Rearview Mirror

The view behind me is changing

It’s not so much that I no longer regret

But that I understand instead

Who that person was is gone

I’ve moved on

Trying to pin a crime on someone who didn’t commit it is an injustice

So why pillory the present version of you?

How long we hold onto any self loathing is dependent on the self that holds it

And as time goes by and the old self deteriorates, a new one rising, it shouldn’t be surprising that we bid goodbye again and again to all the places and people we have been

and look ahead to someone new

spaces we have never inhabited before

And the hope to become more

If you don’t like where you are move, you’re not a tree

I would possibly change this to “if you don’t like who you are, change, you’re not a rock”.

One of the beauties of being a prolific journal writer is that you can’t help but reflect. You can’t help but come up against yourself, as if in a mirror, day after day. Your nose is mashed into your complaints and worries and nonsense, and held there.

There is only so many times you can write about a certain issue before you realise, you simply have to change or continue to moan about it. So you change. It may take awhile and a fair bit of effort but eventually you change.

And then the next issue comes to light. It’s a bit like renovating, always room for improvement. Far from keeping me constantly frustrated with my seemingly endless list of faults, I try to see it instead as an endless capacity for growth and potential

Tolerance and understanding of our own shortcomings leads to compassion for others in theirs. Mostly though, it is difficult to take yourself seriously when you see just how unimportant previously very important things have become when time is added into the equation.

“I’ve already lost touch with a couple of people I used to be”

Sylvia Plath

And I refuse to take this version of myself as the end version. We are always updating computer software – why not our own?

Final thought: The word pillory stems from around the 1500’s and refers to the practice of putting miscreants in pillories (sometimes called stocks). People were usually placed in the punishing brace for about an hour, around lunchtime, which was rush hour for the public places where the criminals were displayed. This ensured there were plenty of good citizens around to throw rubbish at the criminal and abuse them for their misdeeds.

Judgement. One hour.

If only we could get over things in one hour instead of shouldering the burden of our mistakes and shortcomings for sometimes years.

If we must put ourselves in our self made pillories then perhaps we should also set a time limit. As in, I will beat myself up about this stupid thing I have done for one hour and then I will reflect on what I’ve learned and move on. Sound reasonable?

2 thoughts on “Rearview Mirror

  1. I often contemplate this topic. I have a really hard time forgiving myself for my past misdeeds. Much like how society has decided to hold people responsible for legal but unethical deeds from their distant past–as though people can’t change. I seem to be getting better with myself. I’m sure it’s chemically induced, but I’m giving myself a lot more slack.

    • Good to hear Jeff. I think everyone struggles a bit when it comes to judging their former selves. And yes I agree with your comment about society judging celebrities and so on for something they did 30 years ago, times were different and people were too. It’s a difficult thing to tangle with and where do we draw the line

Leave a Reply