Dear future self,
I know this might come as a surprise, but I'm not writing to you to convince you of anything you don't already know. You and I are quite self-aware and very cognizant of our strengths, weaknesses and the spectrum of quirks in between. I'm writing to you to remind you of what you vowed to yourself in the closing moments of this last year.
You vowed to put yourself first…with intention.
The word 'intention' means many things to many people, from the setting of broadly specific goals to the more mindful presence cultivated on a daily basis. But intention, for me, is drawn from the medical meaning of the word - the manner or process of healing a wound. I know you know what I am referring to.
2017 was one of the most brutally wonderful years of our life to date. We experienced a great love, massive geographical upheaval, unmentionable heartbreak and the beginnings (and endings) of some significant creative projects (well done on that doctorate, by the way). It was nothing short of spectacular. We loved, we lost, and we fell apart - and this is the place from which I write to you.
I am in the depths of a trauma I felt was building, yet didn't believe would actually happen. It's funny how we can be so aware of it and yet, when it breaks, we still break along with it. I hadn't fully considered the possibility that I would be here, experiencing a type of emotional amnesia that seems to have rendered me lost and unmotivated.
I know that time needs to do its healing dance. I know I will eventually come to understand the reasons why this happened. And I know that I am stronger than I give myself credit for. But how does one heal an invisible wound? How does one tend to injuries that the eye can't see?
I'm hoping you're much further along in this process than me, but I'm going to start by acknowledging it. I feel its edges and can see its depth. I am going to fill it with all the things he couldn't say, all the support they never offered and all of the value I never felt. It will overflow with laughter, joy, connection and belonging until it ceases to be a wound and instead becomes a scar. In time, I will look at it as a reminder of the fullness of life and of my capacity to love and be loved, instead of the gateway to a kind of despair I haven't known before now.
Future self, my intention is to bolster you with all the support and love you will need for the next chapter of your life. I hope you feel like you've weathered the storm in ways you didn't think possible, and are surprising those around you with the limitless nature of your compassion.
Dr. Marion Piper is a feeling, thinking human, currently navigating life back in Melbourne, Australia, after living abroad. You can connect with her on Instagram at @mepiper or at marionepiper.com.
Want to go deeper? Our friends at PositivePsychology.com have a created a great resource for Psychotherapy Exercises.
In the brief Ted video below, Meg Jay shares the essential questions to ask your future self thus enabling your present and future to align so you can start achieving your goals.