OVER THE YEARS I’VE SPENT SO MUCH TIME WINCING AS I’VE THOUGHT BACK TO EXPERIENCES – particularly conversations and interactions – contemplating just how much better or differently I would handle them ‘now.’
‘Now’ is really any point after it happened – maybe many years later, a few months later, or maybe it happened in the previous week.
No matter how far back it was, when these memories pass through our minds and we’re tempted to think of how ‘badly’ we believe we handled the situation at the time, it’s important to remember that we’re looking back at it through the lens of knowledge and experience that we have TODAY.
We didn’t have the same knowledge back then – we weren’t exactly the same at that time as we are today – even if ‘back then’ was just yesterday.
Indeed that very interaction (the one at which we’ve been wincing in hindsight) offered us information and learning – and from it we grew a little. As a result, we’re a bit different now than when we headed into the interaction originally.
We did our best at that time with the knowledge, fears, doubts, beliefs, amount of self-confidence – with which we went into it.
We must release the ‘being hard on ourselves’ and remember that we’re looking at the past with the frame of reference we have right now – which is not what we had back then.
So, HOW DO WE STOP BEING HARD ON OURSELVES AS WE THINK BACK TO CRINGE-Y EVENTS AND INTERACTIONS?
~ offer ourselves compassion, reminding ourselves that we did our best – the best we could – at that time with what we knew, how we felt, and what we believed to be true.
~ remind ourselves that no amount of thinking can change what has already happened, but that we bring forward the understanding and experience gained from that interaction, and trust that it will subtly impact all subsequent interactions in a favourable way.
~ intentionally draw our energy back from the thoughts of the past – whether by visualization and allowing whatever images arise in our mind’s eye to show us bringing our energy back, or just saying to ourselves ‘I am bringing all my energy back into the present moment.’
~ actively bring our focus back to the here-and-now – to what we’re doing, where we are, to what we can do right now. Taking action with something in our midst brings us into the present and takes us away from the ruminating.
Inviting you to trust that each experience you’ve had (whether an enjoyable one or a cringe-y or seemingly embarrassing one) has offered you growth and learning which is still serving you, and allowing you to be better and better equipped to handle every new interaction you have as you move through each day. ❤
(Photo by Lum3n, pexels(dot)com)