New Series: Letters to my Younger Self

Editor’s Note: For some time now I have been hearing voices in my head. :) Voices that are a quiet dialogue between the different parts of me. The voice of wisdom gained is talking to the young one that forever lives in memory. No matter our age there is a young child that lives within. I listen in like an eavesdropper outside the window that is cracked open after the summer heat of the day has retreated. For 40+ years I have been writing about my life in journals, but only in the last few years have I begun to write “to myself.” It’s a different experience to write to oneself. I even hear myself respond with humor and wisdom. This series has been brewing for a while. I invite you to write your own letters to your Young Self. What might you tell yourself  and how might it heal you now? Let us know how it feels to receive letters from your Self. :)

Dear Young Self,

If you and I were to meet on the street in some time warp of a situation — a Back to the Future moment– I’d like to think that we’d share a meaningful moment.

You are potential and I am perspective. You have experiences to come that will impact you in ways you aren’t even imagining right now.

deborah bonnie young

Three adoptees: My younger sister, Bonnie and I and the family Irish Setter Charm.

Here is what I know after 50 years of navigating my own rollercoaster of a life: The day you were born a journey started; your journey. You’ll look to your parents for affection and security and you may find it every time you look for it in those earliest of years. And, that experience of having the most basic of needs fulfilled is grounding and necessary for your Self development. It may be a need for a smile from your mother or father. It may be a need for soothing after a scraped knee incident. It may be a need for being scooped up and held till you feel safe again after a bad dream—that you can return to sleep.

All of these small moments add up to form the foundation for developing your own sense of who you are and how you fit in the world. To be acknowledged by those we look to as our parents is the first interaction we will hopefully have as the newborn we are. And, ideally our parents stay present with us, support us as we explore a strange new world, and encourage us to determine our own path. Ideally, they want us to be true to our future Self, armed with a set of life skills they teach us through the years.

We are like the duckling born who imprints on the first adult it encounters. We will follow “mother” around seeking her attention to get our needs met. This we do until we feel grown enough to separate and do our own thing. Early experiences of safety and freedom will fuel you for years to come. It will also fuel you to speak up for yourself, to take the path that is yours to take, and at every age and stage of development express your needs–with a growing conviction that it was always your right to do so.

But, what if you are reading this and this has not been your experience?

I’ve been meaning to write you for a while now. I’d like to imagine that I could leave this series of letters in a time capsule that would appear at moments when you needed them most.

What you don’t know yet young one is how much of a rollercoaster growing up will be in the best of families where there is a sense of connection, community, as well as freedom.

What if you had learned some things about life a little sooner? What might you have done differently?

For starters, I’m wishing I had stood up for myself a whole lot more at every age I can remember. I’m wishing I had that life skill much earlier. But more on that next time.

For now, know that you are loved and you are doing well having learned from every experience you will have had.

With appreciation,


To be continued…

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