I’ve written before how the past can hurt. Each of us is evolving and changing, and hopefully we are growing. Still, our past actions have the power to create new suffering today for ourselves and those we love.
An old action of mine that I had eradicated from memory recently resurfaced in a way that deeply hurt the one I love. I don’t know how to handle this. My main thoughts are:
1. Take responsibility. Don’t try to deny or diminish the action, even if it’s something I will never repeat. I did this.
2. Put it in context. What were the circumstances, and what was my mental state at the time.
3. Identify what’s changed. Why do I believe I’ll never do that again? Have I worked on this area of my life in some way that I have new perspective, new values, or new boundaries?
4. Apologize. To the people who are impacted. And for people who may be impacted, consider a proactive apology.
What else can I do.
I don’t want to repeat the mistakes of my past, but I recognize like any human I am prone to past patterns. To master and overcome these patterns I must focus on becoming self-aware and improving. I’ve been hard at this work for years and I feel markedly different. I know my behaviors and actions now are far more grounded than they were in the past, and I will never repeat those same mistakes again.
Nonetheless I feel swindled by this cruel fact of life: that we can do our best to move forward making good choices and changing ourselves. But we can never really be free of the past. The power we have is what we do in the present.