Be Fair to Yourself in Growth & Change

Be Fair to Yourself in Growth & Change

If somebody is working on themselves and changing for the better, it’s unnecessary to keep bringing up their past. People can change and grow. You know this is true…

But, have you given YOURSELF a fair chance to change and grow? Have you consciously loosened your grip on everything behind you, so you can step forward again with grace?

Right now, remind yourself:

You can have a heartbreaking story from the past without letting it rule your present.

In the present moment we all have some kind of pain: anger, sadness, frustration, disappointment, or regret.

Notice this pain within yourself, watch it closely, and see that it’s caused by whatever story you have in your head about what happened in the past (either in the recent past or in the distant past). Your mind might insist that the pain you feel is caused by what happened (not by the story in your head about it), but what happened in the past is NOT happening right now. It’s over. It has passed. But the pain is still happening right now because of the story you’ve been subconsciously telling yourself about that past incident.

Note that “story” does not mean “fake story.” It also does not mean “true story.” The word “story” in the context of your self-evaluation doesn’t have to imply true or false, positive or negative, or any other kind of forceful judgment call. It’s simply a process that’s happening inside your head:

  • You are remembering something that happened.
  • You subconsciously perceive yourself as a victim of this incident.
  • Your memory of what happened causes a strong emotion in you.

So just notice what story you have, without judging it, and without judging yourself. It’s natural to have a story; we all have stories. See yours for what it is. And see that it’s causing you pain. Then do your best to change your response.

Of course, that’s sometimes much easier said than done. Letting go and responding better in the present takes guidance and practice.

— Angel Chernoff, marc and angel hack life

Mary Wessling