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August 12, 2019

An Open Letter to my Inner Child.

Dear little one,

This is a long-overdue letter that took me 30 years to write. What I am about to say are things I should have said long ago, but never did. I guess it recently hit me that we either get stuck in living in the past or hold each other’s hands and learn how to navigate through our knots. Together. So here goes.

I am sorry.

I know you’ve been through a lot. I know this because I am you just in the same way that you are me. We may not be the same person, but we’re not separate either. I grew up through you and I still carry your seed within me. Our stories are beautifully interwoven through a complicated web of experiences that makes up our perception of reality. We are the continuation of our ancestors, narrating similar tales of hope, love and a dream for a better future. Our interconnectedness is carved in our DNA, in the same way that the past, present, and future are intertwined.

Over the years, I felt your pain. I still do, sometimes. Or at least I try my best.

But this wasn’t always the case.

You grew up in a turbulent environment. You were a middle child among four siblings. But you were always obedient and kind, so you never demanded your parents’ love or attention. You simply accepted whatever was handed down to you because you didn’t want to be a burden. You knew how hard your parents worked to provide for you, so you felt guilty for secretly wanting more. And guilt is a powerful energy even for a grown-up to carry.

You were also an introvert who daydreamed a lot, thought deeply, and internalized emotions at a young age. You had intense feelings, just like me. You were gifted with the talent to feel deeply. Yet you didn’t have the tools to express yourself in the right way. So instead, you cried a lot. You were fragile, vulnerable and craved so much love because you were also a Highly Sensitive Person and an empath. Can you believe that it took me 26 years to figure that one out?

But you grew up with a huge lacking of love. Human contact wasn’t always available to you by your caregivers, and you often felt like you didn’t have the right to express what you needed. You suppressed yourself until you forgot how to speak. So you avoided conflicts as they made you cringe.

And I carried this habit with me into adulthood. I also avoided confronting lovers, friends, and colleagues on their mistakes. I preferred passive aggression to open confrontations. I couldn’t communicate like a mature adult.

I am sorry that social media wasn’t around to give you the insights that kids your age may have today. I am sorry I couldn’t help you either; that I didn’t recognize your talents that I admire today. You see I also was ignorant to why you felt things with such depth and intensity, and why your reactions were blown out of proportion.

Growing up, I hated the way you were. I couldn’t understand why you had to be so different. I just wanted you to be normal, like all the other kids. There were many nights when I prayed for you to wake up, to change, and to stop being too much.

But you never did.

So I pushed you away. I shut you off completely hoping that maybe I would change. I tried to be logical by accepting the labels people placed on me about being too sensitive. I tried to avoid the pain of feeling different; I even avoided crying in front of those who hurt me. I couldn’t express that I needed them to love, to hold and to caress me. But I still wanted them to recognize that I was aching, and to do the right thing.

I never understood why, but now I see that it was you that desperately needed love. Except that you always sought it in the hearts of undeserving people. What is it with you and unrequited love?

I often felt that you’re to blame for all the wounds I carried with me into adulthood. You were the reason I was never able to express and to be open with what I needed in a non-violent way. Did I tell you that every time I was in a relationship, it always got nasty? I just couldn’t find the right demeanor to say that I was simply hurt.

And for the longest time, I hated you. And I loathed myself with every cell in my body. I couldn’t see that you were so desperate for healing. So instead of healing you, I looked for healing in the empty hearts of others. In hearts that were not as intense, as deep or as kind as you are. So they often left me pondering. I often asked, “What is wrong with us?”

But don’t you see how similar we are? You felt unloved by your caregivers, while my partners often left me feeling empty. It was a vicious cycle that kept going for what felt like an eternity.

Until I learned how to speak to you.

Here’s the thing little one. You were fragile and consumed with fears and anxiety. But you were an incredible friend. Your capacity to love was inspiring and enormous beyond measure. I know this because that’s how I love too. Whenever I give out love, I do it with eloquence, grace, and innocence, while keeping your spirit lit with me. I believe that a child can teach an adult a lot about unconditional love.

You were such a great teacher. You inspired me how to love from a place that does not run empty, no matter how deep the wound penetrates.

I am sorry I shut you off while growing up. I just didn’t know what to do with you. I wasn’t equipped with the tools to nurture you the way you deserved. I couldn’t love you the way you sought love. Because the truth is, I didn’t have the space for the two of us. I was focused on getting by and on doing adults stuff that would bring us both glory and gratification, which was a bit selfish.

But you don’t have to be afraid anymore. I am here to protect you and to give you all the love you grew up lacking. I am much stronger now. Together, we make a great team. We traveled the world together. We cried together and we continue to heal our wounds together while learning how to extend our love to the world. Soon enough, we’ll be moving to a new place where we will fulfill everything we’ve ever dreamt of. We will accomplish great things together.

We will be inspiring, I am sure.

Thank you for being my companion all these years. But you can let go now. I promise it will be okay.

I love you.

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