Updated: Dec 10, 2019
Relationship With My Past Self:
I hated myself as a child. I hated being vulnerable. I hated being powerless. And I hated, without being able to name it, being abandoned, unappreciated, controlled, and manipulated. I hated being a rat in a cage.
I still hate those things. Especially about my childhood.
We carry a lot of issues into adulthood from childhood, and many of us who were (knowingly or unknowingly) damaged by our parents spend many adult years looking to heal things we aren’t entirely aware aren’t normal or healthy.
But still we act out and hunger for something.
It’s a very hard task because we try to find surrogate parents and make it their problem to fix us. I did this for years and it almost destroyed me. In some ways, it did. And it hurts other people.
Even if we go to therapy, or do our own research and realize what we’re doing, even if we’ve always known that we are looking for that parental love and guidance that we didn’t have (or had a grossly damaged version of), we carry a lot of pain and angst. Grief.
There are lots of incredible resources to help you through this process. They all boil down to the basic truth: that you must do this for yourself.
That you must get your own resolve, that you must heal without asking the people who hurt you “Why?” or for the validation of setting them straight and getting their apology.
That you must love yourself.
That if you hate yourself, you must do what it takes to love yourself.
And these are really true. And there are many ways to do this.
But I want to share with you what works for me. I haven’t heard it put like this before, and the best thing about it is that you don’t have to do a lot of work, just have a realization.
The most haunting thing about my childhood is that I felt no one was interested in who I was. No one cared. My physical needs were well met (awesome), but the essence of my self, my likes, dislikes, dreams, goals, tastes, beliefs were either ignored or ridiculed, shamed, drowned out unless I "towed the line", agreed with those in charge. Differentiation was torn out of me.
The environment was joyless and I felt very powerless and hopelessly trapped.
Human beings weren’t designed to be trampled down and feel trapped. I’m sure you know exactly how unbearable it is to feel endless bleakness stretch in all directions without relief.
I was torn between seeing a beautiful future so clearly it had to be true...and despairing and shutting down entirely.
And I hated myself for being stuck there.
For not dying in childbirth.
For not drowning when I was 5.
For not being brave enough to run away like I fantasized about.
For not knowing how to make a close friend who would let me stay with them, or at least be there to remind me that there was more to life than just the way I was being raised. To broaden my horizons and to see *me*.
For not aspirating in my sleep.
For having nowhere to go.
For not knowing what to do.
For doing things I hated doing.
For not being able to say no, or not able to enforce “no”.
For not knowing how to earn money in a way that didn’t give me nightmares and leave me a drained husk.
It was many years later, I had a job (that I hated) and I had achieved some big goals (to me), but I was still hating. I was filled with an endless rage and helplessness still. At myself, at people in general, at my upbringing, at my ex- who wasn’t what I had needed them to be to me, at a system where I was disposable and degraded every day.
It was one of those quiet moments where you just get too tired to keep feeling any more, and you have to look on the bright side and be grateful because you can’t die on command. You know what I mean?
Here is my run-on stream-of-consciousness on that:
I had been told no so much in so many ways and been made to feel I would never get out much less live my dreams and I would never get to find myself because I basically had to be what I was told to be and yet here I was surrounded by so many dreams come true and I had done it and I was working through things I didn’t even know about myself every day and....how had I gotten here when no one had cared about who I was and what I wanted?
Because someone had cared.
Because someone hadn’t given up on my dreams.
Because one person thought I was not ridiculous and not shameful just enough.
And it was me.
It was 5 year old me learning to read and write and it was 10 year old me watching shows to learn design and humor and about nature and it was 15 year old me joining band and writing lists of things to do before I die and it was 20 year old me switching my major (even though I wish I had dropped out) and trying to blog (badly, for myself only), and it was 25 year old me getting together with a person who helped me grow in ways no one else had or probably could and working at a job to save money and get a start somehow...
I always fantasized about a time machine where I could go back in time, kidnap and raise myself away from a toxic and damaging environment. That I would set myself free.
But it dawned on me, truly, like a dawn, that in fact, child-me, not future-me, had in fact been the one to rescue me and set me free.
With each decision and each effort, even the “unsuccessful” ones, I was delivering myself to where I actually wanted to be.
Without realizing it.
Do you realize that about yourself?
You didn’t do it alone, and it was a very winding path with wrong turns and huge mistakes but ultimately you were the pilot and navigator who worked with each co-pilot in your life.
Even when the co-pilot acted like they were the real pilot. They never were. You are.
With each opportunity and person in your life, *you* put in the work to go along with them: for better, or for worse, or to reroute.
Just understanding that someone had cared, accepted, believed in, and loved me all along, healed something inside of me very suddenly.
It often didn’t feel like it. But ACTIONS proved it.
The same is true for you.
Someone who never left, no matter how ugly it got.
For me, Me.
And for you, You.
I wish I could say that everything was and will be perfect after that, and we will have no more issues and will never feel hurt or triggered ever again. But of course, it doesn’t quite work that way.
But it does give us a mindset that makes it much easier to accept that what the people who raised us had to say and think doesn’t matter.
That we are lovable.
That we personally matter.
That we are and always have been believed in.
That we had all the things that we wanted and needed so desperately, all along.
We are no longer coming from a place of desperation and lack. We have always had it all.
It is a very empowering realization, to know that you have had your own back the whole time!
*****And that things will be okay because we work with what we have to make things happen!
*****And we grow and try to do and get better everyday!
This is self-love.
You just do it because like breathing, you can’t stop doing it!
Relationship With My Future Self:
At some point I named my adult self that was going to travel back in time and rescue me.
I really personified my future self.
My future self became a very real person to me.
Today, I go by that name.
This relationship is a self-fulfilling prophecy I didn’t know I was making when I started doing this. I was just trying to cope.
I started to picture what I did all day: Writing and making and selling beautiful things was involved; creating awesome experiences and making people feel good; and of course lots of travel.
I didn’t know exactly how, just that this was what I wanted and would do.
I started to picture what the house I would take myself to live in would look like (magical movie sets were definitely an inspiration).
What I would be like to hang out with, the very best version of myself who had my shit together: adventurous, always doing something interesting, creative, fun, exciting, laughing all the time, knowing all kinds of interesting things and good advice.
I even saw what I would dress like (exotic).
Since this future me became so real and so appealing in my mind, I would talk to myself:
In big decisions, in crossroads of my life, I would see future me and ask what I had done in this situation that allowed me to get to *be* future me.
I viewed my decisions as already made in the best way possible to succeed, and then tried to reverse-engineer them. I still do.
It didn’t magically make me the best decision-maker ever who knew exactly what to do, but it did make me more bold and daring.
It was one of the only ways I knew how to fight crippling doubt, fear, and failure.
It helped reassure me when no one else could or would that everything was working out for the best. Because for this “real” future me in my mind, it already had!
I was told how evil the Law of Attraction New Age stuff was (I wasn’t allowed to even read such things), but I later found out that instinctively, intuitively, I did just that to emotionally survive.
Earl Nightingale does a nice, 1950s Christian version, if that's your style:
That’s what worked for me.
This guided meditation is one of my absolute favorites. I never see Kris Jenner (I don’t know anything about her). Who I do see is my future self (and my childhood dog). Try it!
You were the person who you needed to raise you.
You are the partner and friend you need(ed).
You were and always have been the love, the acceptance, the belief in you that you wanted and needed.
You still are.
You are and always have been enough.
You made the mistakes you needed to make.
You did the work you needed to work on.
You learned the things you needed to learn.
You still are, even right now.
You are growing where you need to grow.
Future you is guiding you and rooting for you as much as you are raising and forming present you into future you!
They are so proud of you.
And we are too!
All My Love,