Letters to myself at different stages

I felt the need to give myself – at different ages – reassurance about my sensory sensitivities, and send validating energy to those parts of me.  There are valid reasons for how I reacted to certain situations and experienced life the way I did.  I need to keep reminding myself of that as I continue to work on shifting my perspective.

Dear baby,

You shrank away from the hands of massage therapist in the baby massage session.  Other babies didn’t.  It’s okay you did that.  Your nervous system is wired a certain way, and touch can be startling, even scary.

Dear small child,

I know you are afraid – although you can’t explain why – and you often hide behind your parents when you meet new people.  I want to tell you that it’s fine to feel that way, even if people talk to you about being shy or act uncomfortable if you draw away from them.  You are trying to find your sense of protection and grounding.

Dear elementary schooler,

You enjoy comfy clothing – mostly cotton, and no jeans, and you have your parents cut out the tags.  You have your own style, and comfort is important to you.  I want you to keep reminding yourself of that, even if (or when) people make comments.

Dear middle schooler,

You feel so alienated and overwhelmed. You pass other students in the crowded hallways.  You use your binder as a shield.  You are doing what you need to in order to feel safe.

Dear high schooler,

You are working so hard.  Every time someone says anything that indicates any level of doubt in your abilities, you resolve to prove them wrong.  You often say that you feel tired.  Your parents tell you that you don’t need to try so hard, that you don’t need to be an “A” student, that what they want most for you is to be happy.  I want you to really hear that.

Dear college student,

It’s freshman year and you are standing in your messy, half-empty dorm room.  You are panicking.  You are telling yourself that you are not okay.  You are in a new environment.  Your roommate recently moved out, and you are relieved that she is gone, but you also feel incredibly lonely.  Classes are manageable, but there are also new factors: people, your work-study job, figuring out what classes to take, figuring out where to sit in the campus dining hall, and managing a long-distance relationship.  You are also ambivalent about your choice of college, and you’re not feeling well physically.
You are overwhelmed, and that is understandable.  You have gone through a lot of change in a short period of time, and you are facing new challenges.  It is okay to call a friend. It is okay to stop to breathe – you have time.

Dear young adult,

You have graduated from college and you feel burnt out.  The past few years have been challenging, and you’ve made it.  Give yourself credit.  Give yourself permission to rest.

Dear 30-year-old,

You have recently had a cancer scare and major surgery.  You are doing your best to hold down a full-time volunteer leadership role and a part-time job.  You are living in a house with women who are healing from trauma, and you are a major part of their support system.  You are trying to do so much, and when you break down and cry, it’s because your system is overloaded. Others may tell you that you had time to rest right after surgery, but you do still need rest – enough rest for you may be more than what most people need.

Dear present self,

I know that you are working directly with your own self-judgment.  You are coming to terms with what is actually true for you: you have had sensory processing sensitivities and challenges all of your life.  Being in a crowd for an event with loud music may be enjoyable for some, but it is generally not for you. You do not need to compare yourself to them. You may have to continue to pick and choose and decide what is worth spending your energy on.   All this is okay.  Even if things haven’t unfolded as you once wanted, and you may get frustrated at times, you are following yourself and learning to advocate for yourself.  That’s huge.  I’m proud of you.

With great love for all of who you are,

Me (you, age 32)

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2 responses to this post.

  1. I love this. The gentle understanding you show to yourself at different stages is beautiful.

    Reply

  2. Wow! Powerful words here. This really moved me
    xoxoxo kelly

    Reply

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