For so many people the beginning of a new year signifies a chances to get things started on new footing. We make promises to ourselves with the hopes of creating meaningful change in our lives.
“I will eat healthier. Make better decisions involving finances. No more 80 hour work weeks. I will call my family more. Spend time with friends.”
These resolutions can all have a great impact on one’s emotional and/or physical wellbeing. They can serve as useful tools in helping one to evaluate what is important in their life at this moment. There is something that is very appealing about new beginnings. They offer us a sense of liberation from the past.
We overlook the ability we have to be free from the past at any moment in time. More accurately, it could be said that we forgo the sense of peace and happiness when we are free from the past because it is more important for us to be “right”.
When we hang on to past thoughts about a person or situation that cause us a great deal of stress, we are doing it because in our version of the story we are “right” and that other person is wrong, we are the innocent one and they are the bad guy.
For every person we make into the bad guy we must play the victim by default. Short sightedly, we might enjoy making the other person the scoundrel because for a brief moment we get to be the good guy but this high will only last a short time. What we are left with is our version of a story that makes us very upset and physically uncomfortable.
We don’t like the effects that judging another has on us. But as always, go on your direct experience. Do you feel better when you see your boss/wife/husband/brother/mother/dog/whomever as a scoundrel or do you feel better (long term) when you see them as innocent?
A simple question to ask to clear this up is, “Do I feel better thinking about an innocent person or a guilty “no-good-nick” up to his shenanigans?”
We construct our own past and future in our minds and continue to replay the events according to our own interpretation. From this logic one could argue that we are never upset for the reasons we think we are but rather from the way we think things are. It is our thinking that makes things “good”, “bad”, “happy”, or “sad”.
The thoughts we came up with we are now projecting on another and creating our own personal hell. Freedom from these taxing thoughts would be a relief, but it will take giving up something that you may not want to give up: your need to be “right”.
We like fresh starts. We like interacting with people when they have a clean slate. How would you interact with someone differently if you did not judge them by your interpretation of their past?
A simple exercise.
Think about a person who appears to be causing you a great deal of pain, annoyance, discomfort. Think about your description of why this person is causing you so much trouble. You can be specific. Is there another way to see that situation? How do you thing it might look from their side?
Where would you be with out your memory of this person you are having trouble with? How would your interaction with this person change if every time you encountered this person you had no memory of their past transgressions?