Taming Your Outer Child
Outer Child and Your Future : You, Two Years from Now

Outer Child and Your Future

You, Two Years from Now Exercise

By Susan Anderson | Updated 7/25/15
A selection from Taming Your Outer Child

You won’t reap the benefits of this mental exercise until you try it yourself, so let’s get started. Get your notebook and record the date — two years into the future. Then:

  1. Conjure up a mental image of how you would feel with all of your current problems behind you: “It’s October 4, 20_ and I feel ___, ___, ___, because I have achieved all of my goals.”
  2. Now identify the goals you achieved between now and this future vision time: “In this future year of 20_, I have already achieved the following goals:___, ___, ___.” Circle one of these goals for target practice. (You may stick with the goal you selected in previous exercises or select another one.) You can repeat this exercise for each one of your goals.
  3. List the obstacles you had to overcome to achieve this targeted goal. Some of them involve Outer Child patterns that have been interfering, whereas others involve impediments imposed by external circumstances. “My goal was to ___ and to reach it I first had to overcome the following obstacles: ___, ___, ___.”
  4. Use your imagination to create a picture of yourself in the act of overcoming these obstacles. Get as specific as possible about the action steps you would have to take. “I took the following action steps to overcome my obstacles: ___, ___, ___.”
  5. Finally, envision how fulfilled, happy, and grateful you feel to have taken these steps and achieved your goal(s). Write these positive feelings in your notebook. “Here’s how grateful I feel now that I have achieved my goal(s) in 20_: ___, ___, ___.”

As you picture yourself taking constructive action you are creating space for new activities in your mindscape. This mental exercise stimulates mirror neurons, which allow your brain to mentally rehearse positive new behaviors. By conjuring up gratitude for this future achievement, you’re implanting your intended outcome more deeply in your brain and increasing its sense of as-if reality. These activities strengthen your ability to take these steps.

Where, you may be asking yourself, will you get the energy to actually accomplish all this? Believe it or not, the energy will come from Outer Child. As you learn to manage Outer, you will be able to direct its energy toward your intended goals.

Dear Me

Some people have an easier time writing this exercise in the form of a letter. Try it; write a letter from your future self to your present self. I call it a “Future Letter.”

Get your notebook and start by writing a future date (anywhere from two weeks to two years from now). Then imagine yourself in that future, acting as a guide to your present self, guiding the way to a life free of self­sabotage. Like this:

Dear Present Self,
I’m writing from the future to tell you that thanks to your efforts, you are in a wonderful place in life. Outer’s patterns are resolved.
Here is how positive you feel:
Here are the goals you achieved:
Here are the obstacles you overcame between now and _ (your future-time space):
Here are the new actions you took to overcome them:
Here is how wonderful you feel about our accomplishments and how grateful and blessed you feel to the powers that be:

Looking forward to meeting you.
Sincerely,
Your Future Self

You can incorporate writing a Future Letter into your journal writing whenever old patterns seem to be holding you back from achieving a goal. Go back to the future to find your way forward. Just use your imagination and picture yourself feeling happy, as if you had already overcome the obstacles and resolved the problems. Give some thought to how long you might realistically need to get to that future.

Like all of the Outer Child tools you’re learning in this book, this one works by strengthening your Adult Self to take command over your automatic behavior patterns. And in this case the process is not a purely intellectual one. Creating a Future Vision overrides the limitations of the intellect by increasing the trajectory and aim of your mindscape. Thinking your way out of deeply ingrained habits rarely eliminates them. Witness the smokers who are fully conscious of the health hazards of smoking but are unable to use this information to stop smoking. This exercise increases your intention to get past your usual sticking points of compulsivity or complacency. Your imagination helps you use your increasing awareness and sense of future to reach your potential.

As you continue through the book, I will guide you through additional visualizations designed to exercise your mind. These exercises engage the laws of attraction, the idea that by mentally focusing on future outcomes, you increase the possibility of those outcomes. If you’ve ever skied through a glade (translation: lots of trees to avoid) you’ve experienced a situation where mental focus is essential to avoiding a nasty collision. Ski instructors will say over and over again, “Don’t look at the trees!” because when you look at one you’ll find yourself skiing right at it! Of course, you can focus on positive outcomes instead, which is our whole purpose here.

As you’re working your way through the logjams of life, it helps to make frequent visits to this future time-space where your problems have been solved. It’s pleasurable enough, and only takes a minute. Let the picture of your future be a kind of visual mantra, something to return to again and again as you go through the day. It gives your brain a pleasurable, healthy stretch each time, engaging the laws of attraction.

Next: Dream House Visualization »

Susan AndersonPsychotherapist Susan Anderson is the author of Taming Your Outer Child and The Journey from Abandonment to Healing. More »
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