I finished the first assignment from that MIT course I talked about.
If you’re really being honest with yourself and doing it legitimately, it’s draining, and it takes a long time. Hours.
I think that’s because it takes so much mental energy to look at where you’ve fallen short, and face why you are falling short. And you have to do that 18 or 19 times. It’s a lot. But it’s worth it.
Now I have this whole 360 degree view of what’s going well, and what’s not. And now obviously where you see what’s not going well, you feel compelled to do something about it. Well, at least I do.
Because I’m crazy, I distilled this review down to 52 areas of focus… one per week for a year… and I’ve been updating this blog… once per week… hmmmmmmm 🙂 So I’ll likely be writing about this for a while.
This week’s focus:
I give myself, and everyone who needs it, a blank slate going forward.
The focus is on forgiveness in relationships. I’ve written about this before.
It’s become blindingly apparent that this is my weakest area, so in theory, if I make big improvements in this area, my life should drastically improve.
Of course, it’s my weakest area, so improvement in this area is the hardest, and scariest.
The past is the past and we cannot change it materially, at least, as far as I know, no one has figured out how. Certain facts are always going to be certain facts. I used to have low self-esteem. I used to have a really uncomfortable allergic reaction to mosquitoes. I used to be fat. That’s going to be true for as long as I stay attached to this identity in this life.
But – these facts and the stories around them…. they don’t even exist anywhere except in our minds and in our memory. I realized that I’m better than I thought, I’m not allergic to mosquitoes anymore, and I’m not fat anymore. I look at old pictures of myself and I can barely believe I was ever that person. She was me, but she’s so not me anymore. She feels as if she’s a completely different person, and I can barely identify with her. My allergic reactions only exist in the memories of me and my family. Most of my new friends can’t even imagine me as overweight as I used to be – because that person only exists in photographs and in my memory (and the memories of those who knew me then). So, the past is just a mental construct. And I give it too much power for what it is, which is essentially, nothing. It doesn’t matter, but I’m making it matter.
Because the past is simply a mental construct in your own mind, that means you can actually control it and change it (in your own mind). You get to choose what story you tell yourself about your past. So, really, you actually can change it, materially. Because the only thing you have to change is your mind and memories. Because that is basically what your past is.
There are some stories in my past that devastate me and that I really don’t like. I feel wronged and I occasionally entertain this sense of requiring and needing justice, that I know is never going to come. I play the victim in the story in my head sometimes. Woe is me, blah blah blah.
It’s not serving me. I need to retell myself the story of the past in a way that I like more and that gives me peace.
I need to focus on the compassion I have for the people in my past – just like I’m doing the best I can, they were doing the best they could too. Everyone does. And you know what, those people in the past, they don’t exist anymore. Those are the past versions of them, interacting with past versions of me. Like this is all just a made up story in my head that I’m letting bother me; it’s the equivalent of watching How I Trained Your Dragon, a fictional story, and how I let it bother me for two weeks afterwards.
So, I’m going to do that. Or I’ve done that? I mean, really it’s just a decision. It’s not a thing I have to go do or a task I have to complete. I just have to think the thought, over and over, until it overrides old thoughts, old habits, and old patterns. I might fall into old mental habits now and then, but, maybe I won’t, I don’t know. But I just have to decide to be different. And once I’ve decided then, maybe I am different. Done. Check. Move on. Maybe it’s just that easy. Maybe it can be just that easy.
Once I resolve the past, which is something I can do on my own, internally, within myself, we’re left with the present. And then you just have to manage the people in your life and your relationships in the present, going forward. Because the past doesn’t matter and has been resolved. So it’s virtually a blank slate that doesn’t have power over you any longer, functionally, it doesn’t matter. So everyone has a blank slate, going forward.
And that’s what I’m working on this week.