Allow me to begin this week with a story.
A few days ago, I wanted to organize a lunch and movie outing with my friends. It’s winter, it’s cold, and I had been feeling a bit isolated. So, I sent out a group text invite with the date and time. No one responded. Well, at least not right away. Later on, people started chiming in with reasons why they couldn’t make it. Their reasons were totally legit. Not only was it supposed to snow, but Covid cases are back up thanks to Omicron, and people are wanting to stay home. But that didn’t matter in the moment. I spent about an hour feeling rejected until I realized what age I was that night.
I was 14 years old and a freshman in high school. I was terribly lonely and had no friends. I know now as an adult that there were classmates that probably would’ve hung out with me, but I had such low self-esteem that I repelled just about everyone. Due to a traumatic childhood, I truly believed I wasn’t worthy of friendship and that I was the world’s biggest loser at my school. None of this was true, of course, but I believed my thinking back then, and having no one say yes to my invite to hang out as an adult sent me right back to that time.
Thankfully, I now have the tools to address these feelings of rejection. I decided to go visit my inner child- or in this case, my inner teenager- and have a little chat with him alone in our high school auditorium. I comforted him and let him know that nothing is true in his head. Most importantly, I reminded him it was okay to feel whatever he was feeling. Finally, I told him I was always around if he needed to meet again.
If you’re having a strong emotional reaction to something in your life, do you ask yourself which age you are in that moment? You might be surprised at the answer.
By Clint Fletcher, Editor-in-Chief, Recovery Club America