Learning to accept all the versions of who we have been, good and bad in our lives, is an important step in the integration of fully becoming who we are!
As we age, we are also evolving and getting better. With each new experience we learn something new and get smarter and wiser. We learn what to eat and how much sleep we need. The type of friends we like and can count on. We hopefully learn what we are really good at doing. Those skills and passions that make us feel “in the zone”. And, hopefully we also learn our weak areas, the activities and jobs that make us feel out of place, so we can minimize those activities in our lives.
As we reach our late 20s, and 30s we find a better sense of who we are and begin to feel a bit more confident. We find our groove, maybe building a career, a family, traveling- it can be a rewarding time.
This is also a time when we might have some space to reflect on the journey so far. Many women love to analyze and dissect experiences and behaviors. It is a great mental exercise. It helps to see who you have become and the great leaps you have made in life so far.
However, it is also a time when we might want to single out a few past behaviors and who we were or what we did in the varying versions of our younger self. It’s like we visualize each age in a line up:
13, 15, 18, 22–the 13 year old with braces, the 15 year old in high school with big hair, the 18 year old freshman in college trying to fit in, and 22 in her first job, confused as ever.
Perhaps all four of them have been a part of some behavior that the current self finds unacceptable. It might look a little like this — you are walking up and down the line-up berating them with all the vigor of an army sergeant; “what were you thinking?” “did you really think that could turn out well?” “How careless you were with your safety!”
They just stand there. Never speak and continue to take the abuse. They cannot speak up, and they can never change. We are often so judgmental and harsh about our past mistakes. If you are having a hard time accepting something you have done in your past life, mistakes that have been made, roads that should have remained closed, but you broke through the fence and took them anyway, this is a good time to re-think your thoughts! You would not be who you are without those experiences.
If you think back, perhaps you only knew of one path, you might not have been aware of any better choice. At the time, remember, you did not have access to a future self who could provide tips on how to avoid mistakes. Often, we have to be who we are not, to become who we are meant to be. Judging and showing anger to our past selves is only hurting us today. Let go. The Buddha says, ‘anger is like a hot coal you are getting ready to throw at someone. You are the one who is getting burned.’ Put down the coal. Here are a few steps:
- First, decide to let her off the hook. Once you make this decision, it is easier to do the rest.
- Look at your younger self through the lens a parent, mentor or big sister might look at her. Show your compassion. Accept that you can not change these memories or deeds, but you can review them with a more mature mind.
- You can visualize yourself now, bringing all of your past selves in for a huddle, the rebels, the destructives, the mean girls and those who represent you least. Pull together, thank them, understand them and accept them for teaching you who you are not, so you can be who you are today.
If we are living at all, then we are making mistakes and having a variety of experiences, good and bad. As you continue the journey, keep in mind you are doing your best with what you know right now. Learn to quickly accept the experience. Judgement is not a great use of your energy as it creates no additional value.
If you can change the way you view your life, accept the past and present, it can make the reunion with your 60-year-old self so much more fun!
Identity Magazine is all about empowering women to get all A’s in the game of life – Accept. Appreciate. Achieve.TM Every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. As a team, we hope to inspire and motivate ourselves and inspire you to get all A’s.
What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? What are you still working on accepting?
I have learned to accept I am not always the person I think I should be. I’m still working on accepting that we all have our paths and I cannot change people.
What have you learn to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? What are you still working on to appreciate?
I appreciate that I continue to push myself to learn new things and my drive to create positive energy in the world. I am still working on appreciating that when I get rejected, it is a good thing that keeps me looking for the right fit.
What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? What makes YOU most proud, what goals and dreams do you still have?
I felt very proud of myself when I finished my first book. I feel most proud when I see my daughter happy and healthy. I have a lot of dreams and goals, I have a burning desire to see young girls educated so they are not taken advantage of in the world.
We all have imperfections, so we think. The truth—we are all perfectly imperfect. What are your not-so-perfect ways? What imperfections and quirks create who you are—your Identity?
Past hurts that interfere with my current relationships create ‘not so perfect’ moments! One of my quirks is probably my fascination with Astrology and trying to figure people out based on when they were born.
“I Love My…” is an outlet for you to express and appreciate all the positive traits that make you…well… YOU! Sharing what you love about yourself will make you smile, feel empowered, and uplift your spirit and soul. (we assure you!) Identity challenges you to complete the phrase “I Love My…?”
I love my ability to see potential in almost every person I meet.