I’ve blogged a bit here and there about my ongoing work to resolve conflicts between “me now” and “me then.”
One of the most effective techniques I use is a simple Q&A.
For instance, if I wake up (like I did this morning) and realize I spent all night dreaming about painful periods from my past, I will ask my younger self questions.
Since my younger self is, well, younger, I use simple, open-ended questions.
I might ask, “What do you need from me?”
Or “What can I do to help?”
I also use statements.
Sometimes I say, “I’m so sorry.”
Or “Thank you for not giving up.”
Sometimes I just wait and listen and let my younger self vent.
I let her say horrible things to well-meaning (or not so well-meaning) people from our shared past – things I would have never been allowed to express back then.
I make her promises, too.
I say “I will never leave you alone again.”
Or “I will protect you.”
I also agree with her.
I might wake up from one of her disturbing dreams and say “Yes, I hate that person (or what happened) too.”
I never disagree with her, discount her feelings, diminish her experiences, make excuses (for me-now or others-then), rationalize, ignore, or try to change her mind.
She knows exactly how it felt.
She knows precisely how alone she was and how scared she was.
I view her willingness to open up to me about our shared past in dreams as a sign of trust.
She believes I am someone who will comprehend just how mighty a fight she put up and how amazing an accomplishment it is that she overcame.
She also sees me as someone who will appreciate her efforts (I owe her my life today, after all).
And she doesn’t want me to forget – about her or about the lessons she learned on our behalf.
After all she went through alone, she still cares about me. She still wants the best for us both.
She knows that, over time, the best mentor-mentee relationships go both ways.
And she thinks perhaps we have that kind of rare chance to mentor and be mentored by each other.
I think so too.
Today’s Takeaway: Do you ever make time to have a chat with the younger version of you? If you have ever done this, did you experience or learn anything that you-now needed to know or hear?