Do you remember the first time you were really hurt? Do you remember the first time you fell off your bicycle and skinned your knee and then felt the sting after Mom sprayed something on it to keep the scrape from being infected? Did you ever fall or break a bone or do something so silly or stupid or idiotic and as a result, you learned your lesson through physical pain? Have you ever felt physical pain and someone told you, “Oh, come on. it’s not that bad!” but to you it was that bad?
before moving forward, it might be helpful to think back about the things that were painful to you in the past. Whether it was a mistake you regret or a time when you were physically hurt; I want you to consider this and how “Real” the pain was.
There is this thing, which we call the past, which is behind us now, but yet, somehow, the past has often remained in the forefront of our mind if you know what I mean.
This takes our attention away from the more pressing matters at hand. This drains us of our energy. This takes away from our ability to enjoy the moment. This leads to regret and shame and disrupts us from moving forward.
There is this thing we call “Yesterday,” which is gone now. We don’t live there anymore, but yet sometimes, we still do.
We hold on because we cannot and will not let go. We feel; therefore we want to find accountability for our feelings. We need an explanation. Why? is it me? Is it me? What’s wrong with me? Why d I act the way I do?
Why do I talk the way I do or look the way I look?
Why can’t I just be normal or more like other people?
Or, why can’t I just fit it?
Ever ask yourself these questions?
Why did I have to be this way?
Why do I have to feel this way?
Why is life like this?
The past is gone and no longer serves us. The truth is, our mistakes have already been made, which means no amount of pretending will change the unalterable facts of what we’ve done.
Why do we feed regret the way we do? The pas is gone, right?
It’s over. Isn’t it?
Well, not exactly. Sometimes, we are caught by the remnants of our past like tiny hooks that sink into the flesh of our memory. Sometimes, we are hooked to the mistakes of our yesterday, in fear of them coming to light or threatening us with social or emotional harm. The brain just wants to keep this from being so, but yet, the brain wants peace but somehow, we always go back to our regret which is far from a peaceful place.
Whether our attention is drawn to our mistakes or regrets, or whether we blame us for the imposition of others; whether we are simply paranoid or afraid to feel the sting of rejection or afraid to face the pain of being disallowed; whether its if we feel foolish, if we wish we made a left turn instead of right because something in our minds told us, “Don’t go that way,” but yet we still did, or maybe we spoke on the behalf of our character flaws instead of the rational side of our better judgment—nothing can undo what we did.
Nothing can unsay what we said. Nothing can restore what is wasted or gone and nothing can alter the unchangeable.
Period. End of sentence.
We try though. To save ourselves, I mean. We try and save face, which never works because the truth is truth. Deep down, we know the truth is where we store our regrets because we know why we acted or reacted.
Deep down, there was something within us that warned us, “Don’t do it,” and yet we still did.
Maybe we weren’t at our best at the time. Maybe we were giving in to an urge or a need. Maybe we were trying to honor a loss of some kind or a sad emotion. Or, maybe we gave into a behavior simply because at the time, the behavior felt good enough to help us forget something else. maybe we needed the attention or the distraction.
The mind is a funny place. All the brain wants to do is survive. The brain is supposed to help us stay alive. The brain does not want to suffer at all. And rejection, shame, fear, regret—these are all regarded in the man in the same way as physical pain.
Back when I was a little kid, I touched a stove because for some reason, I believed it cooled off. I quickly found out that I was wrong.
I remember I was told, “Well, you’ll never do that again,” which was correct.
I never did that again because my memory recalled the pain I felt.
I stored this in a file, which I keep in my brain under “Things I should never do again.”
I ever tell you about the time I lost my tooth at the bus stop?
I was a little kid (obviously.) I was wiggling my tooth for days so it would fall out and the Tooth Fairy would come.
Finally, the tooth dropped. I openly displayed my excitement, to which, and unfortunately, one of the older kids overheard me.
He immediately picked on me. Al the kids at the bus stop laughed at me. I asked one of my friends why and he said, “Because you opened your mouth and said something about it.”
He told me, “If you’d have just kept your mouth shut, nobody would have known and you could have just gone on believing there was such a thing as a Tooth fairy.”
File that under “Things I should never do again.”
Humiliation is affected the same as physical pain. Now, please keep in mind; I am not a doctor or a professional. I am just someone that needed to learn and understand why I think the way I do and why I’ve held on to so many things that only disrupt my ability to improve.
just, “Let it go?”
Isn’t that what people tell us?
Don’t people tell us to let go of our past?
We have to forgive ourselves, right?
One of my biggest fears (if I’m being honest) is public humiliation and public exposure of my mistakes and imperfections. I have this.
Therefore, I own this because these are the hooks that dug into the flesh of my memory. This does not make me weak or damaged. This makes me honest.
These are the memories from files that read, “Things I should never do again,” which is now a thick folder because of course, on several occasions, I did those things again.
Like you or anyone else; I have flaws. Like anyone else in this world, there are times when I spoke without the use of a filter.
There are times when I misspoke and times when I spoke without thinking with better judgement. there are times when I spoke out of anger and out of character defect.
There are times when something inside me was telling me, “Don’t say it,” but yet, I said it anyway and later regretted my actions because they were called to light.
There are times when I knew I was wrong, but yet, I went forward anyway. But why?
I’m a good person. Good people don’t do things like that.
Actually, good people say or do the wrong things all the time. The reason good people feel badly or regretful about their mistakes is because they are good.
Good people have a heart. If they didn’t feel anything then they would be just heartless.
I remember my first real hike. The climb was uphill, all the way, but unfortunately, I over-packed my backpack.
I was carrying too much weight. Also, I was physically carrying too much weight because I was very heavy at the time. I was overweight. I was unhappy. In fact, I was miserable because my body could not perform as I wanted it to.
I was out of shape and out of breath. Eventually, I made it to the first scenic overlook, which was empowering and inspiring.
My friend mentioned, “You’re carrying too much stuff with you.”
In a figurative sense, life can often be an uphill climb. It’s hard to climb uphill when there is too much on your back.
the question is how do we shed the weight?
I don’t need my regret to weigh me down. I don’t need the weight of my rejection or the angst of my anxiety to weigh upon my chest.
I just want to breathe freely. The question is how do I shed the weight of the unwanted remnants of my yesterday?
How do I remove the hooks that have sunken so deeply into the flesh of my memory?
One could obviously say, “Let it go,” which is the most common answer we hear.
Someone told me, “You have to surrender them.”
But how do I surrender?
“You have to accept them,” I was told.
I want to get rid of them!
I never liked the simple, best-foot-forward answers like this because they never seemed real to me.
I can see how my past has repeated itself because while stuck in fear of my past repeating itself, I drew my attention away from improvement, which actually had me make the same mistakes again.
I needed to learn how to improve. I needed to learn how to empower me. I needed progress. I needed time to come between “Now” and “Then”
It’s true. Yesterday is gone. Neither of us lives there anymore. It’s true. I have made mistakes which I wholeheartedly regret.
In full disclosure, in many cases, I wholeheartedly regret them because I was caught or discovered, which in my interpretation, threatened my identity, which again—this is ego. This is my brain afraid of pain. This is my brain reacting to old fears and anxieties.
I have a question. And it’s just a question, really. It’s simple
times have you suggested, “Get over it,” to someone?
How many times have you suggested, “Let it go,” to somebody?
In the case of physical pain, you’re bent over, you can’t stand or see straight; you’re hurting so badly that nothing can save you now.
No one can help you. The only thing that could stop the pain is if you were to pass out or take enough medicine to knock you out.
Now, imagine yourself in this much pain and someone tells you to “Let it go.” Would that work?
No, it wouldn’t work nor does it work with emotional pain and rejection because this affects the same receptors in the brain.
I admit to my regrets. I admit to the mistakes I regret simply because my wrongs were revealed. I also admit to my will to improve. Intellectually, I understand my mistakes and my ability to navigate away from “Burning myself again.”
Emotionally, I am afraid of the past repeating itself. I’m afraid of the pain and shame and guilt and all that goes on in between. I’m so afraid that the things I want to avoid most end up happening again.
I had to take a deep look into me. I had to realize that I cannot fix my yesterday. I can only improve now. This is what will create distance between me and then.
This is what will help me to feel better. This is the only thing I can do to heal emotional pain: replace thought with action. Make amends. Feel my feelings. Think my thoughts. And by any means necessary, I need to keep moving ahead.
Most of all, I need to check my ego.
See, the truth of the matter is our ego keeps us egocentric, which means everything revolves around us, when in fact, no . . . nothing revolves around us. There is an entire world going on out there. Not everyone is concerned with me or my past. And if they are, that’s on them.
So, have I let my past go?
Some days are easier than others.
Sometimes the pain comes in and I remember it well. The only way I can counteract this pain is to replace my thoughts with an opposite action.
Action creates change and change creates improvement
Trust me, it helps . . .