Updated: Oct 5, 2021
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!
By the time this blog piece is posted, I will have lived another year of my life. 36 backwards. Ok seriously, I’ll be 63 and I don’t feel like I’m that old. There is still so much in my life that I am working on. Experiences I thought I’d overcome, thoughts I thought I had eliminated, and I was sure I was “fixed”.
I have overcome a ton of stuff. And the more aware I am of the healing I’ve done, the more I realize there is more to heal. I was talking with a friend recently about some trauma that I’ve worked on for years. I was young when it happened. I didn’t share it with anyone until I was in my 50s. I had pretty much put it behind me. Or so I thought. You don’t put trauma behind you. You can learn how to not be a victim of it. I didn’t realize for years that this trauma held me back in many ways, it also pushed me forward in other ways.
I kept my experiences to myself, I never, ever talked about them. You can only do that so long, and it takes a toll on you. The people responsible for the trauma took up so many of my thoughts for so many years. Often the only way to turn it off was to drink. And that didn’t really turn it off. It just let me ignore it for longer.
I excelled at my career to show them the people who were part of the trauma. Well, that worked, kind of. I still didn’t deal with all the emotions and thoughts that went along with these experiences. And I didn’t share them within even my closest relationships.
I thought I had eliminated all my limiting beliefs, only to figure out that they never go away. I just notice when they are holding me back much faster than I used to. And I know how to work through the limiting belief so that it serves me. I am able to have gratitude for that limiting belief because once upon a time it served me well, kept me safe, and allowed me to grow. This limiting belief stuff is really paradoxical but true.
Today I work with coaches, whom I am able to talk to, to get some clarity around how the trauma has affected me and the choices I make and assist me with plans to move forward, not live in the past. One of my coaches may have suggested writing a letter to my younger self in the past, I don’t remember. I’m sure it wasn’t my idea. Writing about myself and my emotions is not something that is usually high on my list of choices. Here’s the funny part, though, it is often something I recommend to my clients. So I’m taking my own advice and writing a letter to my younger self. I hope that there is something of value you may find as you read it.
My Dearest Younger Self,
You are strong, brilliant, and brave. You will face some challenging times and be able to overcome them. You will experience much joy that will carry you through the dark days. No matter what you are experiencing, know that I will be right there beside you, keeping you safe and encouraging you in all you do.
As you go through life, remember these things:
Trust your gut. When something doesn’t feel right or good, know that it isn’t. And know that it’s ok to not say yes or no right away. And if you should choose to ignore those feelings, know that I’m right there beside you, keeping you safe.
Know that you inspire people, whether they tell you that or not. Your ability to be resilient will carry you through and allow you to face things you never imagined you’d have to live through. Know that I’m right there beside you, hugging you, and cheering you on, and keeping you safe.
Forgive others. I know this sounds cliche, but forgiveness will free YOU. The sooner you forgive the sooner you can heal. And you don’t have to ever forget. The remembering will allow you to help others deal with their stuff. It will help others know that they will be ok. Remember, you are inspiring others and may not even know it. And when you don’t feel you can forgive, know that it’s ok. You might be able to one day. But no matter what, I will stand beside you, holding your hand, and keeping you safe.
Open your heart. You may feel that building a wall around your heart is the only way to not get hurt. And just know, that wall doesn’t just keep the hurt out, it keeps the joy from coming in as well. The person you are will be safe. You will get hurt and there will always be a gift that comes with the hurt. You will find out how strong you are, you will find out what truly brings you joy, and you will find your dreams. And I will be there to dry your tears, be your cheerleader, and celebrate with you. I will keep you safe.
Use your voice, speak your truth. It may be hard. You may worry about your words not mattering to others. You may think your feelings don’t matter. Know that is bullshit. Your words matter, your feelings matter, you matter. Just know that it’s ok to collect your words before you speak them and once you do, you will feel empowered. And know that no matter how hard it is, I will be there helping you understand your emotions and collecting words to use. I will keep you safe.
Know that you are not alone. No matter how tall you may build a wall around yourself, how you might push people miles away, how people might let you down and leave you, you will never be alone. I will be there for you. I will keep you safe.
I am the breeze wrapping you gently in my arms.
I am the dove bringing joy to your heart.
I am the puppy keeping you warm and cuddly.
I am the pig bringing you fun times playing.
I am the feathers that you see to remind you that I am here.
I am the tiger who will help you set boundaries.
I am the sun melting the hurt and pain.
I am the wave reminding you how strong you are.
I am the leaves in the trees whispering “keep going.”
I will be there no matter what. Just look for me.
I will keep you safe.