An exchange with my new boss got me thinking about the importance of looking forward, rather than backward. We were discussing a body of writing that had been done 2-3 years ago, in unflattering terms. However, something had changed within the past 6 months, as the most recent publications were quite different – and good.
He offered to explain the reason for the differences, and the history, but I said that I didn’t want to hear it – it wasn’t important. I want to deal with what’s going on NOW, and bring it into the future.
Holy cow! How many times have I beat myself up about what I did or didn’t do 5 years ago? Or longer? How often have I stopped myself from trying something because either it didn’t work last time OR I had no idea if it would work? How often have I been afraid to try something?
We are shaped to some extent by events of the past. Some events were wonderful, and others were not. Frankly, what happened isn’t nearly as important as the way we reacted and the lessons we took away. If we took away fear and lack of confidence, or, learned to swallow the emotions with food, and then repeat the pattern, we’re damaging ourselves far more than the original event. However, if part of this reaction gave us, say, a great sense of humor, let’s hold onto it!
Keeping what worked, and tossing what didn’t, is the real challenge, and the real path to health and happiness. And we then have a wonderful opportunity to change the script – change our reactions – try something different.
So, I’m planning to stay in the present, with the many good lessons I’ve learned over the years. Holding onto the good lessons works much better for me than holding onto the fear and pain as I move forward.
Breathe. We can all do this.