Are you as afraid to make mistakes as I used to be? Truth be told, my fear of making mistakes still creeps up on me. But that’s about the future, right? The what ifs – they still get me sometimes. So does the sense of “coulda, woulda, shoulda” of the past. The beating myself up about why I didn’t do something better, the procrastination that held me back from finishing a project, the regret that overwhelms me. And yes, the emotional eating that accompanied the regret.
Certainly cookies and candy were going to take the guilt and remorse away. Hello self-sabotage! Emotional eating leads to more distress. Now there are two reasons you have to beat yourself up – the mistakes of the past and the binge. How do you take action and live your best life when you are so busy worrying about the past and engaging in self-destructive behavior?
What I’ve learned is that you need to let go of the past to move forward. But how?
How To Let Go of the Past
Remind yourself about the words of Albert Einstein: A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new. Or the similar words of President Theodore Roosevelt: The only man who never makes a mistake is the man who never does anything (of course this applies to women, too!). The bottom line is we’re going to make mistakes; we’re human. Does that make it easier to let go of past mistakes? Probably not in an instant, but keep this is mind as you work to shift your mindset.
Give yourself permission to let go of the past. Your brain is holding on to the mistake. Telling yourself it is OK to release the past will allow your brain and body to relax. I know, easier said than done, but so worth the effort. Doing this is also much healthier than eating a pint of ice cream while you agonize over your mistake.
Write a permission slip giving authorization to your precious self to let go of the past. I highly recommend blasting Elsa singing “Let It Go,” while doing this. It will put a smile on your face and singing along will encourage the release of the past. The act of thinking, writing – and singing – will help you process and allow you to let go of the angst you are holding on to in your body and mind.
Learn from your past. Think of your mistakes as educational experiences. There are golden nuggets of learning contained within your past. Anything you have done or tried before is a part of the University of your life. You have the power to recognize what those lessons are and how to use them effectively. Determine what and why something happened and what you can do to avoid repeating those actions in the future.
Consider meditation. When you are relaxed, you will have an easier time of purging your past. One of the best forms of relaxation is meditation. It may take several sessions to get your body and mind in tune with the techniques. Consistency is key. Meditate regularly (start with 5-10 minutes a day), feel your body relax and accept what is. Release the past, don’t worry about the future. Live in the present.
Don’t expect all changes to occur immediately. The blame game you are used to (“you’re so stupid!” and “how could you do that?”) and the crutch of emotional eating are hard habits to break. Don’t try to transform everything overnight. Give yourself time and space to get used to being compassionate with yourself.
Ready to release the past?
Sing with me (and Elsa):
…My power flurries through the air into the ground
My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around
And one thought crystallizes like an icy blast
I’m never going back, the past is in the past…