The Hard Part of Looking Back

I have realised that I have not written much over the past 2 years. As I reviewed and updated this blog and its format, I ended up reading a few articles I wrote more than 2 and a half years ago… It was a rather uncomfortable experience. Strange, to read one’s words a few years later.

Back then, I did write these posts for myself, to try and articulate my own thoughts and convictions about certain topics connected to how to live well, or at least how not to deceive oneself (too much). These were the very early years of my journey into personal development, psychology, philosophy and helping others with their own suffering. I was attempting to clarify what I believed. I, however, also wanted to share these thoughts with others, and hopefully provide useful perspectives which anyone could use in their own lives.

Looking back, I now see how narrow and limited my mental meanderings were back then. Sure, some thoughts, beliefs and perspectives I adopted then are still useful, but so many certainties I seemed to have back then I now question. At the very least, I would nuance, from the current vantage point I have on life and events.

Apparently, Alain de Botton said that “if you are not embarrassed by the person you were a year ago, you are not growing fast enough.” By these standards, I must have grown a lot in the past couple of years!

I think the hard part for me lies in the discomfort of authoring statements presented as rather strong convictions which I may now not agree with fully. Things that, today, I would phrase differently, or avoid stating altogether.

How to engage with this conundrum? The easy temptation would be to erase past contributions, remove them from view – like I have done a couple years ago with many Youtube videos that I also created in my very early years as a self-employed coach. Out of sight, out of mind! No embarrassment possible. But I also wrestled with the decision to do so back then. Something didn’t sit well with me in deleting these videos.

Own where you were, or remove what you said and did which may cause you shame and embarrassment? That’s what I find is the hard part of looking back. It goes way beyond myself and a simple blog, as I suspect many of us face this dilemma in other areas of our lives.
Do we hide who we’ve been, when we know it is not who we would like to be now, or do we acknowledge it openly?

Today I am in a place where I wish to give my former self the loving blessing of innocence, rather than the blaming judgement of ignorance. It seems to me to be a better path and a healthier one, although hard to pursue.

Oh! How easy it is to blame and shame myself in the quiet corridors of my own mind… Much harder is the path of loving compassion and healthy self-esteem.

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