Most people have a bad habit. Nah, I don’t want to hear about your overeating- cigarette smoking- drug taking- lying- stealing- cheating, or tantrum throwing lifestyle. Moronic as those things are, everyone has another even more idiotic talent that we indulge. Yep, most of us do stupid, and unfortunately we do it a lot.
We take a perfectly fine day, whether it is sunny and bright, or raining cats and dogs, and we knowingly attempt to destroy it. Or even better, we wait until bedtime, when we need to close down our brain and get some sleep. Then we open the door in our head that’s marked “Past Mistakes.” We deliberately step backward into yesterdays, where we slog our way through a pain-filled memory. Over and over again. And for some reason, we never try to stop ourself. Just like in childhood, when a tooth was loose. Knowing it’s going to make it hurt, but invariably a kid will keep wiggling and pushing on that tooth with his tongue. Everyone of us did it.
But what good is beating yourself up for something that is gone forever? It’s vanished in the thin vapor called the past. And continually visiting that garbage heap of regrets is bad for you. Trying to hurt yourself, so that you ‘learn your lesson?’ Repeated pain-bathing cannot make you behave better – in fact, it makes things worse. Revisiting a hurtful past experience only accomplishes one thing really well. It causes shame and guilt, with a large shot of self-disgust and anger mixed in.
Not exactly a self-worth builder.
“Oh yeah! Me, myself and I are always warring. “Me and myself” use memories and thoughts to beat up and tear down, while at the same time “I” is trying to live a life of peace and happiness.” Want to take a good guess as to who is going to win that unfair struggle?
Instead, try doing this. Deliberately live in the ‘now,’ doing the best you can to do it right. And when you step in it – as you definitely will – own it. Apologize to yourself and to whoever else got hurt. Fix it the best you can. THEN LEAVE IT WHERE IT BELONGS…in the garbage heap of yesterdays. When daytime memories intrude…turn on a podcast or music, get busy, or call a friend. Nighttime memories surface…. pray to your Creator to help you change the channel. Then do it. Read, write, think about plans for tomorrow, or relive a great memory. Anything to give your brain and your emotions a break from that unproductive pain.
I heard this said recently and it stuck. “Seems to me the past isn’t a great place to live, just a place to visit once, to learn from it.”
Don’t waste your life in regrets of what you’ve done wrong. Visit there just once, long enough to learn differently. And then use your gray matter to live life better and happier.
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