1. First, sit in a quiet spot where you won't be interrupted. Breathe deeply and remember that unhappy time many years ago. Visualize every detail and recall all the uncomfortable emotions—the loneliness, fear, anger, shame, and anxiety.
Notice any resistance that may arise. When I completed this exercise, part of me wanted to forget the past, ditch this, and run far away. But I listened to the wiser part of me that was urging me to push on, reminding me that it's safe to look within and fully experience my emotions.
2. Take some more deep breaths and repeat affirmations like, "It's safe for me to feel all my emotions."
3. Once you're fully entrenched in those uncomfortable feelings, imagine that you are an angel going back in time to comfort your younger self. This angel embodies complete peace, tranquility, security, and, most of all, love.
4. Picture yourself as a child and see how vulnerable you truly were in that moment. As the angel, hover over your wounded self and bathe him or her in a soothing white-yellow light. Hug your younger self tightly and kiss him or her on the cheek.
5. Finally, say to your child self, "You are loved. You are worthy. You matter." I knew I needed to hear those words again so I could really feel the truth of them. "You are loved. You are worthy. You matter."
6. Take some more deep breaths, inhaling love and acceptance for yourself. And so much healing.
Now that I've performed this exercise for the memory of when I hid in a hallway instead of entering a classroom late, I no longer feel ashamed or angry. Instead, I feel complete and total love for that younger version of myself who was simply trying the best she could.
And, really, that's what we're all doing.