Change, change, change!"  We are impatient for change to happen.  What is paradoxical, therefore, is that one of the most fundamental changes that needs to happen is that it has to become completely okay to be wherever or however we are at this moment.  We need to notice, with compassion, what we are feeling.  I cannot emphasize this enough, because the part of us that wants to change often skips this. The point is not to "Tune into what you are feeling and make it go away."  Nor is it to "Tune into what you are feeling and get upset about it."

What is important to understand is that the loving adult is the part that meets any feeling, any beliefs of the inner kids, wounded or not, with compassion and acceptance.  It is the compassion and acceptance that build the foundation for inner safety and opens the door for spiritual guidance.  This is a shift that under most circumstances. we can make at any moment.  Notice what you are feeling and then choose compassion for the part of you that is having this feeling.  This may involve a kind of "moving out" of whatever you are feeling, until you are no longer "in" the feeling.  This is similar to what some practices call the "witness," except I might call it the caring witness. We literally are in two places at once on the internal level, the compassionate inner parent part of us and the wounded inner child part or parts.

Where this concept is especially helpful is in the case of the wounded judge, the inner critic who seems to be getting in the way.  The inner critic acts as if it is the inner parent but does not do a very loving job of it.  As people try to move into the loving adult, they frequently wind up in a power struggle with the inner critic, trying to get control of it, judging it, in order to stop the criticism and that seems to lead nowhere.  When the loving adult is truly present, all feelings, even those of the inner critic, are completely acceptable.  All of the wounded selves are lovable and deserving of compassion, because the loving adult knows that each of these parts is just trying as hard as they can to make things okay.  No matter how backwards it seems, the loving adult knows, without question, that there are good reasons for everything and that under each of the wounded parts is a scared and lonely child trying to survive the best way it can.   They are not ever bad or wrong, just desperately alone.

So the essence of making the choice is this: Notice how you are feeling.  Notice whether, after you notice how you are feeling, another part is also feeling compassion and acceptance and probably curiosity about those feelings or if there is only judgment about having them.  If there is judgment then the "you" that is starting the Inner Bonding process is a child adult.  To get to the loving adult part of you, the fact that the loving adult is not present has to be completely okay.  You are not bad or wrong.   However, your inner kids will not feel very safe and doing the process will probably not result in anyone feeling much better, so a loving shift is called for.  Each time you do notice that how you feel is not okay with you, you have the opportunity to choose to move into another part of you that has compassion for the wounded self, the child adult that is present.  Thus, at any moment, no matter what you did a moment before, you can notice that you believe that how you are feeling is bad or wrong and practice moving out into a part of you that is "okay" with all of it, the part of you that wants to help but is not in judgment of anyone, even the judge.  Ask yourself. "Can I just let it be okay?"  Asking that simple question might give you access to your loving adult.


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