Jan 17, 2019

Dear Future Self, Do Not Forget The Promise You Made


I wrote a letter to my future self about a promise I have made since my daughter was a baby and I intend to keep it. I suffer from anxiety, so I worry almost every day that I won't be able to keep this promise. I thought if I wrote it down, then I wouldn't have to worry as much because I will have this reminder to turn to. Plus, writing things down tends to help us remember things better (source).

I am sharing this personal letter on my blog as I think this is a promise every parent should make to their child, and maybe some parent out there could use this letter right now.

Or maybe not even a parent, but maybe someone who wishes they had a letter like this from their own mom, dad, caregiver, etc. I personally know it's not the same if you can't hear it from your own parent, but it may still help with healing.


Dear Future Self


Dear Future Self,

I am writing this letter to you as a reminder of a promise you had made to yourself and to your child, and to remind you to keep it. This may be hard to hear as we humans have this defensive instinct that kicks in when we hear something negative or bad about us, and you may have already said things you regret before you remembered your promise or to read this letter, but it's not too late. It is never too late to say you're sorry.

You promised yourself that if your child ever came to you and told you that something you did hurt him or her, that you abused him or her, you would own it. You wouldn't deny it or try to make yourself feel better by claiming others have it worse or that you had it worse. Your pain does not belittle his or her pain. He or she has every right to feel hurt and you will listen, you will fight the urges to defend yourself, to make excuses. You will hear what he or she has to say. You will acknowledge his or her pain, own your mistakes, and you will apologize.

If you have already forgotten this promise and didn't remember or read this letter in time, you can still make it right. Depending on how things went down, you could call him or her and tell him or her you are sorry and that you want to truly listen to him or her this time, or you could send him or her an email or write a letter, or whatever form of communication his or her generation may be using at the time.

The important thing is that you acknowledge you hurt him or her, that you admit what you did was harmful. You didn't have a perfect childhood, and though your child may have had a better one, it is still not going to be perfect. You did your best, you were and are an amazing mother, but you messed up. We all make mistakes, but you have to own those mistakes, and you have to apologize should anyone have gotten hurt in the process, especially to your child.

I hope you never have to read this letter. I hope you never forget the promise you made yourself. However, if you do, I also hope you don't beat yourself up and understand it is okay to make mistakes. I hope you take action to make things right, and I hope things work out between you and your child in the end.

With love, 
Your Past Self

21 comments:

  1. omg i needed to read this today esp for my future self and what i want to want for me. thank you!

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  2. Such great thoughts and advice. You are so right. There is no such thing as a perfect parent. Our kids don't need perfection. They need us to love them and show them how to say I'm sorry and move forward.

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  3. Now I got some gist of what I can write to my future self.But most important of all. But I would share this with my friends who are married or expecting a child, maybe this will help them to go through their marriage life.

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  4. I have done something similar: not a letter to myself, but I use a 3 year diary and every time I start a new one I write in the same "goals" I've had since my eldest was in the womb. A way for me to remember what way I wanted to and hoped to parent before I'd even held one of my own in my arms. I think it helps us keep focus and if we stray to know its not too late to go back and to work towards your parenting goals :-)

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  5. You mention so important things in this post that I may actually print it and use in sessions if possible. You have a plan if things dont work out, you know to admit your sorry, you know to own to your mistakes so that the healing can begin and I love it all!

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    1. Yes! Feel free to share and it use if you think it will be helpful! I was actually inspired to write this after a therapy session because all I really want is an apology, for the person to admit that what they did was wrong. Instead they made excuses, said I was lying, and I definitely don't want to do that to my own child.

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  6. Very interesting letter! It is always a good thing to say you're sorry when you make a mistake but to remember that mistakes are to be made.

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  7. I love this idea, we need to make the changes to our childhoods and our children's childhoods, and sometimes we need to remind ourselves of that. Thank you for writing this

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  8. I think it is so important for our children to see that we are not perfect. I am a perfectionist and often have to remind myself not to project that onto my children. Think I am getting better, but I'm a work in progress! ;-)

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  9. This is wonderful, I love that you wrote it to yourself �� I think we all need letters like this to remind us we are not perfect and are constantly working to better ourselves!!

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  10. Letters to our future, or past, selves are important I think! Thanks for being so open and transparent in sharing yours!

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  11. Kristine Nicole AlessandraJanuary 18, 2019 at 5:32 PM

    Loved this post so much! If I had the chance to talk to my future self, I would just say, "you did a good job!" Life is continuous learning and we should be thankful that we have this opportunity to wake up everyday to love and be loved.

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  12. Wow! This is a very intense, brave and inspiring post. I applaud you for your honesty to yourself and to the public. Of course, we all hope you'll never see the reason to read this letter because you won't find yourself in the situation of having hurt or abused your child. But having made a documentary film about child abuse, I have seen that sometimes parents aren't aware the hurt they're causing (after all it's not always physical) - and that possibly the most important thing that the child needs is for the parent to own what they have caused. Great post! Thank you!

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    1. Yes, I actually believe that it's impossible for a parent to never abuse their child. As every parent yells or raise their voice at one time or another, or maybe even say something hurtful or mean to their child. It's going to happen, but it doesn't make it okay, and I think too many parents forget to apologize to their children for their inappropriate way of handling things. The thing is, the kid won't forget, I know from experience, and that wound lasts for a very long time.

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  13. I never thought of writing my future self a letter regarding my parenting. It is quite easy to get caught up in habit and routine and miss sight of your goals.

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  14. Felt so nice reading this! I think everyone of us needs to read this atleast once for our future self.

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  15. OMG such a brave and inspiring posts. I write letters to my future self too. Its a way for me to remind myself how far I have come. And if I do be a mum one day, I need to write a post like this too.

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  16. This is such an inspiring post. This is a great reminder to put us on tract and remind us the promises we once made to ourselves.

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  17. This is a brilliant idea. I would love to write one for my future self too as I tend to be hard on me. Thank you for the inspiration. To be honest, this is exactly what I needed today.

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  18. Great idea, I wonder what I would say to my future self? I suppose as long as I'm happy I will be pleased

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  19. True. I have a 5yo and one of the harder things to navigate is helping her be strong and fight for herself without making her feel like things aren't important. I work really hard to let her know she should tell me everything and for the small things (kid takes her toy or tries to draw on her with a crayon), she has to talk to the other kid. For the bigger things (pulling hair, hitting, name calling) she needs to tell the kid no and stop first and then tell a teacher/adult if that kid persists. For the really big/hurtful/dangerous things, she should go straight to the adult. But always tell me too. Raising kids to be independent and safe is hard and WE WILL mess up. Knowing that and doing our best is important imo. But totally my two cents! You got it, mama.♡♡

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