TTC: This photo is of me around 4 or 5 years old. Goggles on head, cape towel around my shoulders. Robin to my brothers Batman. I love this photo. It reminds me who I really am, before life got in the way. When I start to give myself a hard time I look at her little face. I see her fun, cheekiness and gentleness too.

I have this photo in a frame on my desk at home next to my computer, and each day when I come to write I see her sitting there. Anytime I want to say something mean or unkind to myself I look at this dear face, and know that I could never say these things to her. Instead I try and give her some good advice. It feels a lot better. Sitting in the crease of the frame at the bottom I have written on a piece of paper what I want to think about every time I look at this photo. Mine reads, “Let me stay gentle.” Her face stares back at me and reminds me. At my core, this is who I am.

If you’ve been giving yourself a hard time lately, try this with me:

  • Find an old photo of you when you were little
  • Put it in a frame and place it somewhere prominent
  • Write one sentence you want to be reminded of when you see this photo, eg.
    • ‘I’m so proud of you’
    • ‘Let me be happy’
    • ‘I am loving and kind’

When you go to tell yourself off or speak harshly, see if you can connect with that little one instead. Can you sigh out, soften your shoulders and place your hands on your heart. Your inner child might feel very far away, but she isn’t. She is still in there and needs your love now more than ever. If you can, start the process of reconnecting with her. Bring her back towards you and make friends with her once more.