The Power of Self-Therapy
Speak with Another Version of YOU!
By Dr. Michelle Kmiec, Founder OHH
There comes a time for all of us when we wonder how different our lives might be had we made different life choices. Of course, I am not talking about the small choices like, “I wonder how different I’d be today if I had eaten the chicken rather than the prime rib at last year’s holiday party”. Most of us have already forgotten what we ate for dinner just last night! What I talking about are the larger decisions we made that led us to be who we are today.
It is normal to ponder over the major choices we made. We remember these in great detail because although we may not have realized it at the time, subconsciously we may have known that these choices were pivotal ones and would have a great effect on our life.
They might have even led to major crossroads.
The point of the following activity is not to dwell on what could have been, because everything that you have experienced up to now and how you chose to handle each situation has determined who you are today. But rather to get in touch with old underlying forgotten characteristics of yourself so as to help bring focus and clarity to your life now.
The personal insights that you can have – will blow you away!
One afternoon not all that long ago, I decided to grab a bite to eat at a beautiful Colorado restaurant. The restaurant was still pretty empty and since I was alone, I choose to sit at the bar which also happened to be the best place to sit for the most amazing view of the rocky mountains! I sat smack in the middle with empty chairs to my right, left and in front.
As I was waiting for my food, an interesting thought popped into my head. What if instead of empty chairs surrounding me, I was surrounded by different possible versions of myself like from parallel universes?
Okay, hold on! I haven’t gone off the deep end here, at least not yet! Hang in there!
I found this thought to be intriguing because what would it be like to talk to the “me” that instead of taking my health in my own hands, fell prey to pharmaceuticals and believed in no cure? Or the “me” that instead of becoming a holistic doctor, instead continued on my musical path and toured the world as a classical flutist? Or how about my “youthful party girl” endeavors that certainly would have not turned out well at all?
The more I sat and envisioned this conversation, the more insightful it became. As if I could really hear the other “me’s” and the life they had led. Now I knew self-therapy was a thing and I had used it often, but this was different and way more exciting! I had no idea how powerful it could be!
Let me share with you some of my “possible versions of me” that could have been had I chosen to go down that particular life path or accepted that life as my reality. A few could have beautiful indeed,
- A flutist in a major metropolitan symphony
- A manager for FedEx
- A cocaine addict
- A slave to anxiety
- A victim of MS dependent upon pharmaceuticals
- A pilot
- A Martial Arts instructor
- A practicing chiropractor
What would the conversation be like at my table? Would they all be alive? What could I learn from each of them? What memories could each elicit?
I found this activity to be fascinating because although each possible version of me, in theory, had their own story to tell, their own unique experiences, and encounters with different people, however at the core they were all still “me”. All of these different versions of myself grew out of the same starting point, but each diverged toward different destinies.
That said, an even more fascinating realization changed my life forever – though I always intellectually understood that all my life experiences contribute to who I am today, I never truly accepted that it included the parts of me I felt ashamed of.
I realized that their role was equally, if not, more important and vital to the version of the “me” of today.
And still changing by the way.
At that moment, I began to feel grateful for all the possible versions of me that could have been and that triggered powerful love for myself.
And there is one more extremely intriguing conversation to have, the one with a possible version of you that has not yet happened! Imagine having a conversation with the “you” that IS living the life of your dreams. The “you” that has already gotten over any perceived obstacles and/or any fears you may be harboring. If you could have that conversation with this version of you, how might that affect your life today? How could that version inspire you? An interesting concept, isn’t it?
So what would your conversation with yourself look like? Are you ready to set your table?
Speak with Another Version of You Activity
Envision yourself sitting at a large square table. Let’s say that at least three chairs fit easily on each side for a total of twelve chairs. One chair is red, the others are black.
The “you” of today is sitting in the red chair and the other eleven chairs are all of the other “you’s” that might have been had you chosen a different path at the various crossroads of your life.
Imagine them all in as much detail as your imagination will allow. What would they be wearing? What types of personalities are at the table? Do you think that they are experiencing stress in their lives? If so, how much and why? What do you believe their states of health to be?
Even if you believe that one of your possible selves would have taken you down a road that could have led to your death, allow that version to also sit at this table.
Now remember, this is your imagination so everything is possible!
Think back to all of the crossroads in your life and then designate a chair to the people that might have been had you made different choices at each intersection. Start a conversation with each version of yourself sitting at the table. Ask questions and imagine how each would respond.
Here are a few more questions to help you out.
- Are any versions the anti-you? Like the total opposite of who you are today?
- Which versions of yourself can provide useful advice that is of interest to you and that you would have not thought of before?
- What questions do you have for each version?
- How does each version contribute to who you are today simply because you didn’t choose that particular path?
- Does this activity cause you to have any regrets? If so, why? Can you turn that regret into a positive learning experience that is helpful to the person you are today?
- After talking to the other versions of yourself, do you respect yourself more now? Explain.
Lastly, are you ready to accept that you did not choose to go down those other paths for reasons that best suit who you are today? And most