For many of us, it’s a familiar thing to talk to ourselves inside our own head. If you’re not feeling great about yourself, that conversation will often be quite negative and blaming. Which part of you is that critical voice? And which part are they talking to?
The fact is we all have multiple selves. We have different versions of ourselves that we present in different situations. We have times when we’re up, times when we’re down. We have the person we used to be years ago, and if life has changed us then that person can be hard to recognise.
One person we don’t often think about is our future self. We might project our current self into the future, perhaps having achieved some longed-for goal, but that’s different. There’s evidence to suggest that connecting with your future self can have benefits for the way we live now, the choices we make, how centred we feel on our path forward.
There are different ways to connect to your future self, and there is no one right way. Try taking a few minutes out to try one of these:
- Take ten minutes and sit somewhere peaceful, close your eyes, let your shoulders relax, let your body soften. Now imagine yourself ten, twenty or thirty years from now. Picture yourself as older, looking different, imagine every detail carefully. You have successfully navigated years of life and you are wiser. You are in a good place and you are looking back at yourself with kindness. Now let yourself move into future you and inhabit that space. Feel the reassurance that you did it, you found the strength and you had the luck to get where you wanted to go. Enjoy that feeling and look back at yourself now. Feel compassion for the younger you and the ways you can lose faith or get knocked off course but still keep trying. Reassure the younger you: “You can make it, just keep moving towards me.” Let yourself feel that reassurance and then come back into yourself, stretch, relax, and open your eyes.
- Get yourself some paper and pen or a laptop or your phone – wherever you do your writing. Picture yourself in the future and write down every (reasonably realistic) detail of how you want to be, from the trivial and superficial, to deeper aspects of character. Write down everything that is important to you. Then highlight the ones that matter the most. Then ask yourself the most important thing you need to do to get there. Don’t write down the problems or what will stop you – just make a list of the most important things you need to do to get to Future You. Look at that list every day, don’t think about the problems, just absorb what you need to do.
- Give Future You the pen! Take a few minutes to relax into Future You, feel calm and reassured. Look back at yourself with compassion, knowing all the things that can get in the way. Let Future You write the advice that you need. Write in a way that is kind and fair but also with high expectations. If present-day you decides to put things off or not bother, you make things harder for Future You. Future You knows it’s not always easy but expects you to put in the effort.
By connecting to Future You, you sharpen your focus on what really matters, you stop being distracted by things or people that clutter the path forward, you learn what to cut off and what to keep, and you can develop a calm focus and belief in yourself. You are not alone. Future You has your back. So give it a try – start talking to yourself!