There is this thing we have, which we all have. It’s called a past. And don’t worry. This happens to everyone. To keep this easy, the past is nothing more than a combination of our yesterdays. That’s all it is. The past itself is emotionless. On the other hand, we are not. In some cases, some of our yesterdays are regrettable. And sometimes, some of our yesterdays are painful and unforgettable. There are people, places and things that come up in our daily lives. There are triggers that link us back to old memories. This pulls us back to old emotions, which lead to the pathways of shame, blame and pain. Or more to the point, these are the links that take us down the rabbit hole of judgement and rejection.
We all have moments from our past that we would love to erase. This is life. And no one ever escapes unscathed. We all feel pain. We all have the momentary lapse of reason, which leads us to judgement of us and the way we’ve handled things. This is where the mind takes off and overthinking begins.
This is it . . .
These are the internal workings of the thought machine. This is why we find ourselves in self-defeating thoughts. This is why we are angry. This is why we are hurt and/or uncomfortable.
It’s the mind.
All of this stems from judgement, which is not to say that all judgement is inaccurate or degrading. However, in the case of past struggles repeating in our mind, our thoughts turn to judgement. We grade the levels of insults. We contemplate the math and the figures of unknown factors, which are multiplied by our perception. We consider all the factors of what happened or what we said or done. Then we inspect them. We investigate all the moving parts, all the players, all the assumptions and all the details, which are and will always be out of our control.
And what does this lead to?
This leads us to more judgement, self-destruction, sabotage and self-deprecating ideas, thoughts and depression. This is a road map towards being our own worst enemy.
Sure, we have a past. We all do. I have one too. And sometimes the past resurfaces. Sometimes the past comes out of nowhere, like an unwanted guest that refuses to leave. And sometimes I hurt. My thoughts become regretful.
Sometimes it seems like no matter where you go, the past is always there. Lurking. And there are the people who come along with their so-called helpful suggestions.
They tell you to “Stop!”
There are people that say, “Stop dwelling in the past,” or “You have to move on,” and “Let that go!”
They say this as if this were an easy choice. Or perhaps this is an easy choice for some people. Perhaps this has something to do with the way we judge ourselves and prioritize our thinking. However, in the land of unresolved tensions, letting go is complicated. Moving on is not always easy. Although the dream is to be free from the burden, the mind seeks comfort. Therefore, the mind wants redemption. The mind wants to recreate and resolve the unsolvable climate of moments that no longer exist.
Yesterday is gone, remember? We don’t live there anymore.
Stop living in the past is a great suggestion. Stop thinking about things that hurt you the most. This is a great suggestion too. Stop worrying about the things you have no control over. All are great suggestions.
Be good to yourself. Be kind to yourself. Give yourself a break and learn to be your own best friend. Allow yourself to be your own superhero. Again, all great suggestions. However, in the mindset of regret, suggestions like this seem impossible. And it’s okay to say this. In fact, I would rather speak honestly. I would rather scream openly and let this out than hide my feelings and let the regret fester in me like a sore.
It’s unfair. It hurts. Life’s hard.
It’s okay to not be okay.
It’s okay to struggle. It’s okay if we don’t see the big picture right away. And it’s okay if we feel out of place.
We feel lost. We’re at the bottom and the idea of climbing out of the hole is so overwhelming and intimidating.
It’s okay to be honest. It’s okay to cry or weep or scream. It’s okay because recovery starts with the first honest step, which is admitting something has become unmanageable enough to leave us powerless.
It is hard for me too. To live life, I mean.
I say this openly. In fact, I say this proudly. I am human. More than that, I am real. I have doubts and fears. I have a heart which beats in my chest and pushes the blood through my body.
But I also have more. I have a heart, which is the figurative kind. This is my source. This is my drive and my passion. And this is where I store the broken pieces of my heartbreaks. Sure, I have this too. I have doubts and concerns. I have this in me like the voice of a child, always afraid of the dark and always concerned that no one will like me or worse, no one will ever want to play.
There are times when a name comes up from my past. There are times when old memories surface and I am tasked with the projects of my personal recovery. There are times when this hurts. There are times when I am angry and frustrated enough to curse the sky. There are times when I look back at the unsolvable moments with regret. But either way, there is no changing what happened. There is no going back. There is no way to apologize to an empty room. There is only the here and now. There is only the understanding and the acceptance that the past is gone.
Stop beating yourself up. This is what people say.
And maybe we answer back or maybe we listen. Either way, the truthful response to this is “Don’t you get it?”
Do you think I want to live this way?
I’ve heard people say things like, “Well, if you really wanted to get better . . .”
This is where we can see that people do not understand the depths of heartache. The dismissal is cruel.
No one wants to hurt. No one wants to beat themselves up or suffer at the hands of the worst critic of all, which is namely us.
I would love to move on. I would love to push a button and all of this would be over with.
I would love to stop thinking about the past. I would love to wash away the regrettable yesterdays and have them become clean. I would love to be rid of my regrets.
Trying to change, alter or control any of my unchangeable past has done nothing but drive me crazy.
There are times when my thoughts are all jostled.
I want to run. Get away.
I want to jump. Get out of my skin.
I want to go.
I want to get away. I want to get away from myself.
I want to get away from me and you and from everyone.
I want the anxiety to stop. I want my heartbeat to slow down.
I want my mind to stop.
But it doesn’t stop.
I want to go, and get away; just leave everything behind.
I want the worry to stop. I want the impending doom to fade.
I want to feel, think, be, live and do better.
This is anxiety.
I have this too.
I choose to share this as my truth because otherwise, I can become victim of the lies, which have done nothing more than put me down.
What I do is personal to me.
I say this because this is me.
I am me.
It took me decades to accept this. In fact, it took me even longer to appreciate it.
It’s okay not to be okay.
Give yourself the permission to understand this . . . so you can recover.