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