This exercise will help you develop self-compassion. It’s vital to be aware that defusing from our thoughts should not involve self-ridicule or being hard on ourselves for having such thoughts. You are not ridiculous. You are human, and human language and cognition are like a tiger we’re riding that inevitably leads us into some dangerous territory. None of us can entirely prevent unhelpful thoughts from forming in our minds.
Take a difficult thought that goes back a long way in your history, and picture yourself as young as you can while having that thought, or others like it. Take a little time to picture what you looked like at that age-what your hair was like, what you dressed like. Then, in your imagination, have those words come out of that child in the voice of you as a child. Actually, try to do it in his or her little voice. If you are in a private place, try to reproduce the voice out loud-otherwise, try to hear it in your mind. And then focus on what you might do if you were actually in such a situation and your goal was to be there for that child. Picture yourself helping the child, such as by giving him or her a hug. Then ask yourself, “Metaphorically, how can I do that for myself now?” and see if some useful ideas come up.