Do you have memories of moments in your past that you feel ashamed of or embarrassed by? Perhaps you felt manipulated, or pressured, or bullied to do something you would not normally have done? Do any of these memories still cause you to cringe or feel bad?
These moments can be big moments or small moments. Yes, we know time diminishes their impact, but we also know that time cannot reliably make the pain go away.
There are some things we like to tuck in the far reaches of our mind to never, ever remember.
I have had many of these moments – both big and small. I remember being in 4th and 5th grade and standing in the girl’s bathroom at school with a bunch of other girls, making a plan to beat another little girl up, on the playground, after school. Now, I never fought and I was an adamant believer in total non-violence. But, invariably, there would be times at school that one of my friends would get very hurt feelings from someone else and want to fight that person and have all of her friends join her – this is where the bathroom meetings would come in. The girl that was angry would rally her friends together. She would challenge us for loyalty. “Who is going to come and help me beat up so and so after school?” Everyone would start screaming, “I will!” Now, mind you, we all knew that no one would end up anywhere after school, except going where they were supposed to go. But, this was some kind of a war ritual we went through. I would stand there, knowing that I would never fight anyone. Knowing that I did not believe that violence was a solution to disagreements. However, I would also watch my righteous feelings, my feelings of protectiveness over my friend. Factually, I would just want to leave and have the whole thing over. But, I went along with everyone and would scream, “I will!” at the top of my lungs. These moments of discrepancy in my very soul, caused me much pain.
I tried two practices. First, every time a memory such as this surfaced, I would work on forgiving myself. I would remind myself that I was just a little girl and that I was naive, etc. I would go in deeper, and try to have compassion for myself and do my best to release the pain.
Second, whatever was left of the pain required another approach. This approach was to go in and change the memory. I would have the memory and begin to find and create all of the different ways that I could have behaved and spoken differently on the day in question. I would do it over and over until I came up with something to do and say that felt very solution oriented, healing and right.
Then, I would go over the memory with my new approach, over and over again until I felt a release of the pain, strengthening and bolstering the part of me that had felt weak.
It was a learning curve as well as an energetic practice. I felt that doing this was a part of a process that would lead me to being exactly who I wanted to be, no matter what the circumstances.
So, try it! Forgiveness and practicing new solutions!
I love you each and every one!