Your past self is not the problem.
Updated: Jan 17, 2022
Your past self was made to be good. Your past self is not a project to fix or get right. Your past self is resilient. Just think about the resilience your experiences are adding to you right here and right now.
I'm not sure about you, but I have an odd disposition to sit back and become the inner critique of my past self. I've made comments like, I don't even recognize the person I used to be or how could I not see then what I see now? Sometimes I like to play this game that I refer to as the jigsaw puzzle of my past self.
Somehow I end up in my head trying to piece together why I did something 5 years, 5 months or even 5 days ago. I'll also get stuck on a particular year or season of my life where I did not feel particularly proud of myself. It's like I'll go through this rabbit hole where I get lost in my own thoughts. It's basically like working on fixing something that's operating and already moving on. There isn't anything we can do to solve something that has already happened.
Of course, we are always wanting to grow, be challenged and stretched, but does that have to come with the self-deprecating comments about our past selves? Does it need to include behaviors of trying to "get things right"?
No and no.
This does not have to be a thing. I'd love for us to just eliminate this all together overnight. I know it does not work like that, but there is a mercy a lot of us are missing over our past selves. Of course, I understand we want to continue to be more disciplined and in a greater spot than where we were before, but we truly can't be joyful about our present when we're not accepting of our past selves. There is a mercy we're all seeking, but the clinging and holding onto lack from the past hurts us a lot more than we are even aware of.
I hope you know if there is a particular year, season, month, person, situation or something you're holding onto in your past attempting to "get it right" you can take a breath and release that tight grip. Maybe, today that looks like choosing to go to bed a little earlier, turning off the lights and closing your eyes when your mind is tempted to roam there to the past. Sometimes, it's just writing down what you need to release on a piece of paper. Often times, it's simply just living and even allowing yourself space to not focus there.
I've been working on accepting myself for past struggles, particularly my years of 22 and 23. In these years I felt the most disconnected from myself and there were many moments where my loneliness consumed me in such a numbing way. I felt ungrounded. I got myself into situations where I was left wondering, wait how did I get here? It was like I could not see how lonely I was, yet I also could feel the daily affects of my loneliness. I was going through the motions trying to live a life that was completely un-organic to myself. There was so much I could not see clearly. & in the past 3 years I've been tempted to look at that girl, condemn her and even belittle her. Yet, there is no way I'd be here writing without her, without those experiences, and without the disconnection from my truest self.
Kayla then had no idea that those years would start the breaking, renewal and story of a woman who is living into her truth now.
So maybe you have a year or two like me that are particularly uncomfortable to look at from your past. Maybe there is something keeping you stuck looking at yourself from the lens of a deep unworthiness. I hope you know you can sit and draw so tender to that version of yourself and not take it all so seriously. You don't have to agree with every decision, situation, person, burden, or cross from the past. All that's truly needed is acceptance that you were doing the very best you could at the time. Maybe, your past is embarrassing to you or you'd rather look to avoid it, but if we truly believed that there was no moment that went without purpose we would not be stuck beating ourselves up about something that happened months or years ago.
There is no way in the world I'd be the woman I am today without witnessing my own disconnection, loneliness, and numbing habits. As much as I don't understand every decision I have made, why I chose certain situations or patterns I understand I am healing and I can laugh with my past self. I can really see her heart and see how it was always in the most well intentioned place.
I hope today you can see that your past self was made to be good.