What Would You Tell Your Younger Self? A Visualization for Self-Love
The instructions were to visualize a happy time in our lives as a child. (If we couldn’t come up with any happy memories, we were told to make one up.) I closed my eyes and thought back to when I returned home after my first day of kindergarten. This was fairly easy for me because my wise mom had recorded our conversation, unbeknownst to me, and I remember seeing my school kindergarten picture.
I could picture my 5-year-old self walking in the door, ecstatic to share my day! I couldn’t talk fast enough, telling Mom about all the cool stuff that had happened at school. It’s been many years since I’ve listened to the recording, but I can easily recall the excitement and enthusiasm in my voice. I was fully alive and happy. The world (or at least kindergarten) was a big adventure for me to discover.
Next, the visualization asked us to imagine that our current, adult selves were there, part of this happy scene. As I fully soaked in the details and energy of the vision, we were asked, “What do you want to tell your younger self?” A flood of words came to mind. You are loved. You are precious. Don’t let your fears stop you. Believe in yourself. Don’t let mean kids hurt your feelings. Enjoy every day.
At the end, we were told to look in a mirror or the selfie camera of our phone and to see the essence of our younger self in our eyes. The goal was to remember who we really are, our essence; and to treat our adult selves as we would treat our younger, happy selves, to tell ourselves those same messages. I could feel a couple of emotional tears run down my cheeks.
This visualization exercise on self-love was part of a training on empathy I’m taking from Shirzad Chamine, the author of Positive Intelligence. I mentioned Shirzad and his book in last week’s tip, Getting to Know Our Judge. He says that our power to empathize is an antidote to our Judge’s violence towards ourselves and others.
Do you beat yourself up? Could you use a little more self-love? See if you can immerse yourself in this visualization and remember who you really are; a precious and special person.