if i could sit down with younger me…

Posted: May 22, 2017 in Uncategorized

Recently I was challenged to think through/write down what I would say if I could sit down with myself at a certain age, at a point in my journey that was a tipping point or a crossroads of sort.  As I ponder that, I easily think of other ages, other crossroads, other changes in my journey that I can look back to and know:  if I had chosen differently at that point, I would be someone very different today.

Here is the beauty for me of being in my middle age and having pursued spiritual healing, emotional growth, and a clearer understanding of what the heck is going on in me:  when I consider that, I am not shot through with shame, regret, bitterness, or a strong yearning to go back and renegotiate that passage.

A younger me had all those feelings and thoughts and yearnings – a great yowling inside that I should’ve done better, could’ve done more, ought to have tried harder, been more focused, etc.

Today when I look back at those old iterations of me, what I mostly feel is compassion.  I understand that that old Karen was afraid in some many most things and lacked imagination in others.  I know the lying voices, both inside and outside of her that she believed were telling truth.  I know how lonely she was, and how little value she placed on herself.

So when I look back, mostly I know that she really was doing the best she could with what she knew and had.  Some of it was pretty pathetic, but she meant better than that.

So now when I imagine going back to talk to one or more of those old versions of me, I don’t imagine chastising her (though once I did).  I see myself speaking gently and kindly.  Encouraging her.  Searching for ways to open her perspective beyond the tiny, narrow window through which she looked at life.

I remembered the other day that a bunch years ago when I was writing a blog, I spoke about looking back more than a decade and not even liking the old me – finding her detestable, someone I’d never choose to befriend.  A friend from those early years wrote to me, entreating me to go more gently with myself.  She liked that old Karen, she said.  I remember thinking well, you didn’t really know my little black heart at the time, or you wouldn’t have liked me either.  Today, I figure she must’ve just gotten to this place before I did.

Are you there yet, or are you still feeling slightly (or extremely) ill or peeved or embarrassed, looking back at earlier versions of you?  Are you stuck on a merry-go-round of regret – “shoulda, coulda, woulda?”  If you’re stuck there, I’m praying for you today.  And encouraging you:  press into healing and growth.  Over here on the other side, the view is WAY cooler.

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