Ok, so in this exercise which we covered in one of the 7 videos, just separating this out
so it can be practiced on its own. This one is the connection with the younger self exercise. It is worth bearing in mind that if you’re wanting to do this with a difficult time in your life, in an earlier time then it would be best to do this with a therapist. Just in case any overwhelming feelings come up for you.
The idea here is that we are connecting with a part of us that maybe was difficult and bringing some of that nurturing reassurance, that adult presence to that part of us, which is Perhaps stuck in a bit of a scared place really. And so this is something that worked for me in connecting with with my younger self. The part of me from going to boarding school when I was sent to boarding school around 7.
What I’m talking about here is the idea that we take us back so that we can just be with that part of us.
We’re not actually going back to become that part of us. The first point here, identify a time or event that was difficult. So for me I’m going to say it was when I was sent to boarding school at the age of 7.
You can do this lying down, so I’d lie on my bed got when I’d got home from work and just visualise taking myself back to an image of myself when I was 7. I actually used the school photos of me sat there cross-legged at the bottom of this big long row of kids and what I started to do was to just take myself back and imagine sitting next to the 7-year old me. And just giving that quality of being present with that 7-year old and maybe putting my arm round him or putting him on my lap and just conveying the presence really that I’m with that 7-year old me. And so taking their hand and a hug and reassurance and it’s ok.
I’m here I’m here. And just staying present and connected with the idea of connecting with that younger self and just stay noticing what sensations come up. There might be some difficult feelings, there might be some soothing that starts to happen. It’s going to be something to experiment with.
What I would do is to lie on your bed for maybe 10 minutes and just start with looking to connect with that younger self. This might take a bit of time if it’s something you’ve not done before.
We need to build trust over time. It’s going to feel weird and funny to do this. To get that that felt sense of a bit of a connection forming. Biologically it’s accessing a part of our memories and brain where there was some difficulties when we were younger and stored up because we didn’t have the resources to handle it.
You know it was it was overwhelming, but as an adult we can give that sense of presence – there is a grown up here now. I’m here. I’m always going to be here with you.
If you can convey the message that you’re never going to leave that part of you – that’s a big deal. Especially if you experienced something like your parents separating, as this fear of people leaving us can be scary. But we’re saying to that part, I’m here. And this is something that I needed to do because I was reaching out for reassurance from for my wife, from my family, but after a while I would need another bit of reassurance. And they don’t know what else to say. And then I would worry that I’m annoying my loved ones and pushing them away because I was being anxious and eventually I started to recognise that I need to do it for myself, and need to provide that reassurance to that younger part that was holding some of that fear.
There is a book by John Bradshaw called Homecoming which talks about the process of connecting with our younger self, and again this might be something to discuss with a therapist if that’s of interest. So it’s a tried and tested method.
Eventually when we get that connection more and more easily, what we can do before going into a situation like some big social event example, where maybe that younger part is getting triggered this is going to feel threatening, what will people think of me. All that belief system could be stored up in that younger self.
So we do this exercise and we say from our adult self – it’s ok, I’m doing this. Not you, I’m going into this as an adult , you can just be there with me. Just hold my hand, essentially you’re not on your own anymore.
Yeah, this is just just something to practice see how you go, in your own time and see what comes up for you. I started to build on the connecting with the 7 year old me, and then the 10 year, old me, the 13 year old which I was then at the next school and that was quite overwhelming. I was getting my team back together!
The part of my life. If you think of it like rings of a tree, we’re every age we’ve ever been. We are all of our ages and maybe there’s a 7-year-old aspect and a 10-year-old aspect and 13.
I can see that there’s some sense in that. We’re a product of a gradual building up of experiences over time. So when we’re accessing these different parts we’re connecting with a part of our overall system.
So as I say if it’s something that would have been traumatic then I would advise do this exercise with a professional If you feel you could this on your own then just do it gently and gradually and if difficult feelings come up then do it at your own pace.
It was certainly something that worked for me.