Speech To My Past Self
20 years ago, I purchased my first self improvement item ever.
It was a tape set from the famous Nightingale Conant Corporation entitled Success Strategies For Personal Achievement. It was very expensive for me then and I bought it sneakily, then wrapped it up and pretended a girlfriend had bought it for me as a birthday present, because my then husband would have created merry hell if he had found out I had spend hard earned cash on such absolute "rubbish" and would have made me send it back.
A few days later I was in the house by myself and took the tapes into the front room, put the first one into the drive, pressed play and that was that. A well modulated American gentleman started to speak, and he spoke about things that I thought about but that no-one else I then knew ever seemed to even acknowledge. It was an extraordinary moment. I really felt as though I had finally come home, that I was *not* alone, that there was *something* beyond daily drudgery and having to put up with being miserable in a miserable life.
That was a key moment in my life and one that resulted eventually in me having the finest, most comprehensive and most expensive collection of audio tape sets in the UK!
Of course, the universe unfolds in all ways as it must, but if I had the opportunity to travel back in time and talk to my little self, lying on the carpet and falling in love with both Brian Tracy and the entire Personal Development scene all at once, I would walk softly into the room, sit down on the then sofa and say very gently the following.
"The reason that you are feeling like this and are on your way to spend the next 20 years frantically beavering to improve yourself and in the course of this, failing to live life as it was intended to be, for whilst the storms howled in magic and the sunsets and sunrises shone on distant shores you were cooped up in cheap hotels with clipboards and note pads, surrounding yourself with very strange people who for the most part, suffer from the
same problem, the reason is that you are terribly unhappy with your life and most of all, with yourself.
You've made decisions and they haven't worked out for you. You're restless and dissatisfied and I understand that because I still am, after all these years and all this money spent on chasing something that in the end, cannot be accomplished in that way.
You decide that you don't know enough, that you don't read fast enough, that you aren't effective enough, that you don't earn enough money, don't have enough lovers of the enough kind of quality, and all of that.
Stop and re-consider.
Don't go to the Personal Development field driven by need and pain.
That's the worst state to be in and it will make you vulnerable to even more disappointment and suffering rather than to alleviate any.
Please don't obsess any more about your deficiencies for in fact, they aren't deficiencies at all. They are your personal set up, *they are what make YOU so utterly unique* and all is as it is meant to be.
You have a right to be happy just the way you are, if only you knew it, and you don't need to improve anything about yourself. You're you and you are truly all you need to be to be loved and have a rich life, full of excitement and wonderment. You are already more than enough."
Of course, she wouldn't have believed me or listened to me but I would have hoped that somewhere along the line, she might remember this strange woman and her words, and it would have taken at least the edge off the obsession to become a perfection that she already was back then, if only she'd known it."
Silvia Hartmann, 1999
* This article is based on an original post To MindList in response to a challenge - If you could go back in time to a particularly important moment/decision point and speak to your past self, when would it be and what would you say?