Dear younger self, not everything that you did was your fault. You were born to parents who did their best with what they had and what they knew. No one could have imagined that the first few years of your life would form who you are today. You had no control over that part of your life and the hand that was dealt to you was just the way it was.
When you were left alone to cry yourself to sleep, who would have thought that you would form habits such as rocking yourself to sleep, picking the fluff off a blanket, rolling your fingers on the corner of a sheet, and many other habits you continue with today. When you were left in the dark, who would have known that you would grow up fearful of the night. When your bedroom door was closed to stop you from coming out when woke from a bad dream, who would have known that you would have nightmares.
So, you began to talk to yourself to find solace, with that voice.
When you were two you became naughty and needed to be disciplined. Smacking, going to bed without dinner, and similar punishment was the way to teach you a lesson. Refusing to eat what was on your plate meant that you spent long hours sitting at the table until all the food was gone, despite you dry-reaching with each mouthful.
When you were naughty at school, you were slapped, smacked, strapped or caned. When playing with your 'friends' at lunchtime you hoped you were picked early for the team, you never wanted to be that last one picked. When you lost at sports you felt like a failure, when your exam results were poor you believed you weren't intelligent, when you were bullied you felt inferior and isolated.
That voice was there for you though, and you began to talk with it more and more.
At high school, all your mates had a girl or boyfriend, so you had to have one just to fit in. You wanted the latest gadget but your parents couldn't afford it so you did whatever you had to to get one. You began to worry - am I too fat or too thin, too ugly or too beautiful, to good or too bad - and why was I so different to everyone else.
But, you still had that voice to talk to.
As the pressure of 'the world' came down on you to achieve, you turned to alcohol and/or drugs to escape the pressure. In particular, to escape that voice inside your head that told you that the best you could hope for was to be 'normal'. That voice, the one that 'guided' you throughout your life; the one that comforted you when things went wrong, the one that made you feel guilty when you did bad things, the one that sought revenge on those who wronged you, the one who wanted you to be like everyone else, the one who....
That voice, the one that eventually took you down. The one that told you that you were a failure, a loser, not good enough to be around. The one that blamed you for everything that went wrong in your life. The one that you had relied on so heavily was now turning against you.
How could that voice, my only friend, do that to me? You were all I had and now you are also against me.
That voice. I wish I had not listened to that voice as much as I had, I wish I had known that if that voice talked to me too much that I could stop it, I wish I had known that I could control that voice, I wish I had been told that I could use that voice to help me, I wish I had been told that everyone has that voice. I wish.....
Imagine for a moment if someone had told us when we were young that we all have that voice and the only time to listen to it is when it is telling us good things. imagine if we could learn to control that voice and use it to our advantage. Imagine if we could turn that voice on and off like a switch. You can.
'If only', two words filled with guilt and regret, and we know that guilt and regret will take us down. 'It was what it was' which made it 'is what it is'. The good news is that you now know about that voice inside of you, that great news is that you can change everything from now forward, including your past self, from today.
That voice is there for a reason, to keep us safe, but only if you know how to use it.