Hello Younger Me! Today is your birthday and I want to celebrate and honor you. You were meant to be here, know that for sure. I wasn't around yet, but let me tell you, I rejoice in the day you were born. You are the reason I am me. Actually, you are me- just older- but we'll get to that in a minute.
You are one tough cookie. Smart, too! You were given the burdens of your parents' pain. Burdens you never should have carried, but you did. You knew instinctively to help more, to try harder, to smile at the world and pretend everything was okay. (You have a beautiful smile, by the way even thought you aren't quite smiling in this photo here).
You did what was necessary for survival. I'm not sure how you knew all of that, but today I look at you and I am amazed! You... I... we... wouldn't be here today if you didn't know how to fight to survive.
We still use those survival skills from time to time, but don't worry about that. I have - older you has- been figuring out how to live in a world that is different; not as scary. Not as exhausting. And, guess what! You were right! You can grow up to be that person that you wished you had in your life- and you did. And that's where I come in- I am the older you that you wanted to give your pain a purpose. I am that you that you imagined could be.
I know it's hard to see right now because things are so inescapably difficult. You cry yourself to sleep at night because it seems as if your survival skills (you don't know to call them that yet) aren't working. You somehow know there is a God and you ask, no beg, Him for help. You can't yet see Him working all things together for good. You feel alone and lonely.
You struggle with feeling unlovable, too. Soon you will struggle even more... with self-hatred and a sense of extremely low-self worth. You will feel rejected, abandoned- as if you are downing in worthlessness.
Let me tell you, those feelings have nothing to do with you or who you are.
You see, kids are meant to face challenges in developmentally appropriate stages- where they can take the success and confidence of one stage and move on to the next. Think about how a child will learn how to crawl before he or she can walk, and so on. You wouldn't give a new born baby a steak and a bicycle and say, "Power up and ride, Baby!"
Well, this concept is true for all aspects of development- cognitive, mental, emotional, social, educational, and so on.
Some of the emotional and inter-relational developmental challenges you are facing are difficult even for adults who were able to reach the necessary preliminary foundational milestones. Basically, you are being handed level 10 challenges without even being trained at level 1. You are going to fail. And it's not your fault.
Be patient, Younger Me, one day we will go back and learn levels 1-9. We will understand why we do what we do. And we will have compassion on our self. We will learn to change our faulty programming in what is called "re-parenting." We will discover that we were fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of a God who loves us. We will have Aha! Moments, connect the dots, learn healthier coping skills and breathe a sigh of relief.
Later, you... yes, older you... will learn; I ... learned and am still learning and healing and growing. We will make sense of the past and put those old negative, self-defeating feelings behind us... for the most part, anyway.
We will learn to be comfortable in our own skin. Don't lose heart, Younger Me. We will make it- to half a century (!!!), at least. Maybe more. For sure, into eternity after our time in this world is over. Younger Me, I send you strength and peace and hope. Remember, you. are. loved.
What does your younger self need to hear from you today, my friends? Remember, you- you today and you of long ago- are loved with an eternal love. - M
Me "today." (not really today, but you know...)
It's a curious thing to me when I see people who always want comfort and ease. They call it "blessing." They talk about living a prosperous life and they constantly rebuke every from of adversity or uncomfortable circumstance that might make them less than perfectly happy in the present moment.
What they are missing is the bigger blessing- the more important blessing. The lessons, the strength, the growth, The sanctification process. All of this happens through trial, pain, heartache.
If you are in the middle of a storm, seek not to escape it. Seek to learn from it. Consider it joy that you have been given a precious opportunity to grow.
Be brave, my friends, - M
I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship. - Louisa May Alcott
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photo credit: pixabay
My youngest said something to me today when we were looking at an old YT video (on a channel that I'm locked out of- grrr). She said, "Oh, Mommy! That's you? You used to be pretty!"
Right then it hit me: I haven't been underestimating the effects of my time spent in the dark valley. It's been five years but it looks like more. It feels like more. A lot more.
Stress can take its toll.
I knew it at the time. I could feel it. It may sound funny, but it was like I could feel it at a cellular level- it was effecting me, changing me from the inside.
What's the point, here? Whining? Maybe a little. I mean I earned a bit of a whimper at least, right? More so the point is, if you are walking through the valley- if you are in an emotional storm, or facing a heartbreaking life trial, please remember to take time to care of yourself and your broken heart.
Even when we are hurting, we can eat well (may not a lot, but well); we can sleep as much as possible; we can exercise; we can refrain from unhealthy coping mechanisms. We can take vitamins, drink plenty of water and seek out excellent counseling from a qualified professional.
I'll admit, I did only a few of these. Most days it was only "breathe in, breathe out... survive." Perhaps the results would have been lessened had I taken the advice of my own profession. So, let me end with this fun and oh, so wise saying: Do as I say, not as I do!!
Guard your heart (and your face), my friends, - M
Subscribe to my learning, growing, healing mental health vlog at Can We Talk? or find me @TweetmentPlan.
Photo credit: pixabay
The Motley Ms.
Hi! My name is Melinda. I'm a saved-by-grace-er, lifelong learner, INFJ, health & fitness trynabe, Mom, #vanlifer, mental health vlogger, and Director & Clinical Supervisor at a Child & Family Therapy Practice in Northern California.
The Motley Ms
The Therapist's Therapy Blog