The desire of wanting to change who we are, or something that happened in our past, whether recently or years ago, is common to all of us. Although these are only a couple things within the scope of the human experience, at times they can seem unbearable, driving some people to depression, alcohol and drug use, or self hatred. Negative emotions are toxic to our souls, and lead to destructive behavior. Among the many things that serve to make us miserable, the feelings of sorrow and regret rank among two of the highest. Sorrow resulting from the feelings associated with hurting someone, and causing pain; regret for mistakes that we made that led us to a place other than where we originally intended. It’s these strong emotions that can lead to either positive or negative things in our lives. But how can change the way we see ourselves, and turn something so painful into something good? If it’s even possible.
Out of all the weapons in life that can hurt and destroy us, there is one that out powers all the others. It’s the thing that we can never escape from, no matter where we go. Us. Quite simply put, we are our own Achilles’ heal, and worst enemy. It’s been said that the Devil is no match for us when it comes to destroying ourselves, individually and as a society. We each possess inside us what it takes to annihilate ourselves from the inside out, and the outside in. Not only do each of us contain the potential to do this, many of us act on it in ways that we don’t even realize. Choosing to see ourselves negatively, or constantly consuming unhealthy food, is destructive both to our mental, emotional and physical health.
One of the easiest ways to abolish sorrow in our lives is to apologize. It is a door that, although hard to open sometimes, reaps peace and joy. Apologizing, defined as expressing regret for a fault or offense, is both vertical and horizontal. Vertically, it involves confessing our sins to God, and horizontally, it involves apologizing to other people. Apologizing can sometimes be the simplest way to rid ourselves of some types of sorrow, especially if it involves hurting another person in some way. It seems like such a simple thing to do, and for some it is, but for others, it’s the most difficult thing in the world.
It’s been said that we can fight the battles of today, but not the ones of the past and the future. Yet many of us unknowingly do this very thing. When we add the burdens of yesterday and tomorrow, we undoubtedly become weighed down. It’s too much for us to carry. The key to have victory today and tomorrow is dealing with the defeat from yesterday. We need to learn to make peace with our past. This may sound like some kind of New Age ritual involving sitting with legs crossed in a meditative state. On the contrary, it simply involves us recognizing the things that we have done to hurt ourselves, and whatever failures that we may not have forgiven ourselves of, and making a conscious decision of letting them go.
Along with making peace with our past, we need to forgive ourselves and others. This can seem very easy to do, but sometimes it’s a process. Forgiving people who have done us wrong, especially when they haven’t apologized, is paramount to having true peace. Likewise, choosing to view ourselves in a more positive light, and not allowing our failures to define us today, is part of the healing. If we respond the right way to the negative things that have happened to us, knowing that they contribute to who we are today, it will make us better people. You and I have great value because we are individuals created in the image of the eternal God. In all of creation, there was never anyone else just like us in the past, and neither will there ever be. We are unique, and of grand design. Let’s see ourselves for who were created to be. We can never change the past, but we can start today to embrace it, forgiving ourselves, and choosing to see ourselves in a new light.