It's that time of year when everyone resolves to start eating right and exercising and to lose ten pounds. Or a hundred, as the case may be. I, on the other hand, have made only one resolution for 2011. It is, quite simply, that I will stop beating up on myself.
You see, I am my own worst critic. And, yes, I can just hear someone out there - maybe several someones - saying, "Not while I am alive!" But, no, I really am. Always have been for as long as I can remember. I'm not sure why that should be true or what made me this way, but I forever criticize and second-guess myself and blame myself for failures. Failures of relationships, failures in my career, personal shortcomings...you name it. I've agonized over it, shed tears over it, wished that I could take it all back. But I can't.
My Epiphany came three days early this year. Today I finally realized the past is past. It's over. I can't change what has happened. I can only learn from it and try to do better in the future.
It's not that I'm a bad person. I have never gone around deliberately hurting people or animals or causing havoc in the lives of others. In fact, I'm a pretty good person, a moral person. My intentions are to always do what is right and just and honorable. If I sometimes fall short in the execution of those intentions, it is because I am human.
And so, for 2011, I have decided to quit dwelling on the past and just forgive myself for everything and move on. A new year and a new slate. When, on some future sleepless night, I start to slip back into my old habits of recrimination against myself, I will remind myself, "That was the old me. I've stopped all that. I did the best that I could - the best that I knew how to do at the time and I WILL NOT second-guess myself!"
I think that I am not the only one who needs to make this resolution. How much precious time do we waste in reliving the past and replaying those hurtful scenes in our heads, in judging and finding ourselves wanting? To be self-aware, to regret our mistakes is one thing, but to wallow in them and allow regret to rule our lives is not healthy and not helpful. We wouldn't do that to anyone that we loved. Why do we do it to ourselves?
If you are one of those people, one of my fellow sufferers, I invite you to make this resolution along with me. Make it and mean it! Forgive yourself and move on.
There. I feel ten pounds lighter already.