There are always moments in our life that mark what we feel is, at least, an important piece of our history. A core, integral part of our lives that will forever change the span of time. A life altering series of unfortunate events that has radically and irrevocably marked us forever. More often than not, these moments are quintessentially depressing in nature – an ill-fated time stamp on our hearts that leaves but only scars. And although these events are typically minute in the grand scheme of our lives, we seem to spend far too much time harboring the pains and fragmented pieces of these events. We spend sleepless nights recollecting the moments our hearts were broken or when we lost our job or even when we failed to accomplish the simplest of tasks.
We collect these negative thoughts and energies into little jars and bring them out on occasion only to reflect on all the suffering we’ve experienced and remind ourselves that it’s just going to happen again, so what’s the point in even trying? We beat ourselves up over what we couldn’t change or more importantly, who we couldn’t change. We drag our feet through the mud, hell bent on going through the day without purpose or promise. We let the rest of what we hold dear slip away as our own self full-filling prophecy consumes us until we are nothing but the very darkness we sought to escape from. We tell ourselves it’s okay to cry, it’s okay to be upset, and yet we allow that to make up our very existence for months on end, sometimes even years. We miss opportunities, we cancel social plans, we become bitter and see the world through a broken lense. And thus, our once minor inconvenience becomes a cyclical black hole of never ending pain and suffering.
It is easy to let pain consume you. Feeling hurt and upset is a natural human response. We don’t like pain and instincts tell us to avoid it. But there comes a point where you really aren’t in pain anymore, you’re just stuck in the delusion of pain and you’re allowing it to suffocate the very precious life you have been given to live. You allow the illusion of pain to take away your success, your relationships, your goals and your future. And while it’s easy to blame that one occurrence or one heartbreak on all your future suffering, the truth is that it’s not their fault, it’s yours.
Someone may have done something terrible to hurt you and yes, that is in fact, their fault. But the choice to wallow in self-pity and regret – that, is your fault. And I will even take it a step further by saying that by drowning in your sorrows, you are letting the person who hurt you win. Day in and day out, when you sit there moping about and crying over what you cannot change, you are giving them control over your life. Day after day you are surrendering your joy, your freedom, your whole being to something that doesn’t even deserve the bat of an eyelash.
Now obviously, we all cope with pain in different ways. For some, a good long cry or a drive in the middle of the night with your best friend is enough. For others, it’s a constant struggle to mentally tackle the day when your heart is hurting. For me, I am the latter. I have terrible anxiety that always tries to get the better of me. I struggle everyday to not let the past affect me. I lay awake at night replaying scenarios in my head, thinking that if I just imagine hard enough I can change the outcome. But the truth is, I can’t. I can’t go back in time and fix the broken pieces. I can’t mend the relationships I’ve lost or have things go back to exactly the way they once were. I can’t do my past jobs over again, and I can’t erase the things I’ve said when I was upset and hurting. But I do have a choice.
I have the choice to accept that I cannot change the past. But I also have the choice to accept that I am completely responsible for my future. I, myself, not any person, place or thing can decide how I am going to live my life. I am completely in control of how I react, how I face the day and how I achieve my successes. As are you. You are completely in control of your life and you cannot allow the bitterness of the past to burn the promise of your future. Whatever you have to do to move on and let the toxic influences of your life go, do it. Take a vacation, delete social media, write a book, change careers, whatever it is that will give you a fresh start and a new perspective, get out there and do it. You only live once so don’t waste your life consumed in the past. Smile and look at how bright your future can be.