How often do you look at a little girl and tell her that she is ugly? Do you regularly tell a toddler that he is useless? Normally, we do not tell children these types of hurtful statements that we tell ourselves.
Yet, all of us were children at some point. One of the coping skills that I learned in treatment was to hang a picture of myself as a baby or toddler near the mirror. Whenever I wanted to degrade myself, I was supposed to look at the child that I was, the child that I remained to a certain extent.
Looking back, there are many messages that I wish I could tell myself. With this knowledge, I would have escaped heartbreak, rejection, and physical pain. However, lessons that made me a stronger person might have been lost.
If you could return to an earlier time and see yourself growing up, what would you say? How would you comfort yourself in the darkest of moments? Where would you encourage yourself to turn to for help and run away from immediately? When would you laugh or cry at your own response?
Thinking about such things can help us to respond to our present life. Sometimes the most stressful moments seem to last years; remember that they came to an end before and will again. Your significant other might tear your heart to shreds; think back to the past while grieving and remember that even that pain will heal. Allow yourself to rejoice like you did as a child in the small moments.
I would have loved to offer advice to myself as a child, but I also want to let that child offer advice to me today. She would remind me to love each person but not feel obliged to like them all, laugh until you cry or cry until you laugh, play outside at least once a day, and sing instead of talking. Those are beautiful principles to live by especially if I combine them with the wisdom I continue to gain each year.