Letter to my inner child: trusting myself

betty ming liu Inspiration, Relationships 15 Comments

Hello, Little Betty. We meet at last. Even though you’re my inner child and have been with me forever, this is our first real conversation. Honestly, I had NO IDEA we could talk. I thought my survival depended on shutting you out. My denial kept you locked up and locked down. But now, I’m ready to bring you home.

Your days of hiding are over, I promise. No more criticizing you for not being good enough, pretty enough or chill enough. Come into my arms, baby girl. We’re both safe now. Really, it’s okay.

From here on out, I can give you the unconditional love you’ve always craved. Of course, you have every reason to doubt. You’re wondering, why now? How can I keep you safe when I’ve been so mean in the past?

Why my inner child can finally trust me

Your questions deserve honest answers. So okay, I admit it. I’m kinda lonely.

You already knew this from the weeping over the past five weeks. Ending a long-term, live-in relationship was hard. And moving his stuff out left gaping holes where his furniture used to be. Sorry if I kept you up at night with the wailing and rearranging of my books, shelves and chairs.

But I’m starting to enjoy the spaciousness. You might find the empty rooms quite pleasant, too. In the months ahead, we can redecorate and recover. Which brings me to the whole point of this letter.

If we start over at the very beginning, we can sync with newborn Betty. We can heal, from the very beginning.

Look at these photos. You were so fabulous! Our Mom took these pictures of us when we were a few months old. This was us, exactly this time of the year — in early Autumn.

Inner child smiles

Your funny faces remind me of who I really am, that I’m a glorious human being. That I know how to be in the moment.

Of course, I gradually lost the openness. Growing up got in the way. Let’s not go there — yet. Girl, we have an entire lifetime to open that door! I’d rather focus on our reunion and my new-found trustworthiness.

Let’s take baby steps on the journey. As always, you’re along for the ride anyway. But instead of squashed inside my dark thoughts, how about we hold each other close, in the light? And what if I let you lead the way? I look at those baby pictures and I think, I’m with her.

The only thing is, I have no idea where we’re going. For sure, we’ll find truth, beauty and probably fun. The whole point is to take things a day at a time. Or, bird by bird, to quote one of my favorite authors, Anne Lamott.

Instead of trying to find a specific journey, my hunch is that the journey is choosing us. Definitely, the safety of unconditional love awaits us both.

If you take my hand, wherever the journey goes, we will always be home because we have each other.



My inner child writes back 

Join us for next week’s blog post, when the Inner Child responds, with Little Betty writing back. In the meantime, what about you and your Inner Child? Where are you in your journey? Share a few words — or a lot of words — that describe what you’re both up to.  

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Comments 15

    1. Post
      betty ming liu

      Shirley, this past week was rough. I finally REALLY let loose and cried nonstop. One of my girlfriends said it was like I hit my bottom. And she was right. I think I’m better now. Thanks for the hello!

    1. Post
      betty ming liu

      Thank you, Joy. You’ve been an inspiration to me. I hope you know that. As for the long-distance thing, it exposed cracks in our relationship that I didn’t know existed. But as the saying goes, you gotta feel it to heal it. Thankfully, the healing part is gaining traction. I don’t think I could stand crying and losing sleep through another week.

  1. Cassandra Aoki

    I always look forward to reading your blog. I’m glad you are having a dialogue with your inner child and I will be happy to read her replies in your next blog.

    I really had only intended to write a letter to Pres. Obama to go with my copy of “Mango Days” by Patty Smith who was a classmate at Punahou before dying in her freshman year of cancer. My letter included the fact that I had my one and only live experience of seeing him at Baskin & Robbins where he was suppose to be working but was instead delegating to an adoring chubby female fellow worker and that I have his studio baby picture as well as others that flash on my screensaver like he was one of my own kids. Then I began to talk about how much alike his mother and I were in the fact that we almost ended up giving birth at the Salvation Army Home for Unwed Mothers in Manoa but that both UHM student fathers married us. We also both wanted a higher education and pursued it with our children eventually ending up living with their grandparents. Both our childrens’ bonds were broken with us because of that but we had only wanted to have them in a safe place so that we could pursue an education and then live with them again. Unfortunately, they went away to college and grew up with their own families and lived elsewhere while we both found ourselves fighting illness in Hawaii and at Mayo with her battle being short. In effect, neither of us had/have been able to enjoy a relationship with our grandchildren.

    It was because of the letter to Obama that my inner child at last was forced to think about it and finally decided my mother was not so unlike me and I could understand and forgive my mother (she died in 1999) after 61 years. Not because she wanted an education but that she had to leave us with my grandparents on the farm in small town Lamesa, Tx. and work for the Santa Fe Railroad. It always felt like she meant to abandon us and even though she came back and got us, I grew up feeling that abandonment and resenting everything about her. I moved thousands of miles away to Hawaii and got married and had children which she never really got to know while she doted on the ones that lived near her only increasing my resentment. When my inner child further thought about it , she realized that all my 5 brothers and sisters had stayed either in the same town she and my stepfather lived in close proximity in Texas. So, they had made the effort for their kids and themselves as adults to get to know her while I just slogged along, got divorced more than once and resented her at a distance.

    I had held onto the anger which has caused me much stress through the years but now I feel as time has passed since I wrote that letter that it’s suddenly gone. For the first time in my life, I feel at ease most of the time and fairly optimistic. I even have a special although probably “mass produced” thank you card although with Pres. Obama and Michelle’s signature in black ink as a keepsake as well as a freer inner child who I am positive is going to make more and more discoveries! To think I had been holding onto that book for almost two years wondering if I should send it.

    1. Post
      betty ming liu

      Cassandra, how lovely that your inner child stuck by your side so patiently. There’s a lot of material in this story of yours. It actually feels like multiple stories! Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed reading about your past.

  2. Jean Chemay

    Hi Betty, So so sorry you’re going through it. You’re a dear and good-hearted person. And an adorable baby. Call me if you want to paint or chat or go out for a bite or whatever.

    1. Post
      betty ming liu

      Jean, thanks so much for this. I’ve been thinking about having you over to paint. Soon — because the house is finally settling down. Once there’s room for us to set up our easels, you’ll be hearing from me. xo

  3. Toby

    Betty: Do be careful how you treat that inner child. My Great Aunt Agatha claimed to have one. She said its name was Ophelia and it lived in her left thumb. Agatha fell into the habit of holding the thumb up and having conversations with it. Apparently Agatha and Ophelia did not see eye to eye on many issues, the Hawley-Smoot Tariff being chief among them. It was while having tea at Schraft’s with some fellow members of the Daughters of the American Revolution that matters came to a head – or rather, to a thumb, actually. It seems Ophelia took a position on the tariff issue that Agatha found totally unacceptable – infuriating in fact. Agatha, heretofore a model of deportment, became enraged and began bashing Ophelia with, first a Parker House roll, then a slice of lemon pie and finally with a small tea pot. The other ladies were alarmed. Members in good standing of the DAR almost never bash themselves with tea pots in public. This led to a long sojourn in Dr. von Ryebrod’s sanitarium, during which everyone was told Agatha was taking “the grand tour.” She eventually emerged a calmer, sensible person but mysteriously without her left thumb. We never discovered what happened to Ophelia but I will confess that dark rumors circulated – midnight operations – hasty burials by moon light – that sort of thing. It was high on the family list of “things one does not discuss.” Sadly, Agatha never recovered her position in the DAR. Sympathetic though people may be, there is a price to pay for misbehavior with a tea pot at Schrafts.

    1. Post
      betty ming liu

      Dear,dear Aunt Agatha. What a pleasure to have her wisdom in this difficult time. Thank you, Toby, for your whimsy. I’m actually starting to feel like things are shifting for me, that the worst of the grieving is in the rear view mirror. Thank God for that. And thank YOU for sharing. xo

  4. NA

    I’ve been going through a rough time this week, too, though for a different reason. It is so hard to have to take an action that you know will hurt those you love, even when you also know is the right, good, and best for all involved.

    And then…there’s the inner Me who was so sure I was going to fail to protect her again, to allow my need for not hurting my parents to trump my need for not hurting Me. I absolutely had to go through all this rotten unpleasant mess of the past week that came from making The Decision in order for her to be able to feel protected, loved, valued. There was no other way to do it but to do it.

    The confirmation in the rightness of it comes when our systems respond, and the dark impenetrable fog starts to lift. Then our souls start to emerge like chickens from the coop after a rain storm has passed, amazed at the tasty bounty that surrounds us and ready to sample the newness.

    Many blessings to you as you emerge, too!

    1. Post
      betty ming liu

      NA, sounds like you and your Inner Child found a safe place. And you did it with tremendous care and tenderness. I hope to learn from that. Thankfully, I’m making progress too. At least I’m finally paying attention to her. Thank you for sharing and for your good wishes!

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