How much time have you spent replaying an interaction in your head, after it has happened, wishing you could have done it differently? We spend so much time inside our own minds reflecting on our behavior, our actions and what others think about us that it is a true miracle we ever get anything done at all. I find myself reminding my clients, and also reminding myself, that EVERYONE is doing the same thing. Just thinking about themselves most of the time. So the idea that they would have time to think critically or negatively about us is just about as much time as we spend thinking critically or negatively about others. Have you ever thought about that? How much time are you spending thinking about other people. Five minutes? Maybe twenty if they really upset you? Granted, we all get caught up from time to time perseverating on an incident that really got under our skin. But eventually we rectify those uncomfortable feelings by talking about it. By reaching out and clearing the air. Or by letting it go. Either way, our minds find a way to bring it back to us. To our ever critical thoughts of ourselves.
Releasing this habit is not easy. We get caught up in patterns of thinking that can be really hard to undo. This is why I love Yom Kippur. It's a funny thing to say, as most people find the holiday grueling. We fast. We go to synagogue all day. But we get the opportunity to apologize for any wrongs and be cleared of any misdoings for the year. We are given a fresh start. We are commanded to let go. This is part of our religion, that no matter what happens, no matter how many mistakes we make, no matter how much we unintentionally hurt another, at the start of the new year, we are forgiven.
Throughout the year I try and remember this idea of a fresh start. Judaism incorporated this idea by creating a holiday around it, but truly there is no reason why this can't apply to everyone, at any time. By believing that each day can be a new day, we are less likely to worry so much about what has happened or what will happen. We can see our mistakes as learning experiences and move forward just simply trying to be better. We can ask for forgiveness when we need to and be more forgiving of others when we need to. Most importantly, we can forgive ourselves more easily for the things we wish we had done better.
Let's be honest, I'm not looking forward to a day without my coffee. But I'll gladly take it for the reminder that we are always able to forgive and let go.