I have a feeling you’re like me. You have a hard time giving yourself credit. You always want to improve. You always compare yourself to the all-stars of everything you do, and you always fall short. When you aim for perfection you might improve but you always miss.
But what happens if you look at the good things around you that you created in the past? I’m talking about meaningful friendships, hobbies you enjoy that you took time to get into and learn, beautiful memories where you tried something new, skills/lessons that you chose to learn instead of hiding in your comfort zone. Look at all these treasures you get to enjoy right this moment. Do you know who gave them to you?
Past You did. Let’s take a moment for gratitude.
For example today I was sitting in my new apartment that I LOVE. It was a really stressful search for a new place during COVID, a stressful move, and a nightmare coordinating everything while working overtime. But I’m so incredibly happy here. I feel like I’m on vacation every day. Past Matthew did this for me.
I have friends that make me so happy that care about me and make my life better. There was a day that Past Matthew was scared to go to a new meetup or was nervous about reaching out to rekindle an old friendship, and he found the courage to do it. Past Matthew gave me these friends that I love so much.
There were so many times that Past Matthew had a weakness or pain point that was holding him back, and he looked up the best books on the topic and read them because he wanted to get better. He got therapy and asked for advice and he confronted his demons. He couldn’t eliminate all of them, but he found the strength to live with old scars and figured out how to enjoy life. I have peace today because Past Matthew fought and won a war against my demons yesterday.
When we let other people help us, it makes us feel loved and cared for. But I never ask others for help – it feels like I’m burdening them. But Past Matthew loved me so much and fought so hard for me and put in so many hundreds of hours of work that I finally felt like I was worth someone caring about me. I looked at the mountain of effort someone had put into being there for me, and I realized that person was me.
What about you? Look at your favorite parts of your life that you created for yourself. All the times you fought for yourself. Every workout and hard decision and sacrifice was a warm hug from Past You saying “This work isn’t easy but I’m doing it for you because you’re worth it.” Know how much Past You did for you. Feel how much you meant to someone – you.
Past You is on your team and has fought so hard for you. Every single day that they did the hard thing they were fighting for you. You can’t flip a switch and start instantly loving yourself today. But you can look around at all the things Past You did for you. Pause the self-criticism for a second and say “Thank you for fighting so hard for me, my life is so much better because you cared so much.” You were worth fighting for then, and you’re worth fighting for now.
Further Reading: If this resonated with you then I highly recommend “The Inner Child Workbook” by Cathryn Taylor. This workbook does an incredible job of helping you understand your past and unpacking pain or trauma that was never resolved. My favorite thing about it is that it helps you create a Child You which present-day Adult You can care for and guide through healing. In this way you can express the same compassion you would for another person, but you’re also benefiting from the love you pour out. And there’s a lot of pain that’s been weighing us down for too long, it’s time to help ourselves heal.
“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will drive your life and you will call it fate” – Carl G. Jung