How to Overcome Difficult Childhood Memories (as Seen on Huff Post)
Look around you. Everyone you see is carrying a truckload of childhood memories that contain pain, awkwardness, failure and all things awful.
Look within. The memories are there. Some are more painful than others. Many can be altered to feel less heavy.
Choose one memory that often pops into mind. Make it one that involves a perceived failure on your part. You know, the kind that makes you say, “I should have…”
What mistake do you think your child self made?
Going Back to Move Forward
Picture yourself in the setting at the age you were when the event occurred. What was going on at the time? What was your state of mind?
See the event happen to you.
Allow yourself to empathize with the child in you who suffered from this event. See yourself “failing” at whatever you messed up.
Again, let the empathy flow toward the child within you. The memory might feel awful. It might define some aspect of your adult self, but it doesn’t have to.
Once you’ve re-experienced the event, introduce your adult self to the situation.
Picture you at your current age with your current physical and emotional strength to endure the same event you went through as a child.
Let the event happen to you, but react to it as an adult.
If there’s a child or adult in your memory who contributed to the pain embedded in this memory, relate to them as your adult self to take control.
That’s right. Take control of the situation. Reverse the outcome. Make the memory happen the way you want it to.
You’re now overwriting the memory in a way that reduces the emotional pain associated with the visual recall of the event.
Now picture your current self standing next to your child self who just failed or got hurt or humiliated….and soothe that child.
Say loving things to him or her. Give that child more love and caring that he or she has ever gotten. Enter his or her mind and reflect back how much you understand.
Show the child that he or she is safe and you’re there to help.
Encourage your inner child to go easy on himself or herself.
The memory is now less scary because your adult self would react differently than your child self. You would either succeed where you believe you failed or you would file the memory away in your mind differently as an adult so that it’s not such a pain point.
So often, we think, feel and act like a wounded, angry and frightened child in situations that remind us of the original hurt from childhood.
But we forget that we have a CHOICE to handle the event as an adult with a much more advanced set of skills.
Relive the painful memory in a safe and comfortable way by applying your adult abilities so that the helpless or failing child in your memory is no longer helpless or failing at all.
That’s how you go back in time and fix childhood failures.
(Note: This post is for entertainment purposes only. Use of the above-mentioned technique does not constitute a therapeutic relationship with the author.) Sorry, I had to add this even though you know this.
All the best to you and your inner child.