“I can’t go back to yesterday – because I was a different person then.” – Lewis Carroll 1832-1898
One of the hardest things to do is to try to right past wrongs. The truth this what once a wrong is done, it cannot be undone, and what we are really left to do is to do some form of damage control or to make sure that error isn’t committed in the future. Still the quote above often reminds me why it can be hard to move on from certain things, and why some people can become stuck where they are and not be open to doing the right thing.
Relationships are the trickiest area in which having one foot in the past and one foot in the future can often mess up the present. Each one of us tends to bring some bags into any relationship and it is how we choose (or not) to handle them can often strengthen or destroy what we may be trying to be with the person we are dating currently. Still, it is often important to use hindsight in the correct way, and a part of this means taking a serious look at the person we were at the time of our misstep to see where we were then, where we are now and what if anything has changed.
Some missteps say with us. Whether it be walking out on someone thinking that the grass is greener somewhere else, only to find you left where the grass was indeed the greenest and can no longer return there. Or how about trying to have your cake and eat it and when all secrets are revealed you are left holding an empty plate and being labeled a pig. It is not easy to really take what we need to know from those moments and move forward because the feelings of the moment – shame, anger, sadness, hurt and embarrassment (among others) are often the ones that resonate with us the most.
In talking to many elders and based on my own experiences, the wise are often those who can reflect positively on the sins of past and to embrace those lessons as they try to move forward and be better people. They have found ways to keep their feelings and ego tied into those times when they made mistakes in relative perspective in order to see clearly the lessons in their missteps.
Have you ever royally fucked up in any situation and had that moment where things just level out? I’m talking about that one where the true epiphany shows up, where you fully feel the gravity of the moment including the realization of what happens and the lesson in the situation? Isn’t it kinda like one of those moments where everything slows down and every thought that you have just makes sense and you KNOW it. Well, those moments are great and all, but the wise will say that they’re often the smaller part of the lesson – it is how things are applied that really makes a difference going forward.
Let’s face, it, no one is every proud of a mistake. We don’t go around saying “boy I can remember clearly how a cheated on _____. Man the cheating what fun but it was shitty when I got caught.” But, what the wise take humility in is knowing how manage their sins of the past and to use those teaching moments to not only avoid the same mistakes but how to better manage the situation going forward. Life isn’t always about what NOT to do, but knowing what TO DO in a given circumstance is just as paramount.