Befriending our younger selves

My partner and I are both in a process of befriending our younger selves, at a time when that younger self needed support.

For her, it’s relatively early childhood, and for me, it’s early and mid-teens.

I spend time with that version of me that’s struggling and has low self-esteem, social anxiety, feels isolated, not seen and understood, wants to hide, and so on.

I am with him. I sometimes have a dialog with him and listen to him and his fears and dreams. I see him and understand him. I am a mentor to him and share what I have learned from living longer and seeing what’s possible. I invite him to explore how it is to feel loved, connected, and follow his passion.

A few times, I have used tonglen with him. I visualize him in front of me, I breathe in his suffering and confusion as black smoke, and breathe out light that fills him and he becomes that light.

And mostly, I am just with him.

When I check in, I notice how he is changing. There was a noticeable shift relatively early on, and now a slower shift. He needs time to readjust and realign, and that’s more than OK.

Why do I do this? When I look back through my timeline, this was the period with the most confusion and suffering, and who I was then is still with me. He is still a part of me. So it makes sense for me to befriend him and help him heal and find a healthier more enjoyable version of himself.

How do I do it? I have already mentioned a few things. I visualize and connect with him. I spend time with him. I ask him questions and listen to him. I dialog with him. I share with him what I have discovered since. I recognize him as having my nature. (To me, he is consciousness, a form within the consciousness I am.) I allow him to be exactly as he is, and find love for him as he is. I do some tonglen with him, after first asking if it’s OK. I shift into Big Heart and find him as love and bathe him in love and allow him to soak in it and realign within it.

I have done this for a couple of weeks now and will continue since he still appreciates some active support.

Note: This is a general outline and there are a lot more wrinkles in the actual exploration. For instance, I noticed a part of me that doesn’t like this particular younger version of me. (Which is understandable since it was a difficult period of my life.) So I am including that part of me in this exploration. I listen to it. Find understanding. Am with it. And so on.

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