Quick summary: I will offer a visualization technique that allows for a person to comfort their self so as to reach a resolution for a strong emotion or a ruminating thought that is being carried. Often we carry an emotional reactivity to certain stimuli that is based in part on an unresolved issue that happened earlier in our life. Very often we have the skills, strengths, awareness, or control now that would have helped us to better navigate a difficulty that we experienced in the past. This technique allows for you to imagine your younger self and to help that self towards recovery with the advantageous traits you now embody.
“What do you mean by unresolved Issue?”
- Are there certain subjects, activities, settings etc that encourage you do become a bit more emotional than what you would call normal?
- Are there certain scenarios that you play through again and again in your mind?
- These ruminating thoughts and these heightened emotional states often occur when a person has experienced something that was too difficult for them to handle at the time… the instance is therefore unresolved.
This technique can be used by a therapist to help guide a client, or a person can use this technique by himself or herself.
- I will recommend that you engage in mindfulness practice which will increase your awareness of your emotional, physiological, and cognitive experience.
- Intentional breath work will also calm your physiology in the moment so that you are best able to comfort the younger you.
- You may also engage in this experience without first engaging in a mindfulness exercise.
Note: start small – if you are doing this exercise by yourself remember to start with an instance of suffering which was not overly traumatic. This exercise can be very effective with more severe types of trauma, but it would probably be best for you have supports on hand (do this with a trained professional) if you are going to face a particularly traumatic event.
Guided visualization to heal the younger you
Start by sitting in an upright position or lay down… either way do your very best to keep your spine as long and straight as possible.
Close your eyes and focus on your breath… try and focus your attention on the breath as it: enters your nose, brushes past your throat, and begins to fill you chest and abdomen.
Allow an image of your current self to drift in and out of your mind. Pay attention to your strengths and your resiliency… build yourself up without worrying about being modest… what are the best aspects of you? How are you strong? In what ways do you hold control and freedom?
Visualize accomplishments in your life.
Let your mind drift between positive self-growth experiences.
Hold trust in the relationships which have supported you along the way. Imagine those supportive entities giving your all the strength, nurturance, love and support you can hold.
Picture a younger version of you (could be a year could be twenty years)… allow yourself to understand what that younger you is needing.
Let your self visualize a setting that was very difficult for you in your past… notice your environment… pay attention to the details… visualize a younger you in this environment.
Allow a comfortable separation between yourself and the environment that you are viewing. Know that the image that you are currently viewing is 100% under your control… you have a freedom to react as you wish to this imaginary environment. There was a monument when this environment was your reality… in this moment you control that reality.
Look at the younger version of yourself in this environment as if you were watching a movie of a time now past… identify with the character and remember the suffering that the character holds… as you understand and empathize with this younger self it is important to know that you have grown in resiliency and it is not your job to take on the emotions that your younger self is experiencing in your visualization. Offer compassion to your younger self… you did the best that you could.
What is happening to the younger you character… allow yourself to understand his/her pain while staying strong and hopeful.
Now I want you to imagine your current strong, hopeful, resilient, and resourceful self to enter into this image… this visualization. This means that you can now visualize both your current self and your younger self in the same setting. (There are now three versions of you… the observer who is watching the visualization, and a current and younger version of yourself which reside within the visualized setting).
You are now free to let your current visualized self interact and to offer support to your younger visualized self… offer your younger self something that you now know would be of benefit to him/her.
Be the support that your younger self was seeking. This will mean something different to everyone… there is now right or wrong action… offer the support which your intuition is suggesting.
Gently allow your attention to move back to your breath… breath in deeply allowing your abdomen to fully expand… exhale with a gentle sigh and continue this breathing pattern as you so desire… as you notice that your breath has calmed your physiology let your eyes slowly open.
Examples of support that people give to their younger self:
- a hug
- a verbalized message.
- advice from the future
- an item of symbolic importance
- defense against something in the environment
- simple presence
- love, compassion, and nurturance
- the feeling that the younger you is no longer alone
Love your self… love the world