It’s a typical human tendency to forget about the millions of wins we achieve in our day to day lives and get stuck in certain recollections of the past. Every day, people bring light to the lives of others in such countless and minuscule ways that we stop taking notice. It’s easy to lose count of all the ways we make a positive difference in the world.
Whether it was an event in our personal or professional experiences, it’s imperative to remember that we are not the same person we were yesterday, let alone weeks, months and most certainly years ago. Even tomorrow we will be slightly different from the person we are today. The difference may be subtle, but our souls change shape ever so slightly each day. So of course, how we responded to something twenty years ago is going to be vastly different than how we would respond to the same event today. Even though I recognize this, I still have to sit myself down and have a chat on a regular basis.
It doesn’t make any sense at all to attach a negative emotion to a past experience. The situation happened exactly the way it was supposed to for all the souls involved to learn and grow.
I still reflect back to how I handled a particular situation in the workplace back in 2017. Yes, that’s right, 2017!!!! The exchange was with someone that was both a co-worker and a friend. I didn’t handle the situation the way a good manager should have, in my opinion. I was capable of better and I can admit that. I not only lost professional credibility but also a friend. Despite the apology I later delivered, he never really spoke to me again after that.
I do recognize that the situation going painfully sideways benefited me enormously. The mindfulness and awareness I gained in retrospect has served me tenfold. On the flip-side, I’m sure the situation increased my co-worker’s mindfulness as to his actions that prompted the exchange in the first place. It wasn’t all for naught.
So, if we’re going to be kind to ourselves and acknowledge that how we responded to something previously doesn’t for one second suggest that’s how we would respond today, then we also need to extend this notion onto others.
We hold a perception of someone based on our former experiences with them. Even if the person has a consistent track record of the same behaviours and responses, is it naive to expect something different from their future selves? Perhaps when we begin to expect something different from other people is when we actually begin to see the change.
Regardless of how others choose to handle themselves, WE each have the choice to wipe the slate clean with each new day and forgive ourselves and others. It’s not an easy task to release old memories and the emotions we associate with other people and events. We’re wrestling with our egos in doing so. It takes a lot of inner work to be trusting enough to expect something different from someone despite repeated history.
However, the most difficult things in life are also the most rewarding. You can’t learn to drive from a parked car and you can’t learn the best lessons in life if you don’t go out there and try.