This post is excerpted from Simple Acts of Moving Forward.
We move forward, not by huge leaps but by single steps. There is some small but powerful thing you can do today to move your life in the right direction. Try this one if you like.
Do you ever feel like this? Sometimes I feel so needy. It’s embarrassing how much I crave attention and how much I hope for others’ affection and signs of approval. When will I learn to be a grownup?
Sometimes you need to pay attention to the small person who still resides in your soul. You can’t approach that person with the usual adult solutions. Forget the normal pep talk you give yourself when you need to push through the week. Walk right on by your favorite junk food or libation that the adult so often turns to for comfort. No, today you’re going to pay attention to the child who still lives inside you. And that child needs a much more basic kind of help.
Search out any image or record of yourself as a small child. Look for pictures, items from grammar school, references about you from other people’s letters or photo albums. Find old toys and books.
If at all possible, go to places you treasured as a child—a tree in your grandmother’s yard, the softball field at the junior high school, the indoor and outdoor spaces where you could play without being bothered by adults.
What did you really love to do as a child? What kind of people did you admire? Who scared you, or who could always make you feel better? What were your favorite foods, television shows, games, books?
Immerse yourself in that little person you were back then. Look at her picture and pretend that you’ve never seen this child before. Try to see what she needs, what she fears, what she dreams about.
Now, write that child a letter—to give her courage and happiness and hope. Tell her precisely how beautiful and smart and interesting she is. Tell her that God is really excited to have her life unfold on planet Earth.
Little Prayer for the Next Step
You know that I’ve not been too forgiving or accepting of the me who was a child once. I’ve tried to grow up and leave that person behind. But the child is still in here, needing love and encouragement. Thank you for giving me a fresh look at this wonderful little person. Show me how to love her better.
We invite you to use the Simple Acts for the Days Ahead page to share the simple acts you are working on and to encourage other members of our online community in their efforts.