Write a letter and allow the younger version of you to speak.
Find a place where you feel comfortable, have pen and paper. Select a past painful experience and allow that version of you to speak uncensored. Write until she has nothing more to say.
Example: Dear Azalea, I remember being 8 or 9 and asking my mom for permission to go on a trip to the pool with my Pathfinders group and she kept telling me no. I kept asking and begging and pleading and nothing I did or said was enough to change her mind. I pushed that memory away but she would always tell me that story. She said that any normal mother would have given in and said yes, but she didn’t and she saw something in me break that day. I didn’t know what she meant until years later. I always had this idea that no matter how hard I tried or what I did, I could never get what I wanted. I’ve been proven right over and over again in my relationships and no matter what I’ve done I can’t seem to change it. I realize I pushed the memory away and so all I really remember is my mom’s story of what happened. I want to know what really happened and you’re the only one that can tell me. I’m sorry I pushed you away and couldn’t hear you. Please tell me what happened that day (let her speak uncensored).
Get a large poster size board or sketch paper and draw a combination of 10 large hearts and circles. Inside of each heart or circle write 1 amazing thing you have done since coming out of that experience. It doesn’t matter how small. Don’t despise small beginnings. You are the only one who knows what it took for you to take some of those small steps.
Let’s do it again! Write 10 more amazing things in hearts and circles that you have done since that experience. (You’re bringing the younger version of you along on this journey so she knows she is heard and no longer stuck in that experience). You are using your memory in service to you, instead of evidence against you.
We’re going to do this exercise one more time. Draw 12 hearts and circles and enter 12 more amazing things you have done to acknowledge you and bless others since the experience.
Now write a letter of thanks and celebration to the version of you that was strong enough to withstand the pain and provide space for you to do these amazing things.
Put that letter in an envelope, with a stamp and mail it to yourself. When you receive it, put it away. On a day when you are feeling disconnected, depressed or anxious, open the letter and be reminded of (1) how far you’ve come (2) the amazing things you have accomplished and (3) who you really are and how you have made a difference not only for yourself but for others as well!
By taking the time to take this journey, you are reclaiming a disowned, wounded, disconnected part of you with gentleness and compassion. Those voices have had you repeating painful patterns in your closest relationships. Through this process of celebration you are forming a new and life-enhancing relationship with yourself that shows up naturally in your relationships with others.