Monday, August 1, 2016

Casting the Dark Shadows Aside

Sometimes I think about something from my past that makes me cringe. I imagine most people have similar memories that make them want to cover their eyes and wish they could go back and undo that episode or chapter in their lives. 

When I was in my 30s, I spent a lot of time recovering from my 20s! :>) I had a scroll of regrets that shook my confidence and made me feel less than I should have. I didn't want to send out my stories--didn't want to call attention to myself for fear the past would creep up and bite me in the butt.

Then I realized everybody's got their own stuff. The self-centeredness of youth made me think my mistakes were of interest to anybody else. (Since I'm not a politician.) We all have our less-than-optimal moments: as children, students, lovers, spouses, parents, employees, siblings, and family members. Many of us have had our dark hours and wicked phases. 

Now and then I'll still have a random memory that makes me suck in my breath and wish I could take it back. But this morning I decided to embrace it all. Might be because I'm reading a LOT of good fiction, and good fiction introduces us to characters who show us all sides of their personalities and history. And that's what makes them come alive and makes us root for them.

So I challenge you to reconsider your dark shadows. To let them reside comfortably among the finer moments. To do so is to accept all of you--all parts of yourself. Last year I read Learning to Love Yourself: A guide to becoming centered by Gay Hendricks. It was the first time I'd encountered the notion of immediate acceptance of our flaws and mistakes as they happen. That becomes the way to truly meet your potential. Iyanla Vanzant is a perfect example with her boat load of hardships and a past that could've choked the life out of her.

I realize now that it makes perfect sense to accept it all. I have been a fool many many times, and I'm sure there are many more foolish episodes to come. But the energy spent regretting takes away the positive power from the moment I'm living.

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