Recently someone hurt me. His words sent me into a spin of sadness and self pity. Over and over again, I replayed the painful exchange between us. Delving further into the pain, I recalled all my acts of generosity and kindness towards him to intentionally increase the sting.
It took concentrated effort to keep the pain of his words alive. I had to tell a few friends about the incident, making certain to find people who’d agree with me. When happy moments sneakily slipped into my head, I brushed them aside to stay focused on the hurt. The effort exhausted me, but I pressed on, knowing that his unkindness deserved all the attention I could give it.
Hours later, bored with my madness, I realized I’d just wasted an entire day replaying an event I couldn’t change. These hours would never return to me. The exchange was history and insisting on replaying the event was a pathetic use of my time.
Fact: I wish the exchange hadn’t happen because it was unfortunate and I did feel victimized by it. That said, my determination to keep the event alive by replaying it didn’t soften the blow, it strengthened it. Revisiting and focusing on the event was my choice.
We are not able to choose everything that comes into our life, but we can choose our reaction to it. As human beings we have a unique ability to step outside ourselves and view our actions and reactions. If we don’t like the way we are acting we can choose to act differently. If we don’t like a current thought pattern we can choose the think differently.
This unpleasant exchange lasted about five minutes, yet my “thought storm” hijacked several hours and a good night sleep. Was it worth it? Did it change anything? Nope.
So this morning, I’ve decided to take a different thought path. Everytime I think of this person I will surround him in love. Any negative thoughts will be replaced with postive memories. I will choose to think differently and in doing so, my day (perhaps his day) will go better.
Too often we think that focusing on a negative event will give us a clearer understand of it and enable us to “get over it”. In reality, focusing on a negative event makes it bigger, and more dramatic. It feeds the negativity. It empowers it and gives it a life of its own.
What happened, happened. Replaying it, giving it more attention will give a negative event more life than it deserves.
Most of the time, the best approach to is to simply, prayerfully ”let it go”.