That’ll work, won’t it?
That’ll make sure you don’t backslide into those old patterns of behaviour.
Holding resentment for the old you, now that you know better and are healing. Judging and finding yourself guilty of being less than you could have been.
And for sure, we all could be better human beings, all the time.
But we’re all doing the best we can.
Even you. Even back then. Even were you were being an arsehole, maybe even monstrous.
You were doing the best you can.
Doesn’t let you off the hook for your actions. If you need to make reparations, make them.
But, you didn’t know any better. Judgement should take that into consideration, especially when it comes from you.
But, now you know better and you look back in horror at the things you used to do and you’re feeling what?
Humiliation, shame, disappointment, anger, grief, but mostly humiliation and shame and we all hate to feel those two emotions, they are powerfully uncomfortable in our body and to our mind.
And we’re still unused to feeling our feelings, unused to processing them without reacting to them, so we divert to anger because we know that and we’re used to directing anger at ourselves.
We’ve been doing it most of our lives. So you hold that old you, who didn’t know better, in judgement and find them lacking.
Except it doesn’t work and it doesn’t help you.
Holding the old version of you in judgement keeps you locked in reliving what they did, the behaviour you used to perform before you made every effort to stop. And you did stop.
And now, here you are, revisiting it over and over as you judge the old you, leaving yourself open to the toxic emotional stew that drove you to behave like that in the first place.
Making it hard to stay true to the truth and growth you’ve committed to.
And this is just one more learned response, one more example of how we find ourselves lacking, not good enough. Fulfilling the prophecy of our deluded childhood caregivers who were emotionally stunted and unknowing themselves, even more so than us.
For me, when I first started learning and growing into all of who I am and leaving behind the wreck that I was, the part that I judged the most wasn’t the drinker but the victim. I hated looking back at how easily I capitulated in the face of bullying, especially in family circles.
And even when I truly knew I was right, which of course is most of the time 🙂 I gave in at work because my boss and another director couldn’t see my vision for a new product line and I gave my idea away to a friend who went in our mutual corporate customer and closed a $75million deal. That could’ve been, should’ve been mine.
And I did this over and over again and kept doing so for years until I learned about boundaries and standing for my truth.
But the worst was when I was outwardly at my most successful in my old life, and at my worst emotionally,spiritually and, it has to be said, not that good mentally and physically.
Having fallen out with my father, as we always did, because of his bullying and my acquiescence until I was pushed into eventual explosion, we didn’t speak for months, maybe years.
And I remember, after a particularly bad asthma attack thinking, that if I got cancer or a brain aneurysm and died, that would teach him. That would teach all of them. (My brothers and sister, aunts, cousins all of them!)
And that thought stuck with me for a long time. How they would regret their behaviour when disaster of some irreparable kind befell me.
Isn’t that pathetic? Could I have been any more of a victim?
Once I started learning about how our thoughts create the world we live in, I was, of course, horrified. Here I was, inviting death and destruction into my life, and for what? That they, my family, might feel a fleeting sense of remorse for how they had behaved towards me?
What a fucking victory that would be, eh?
Who wins? Not me anyway.
And I now look back at that young woman and I feel so sorry for her, it breaks my heart that she felt the only way to make herself heard and valued would be through suffering and death.
I love her and wish I could show her how she was harming herself and how she could make a better life if she simply learned to think differently about herself and what she wanted.
Holding yourself accountable for past misdeeds and misadventures and poor thinking and bad choices is one thing. Judging yourself and being hard on yourself and deeming yourself unforgiveable is entirely something else.
You did those things, made those bad choices, thought that way because you didn’t know different.
You wouldn’t hold a child responsible for their poor thinking. You’d help them understand why what they were doing was wrong and teach them a better way. And if they needed to feel remorse, you’d show them how to feel it, if they needed to make amends, you’d encourage them into doing so.
What you wouldn’t do it batter them with judgement and how wrong they were and how bad a person they were and how unforgivable it was.
Judging yourself doesn’t help you. And it doesn’t help anyone else either.
You’ve been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens. – Louise Hay
And that includes the you of the past. You don’t have to approve of yourself but please, for the love of God, stop criticising yourself. It doesn’t help.
Instead try compassion and if you don’t know what that feels like. Imagine how you would feel if you were thinking about someone else, some other poor sod who had the same upbringing, the same difficulties and made the same mistakes.
Imagine how you would talk to someone you loved, a brother, sister, friend.
And then talk to yourself like that.
And be grateful that you have moved on, that you are no longer like that, that you can look back and see just how wrong your thinking was back then.
You’re one of the lucky ones. You’re progressing, you’re changing, you’re learning and growing. This is simply the next stage. Prepare yourself and step up. It’s time for self compassion, self love, and self forgiveness.
I never feel like a victim anymore, I certainly do everything I can to never be put in a situation where I have given all my power away and anytime I feel it happening, I catch myself and stiffen my spine and speak up for myself, for the woman I am now, the traumatised child I once was and all the various ages and stages I was in between.
Loving yourself isn’t always easy, you have to confront unpalatable truths about who you once were and make peace with yourself. Holding yourself in judgement is actually easier than forgiving yourself and finding peace within.
But we’re here to do the hard work first and when we do, we get better at life and life gets better and better.
PS. Below you’ll learn more about how I can support you in your healing journey.
Think what would life be like if your thought processes were upgraded so you became unstoppable. What would life be like if you were able to step up and show up as that best ever version of you that you know you’re capable of?
Picture yourself thriving in life, developing an instinct for making the right choices, knowing in your gut you’re always choosing the correct thing for you.
Imagine any addictions, old anxiety and fear melting away, no longer influencing your thinking, your behaviour, your decisions. You are free to make better choices.
Think how it would feel achieving your goals with far less resistance, whether it’s earning an extraordinary income, being a rockstar in your business or career, or excelling in your personal relationships. You can do it, you have no fears about any of it anymore.
See yourself fully present and grounded, living with total fulfillment and satisfaction with how life is unfolding for you, with zero regrets, as you fearlessly carve your own path forward.
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