Speaking To Your Childhood Self
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Many of us suffer from some degree of self-hatred, but few of us want to talk about it. At least some of our friends and family and people around us are likely to be going through the same feelings we experience, but we never end up speaking with them about the way we feel. The subject is just too difficult.
There are many reasons we have come to feel this way, and there are many techniques we can use to try to heal. Writing a letter to our childhood self can be a very powerful one, if we can trace the roots of our self-hatred back to childhood. Think back to when you were young. As far back as you can remember.
Have You Ever Felt Like . . .
You just didn't want to be you anymore?
You idealized someone so much you wished you were them, instead of being you?
You escaped into fantasies of being Tinkerbell or Superman for hours on end, and felt deflated when you had to come back down to Earth?
You felt deeply ashamed of yourself, without really knowing why?
These are common feelings that many people have during childhood, and they are nothing to be ashamed of. Whether we think we had a good childhood or bad childhood, supportive or not-so-supportive parents, we will probably remember feeling like this at some point. If you have never felt this way, consider yourself in the fortunate minority. For those of us who have felt this way, it is incredibly lonely. We feel somewhat separated from the world, as if we are not good enough to participate in it. It is likely that these insecurities are carried into adulthood, and even passed onto our own children.
BREAK THE CYCLE
Step 1: See It
Imagine your childhood self at a time you were feeling one of your most painful feelings about yourself. Remember being that child and experiencing that pain. Really get inside the image you have in your mind, until it really feels as if you are there.
Step 2: Change It
Now withdraw from that image. Next, if you are female, imagine the most ideal mother you could ever dream of. If you are a male, imagine the father of your childhood wishes. Think about their values, their kindness, gentleness, fun-loving nature, or whatever qualities are important to you. Once you have a very clear impression of who this ideal parent is, put yourself in their shoes. Imagine that you are them, that you embody all their good qualities. Spend a little time in their head, get a feel for being the Ideal Parent.
Step 3: See It Again
Return back to the scene from Step 1 as the Ideal Parent. Now you can see your childhood self objectively, from the outside. What would you, as the ideal parent, do to comfort the child? What would the Ideal Parent say in this scenario to make everything better? Run through the scene in your imagination, taking the actions that the Ideal Parent would take.
Step 4: Change It Again
Once you have finished imagining, write down what the Ideal Parent said to your childhood self.
When I went through these steps, I cried for quite a while at the kindness of the words the Ideal Parent said. I realized that no one ever said such beautiful and tender things to me before. It was a very healing experience for me and I often revisit what I wrote down, in times of trouble or stress. It gives me an overwhelming feeling of comfort and reassurance.
Here is an excerpt from the letter my ideal parent wrote to my childhood self:
'I want you to feel a sense of worth when you hear your name, a sense of pride in your value and essential beauty. I want you to know the reverence and respect I have for you, even though you are only tiny. I love you. I will love you your whole life. I will heal you from the inside out. I want you to know that you are wonderful and special and beautiful and precious and worthy and lovable and there is nothing inherently wrong with you.
You do not have to achieve to be worthy, you already are. You do not have to behave a certain way or match up to my expectations, you are lovely and a wonder to behold exactly as you are. You have such a lovely heart, tender and loving and giving, and the ideas you have to help people are amazing. I encourage you to follow your dreams.
You have felt disrespected and controlled and unloved and inadequate and I am so sorry you had to feel that way. I hope you will forgive me. Whatever is happening around you, remember that you have the power of God in you.
Smile, little darling, and always remember how sweet and lovely and beautiful you truly are.'
- Iman Mohiki