Do you wish you could put your past behind you?
Do you often think about or "day dream" about past negative experiences, even when you know you shouldn't be doing it?
As I started to break out of my shell over the past 9 months to a year, I sometimes caught myself day dreaming about my past and just sort of shaking my head like..."what was I doing?" "If only I had been (fill in the blank), then I could have enjoyed life more?" "If only I had known then what I know now,.....ahhh....life would have been so great."
Well, you have a choice. You can play the what if game and drive yourself nuts. Or, you can put it behind you and move on. I've gotten into alot personal growth oriented material and it's definintely helped me see the world in a much broader way. This is how I was able to sum up my past, put it behind me, and move on:
Life is a journey!!
Without getting too philisophical, I really see life in general as a journey. Not focusing so much on past disappointments and regrets but seeing the bigger picture. It doesn't matter how old you are, you could be 30 and never have gone out on a date, that doesn't mean you'll be alone forever! Age doesn't mean anything by itself.
90 year old woman goes sky diving
Most people don't even live to 90, let alone have the guts to jump out of a plane like that. In essence, it is never too late to start doing something that you've always wanted to do! Whether it is sky diving or talking to some cool girl, or going out on a sensual and romantic date. Worrying about the past just doesn't do anything for you.
When I was really shy, semi-depressed about life, it's like I lived in this little box. I was only focused on how screwed up things were, I had a limited view of the world. I could sum up my life in a few sentences. And I'd repeat those thoughts all the time. Thinking, "I'm the guy who's 22, never been on a date, never any intimacy with a woman, yeah, I didn't go to my prom, etc etc."
It's a huge world out there, and it took ALOT of practice and just "getting out there" to get better socially. Now days, I interact with more people in a week than I use to do in a few months.
A way for me to break out of the little box that I was living in was to start looking at other peoples lives. Taking the focus off of myself and all my problems and focusing on others. Like the AC Green virginity story in the "Misc" section on here. It's easy to automatically assume, "wow, I'm loser because I'm a virgin at 23", yet here's a guy at 38, he's got alot of confidence, and he was proud to be a virgin. By focusing on others, I got rid of the constant self pity. Lisa Kudrow from Friends is another famous person who proudly stayed a virgin until marriage (she was 31).
There are other stories out there about people who's pasts were alot darker than mine, yet they managed to live through it and lead very productive lives. John McCain was a Vietnam POW for 5 1/2 years, now he's a US Senator. Viktor Frankl wrote a famous book "Man's Search for Meaning" about his time in a Concentration Camp in WW II. The key point here is that alot of people, faced with these dire circumstances, could have lived the rest of their lives living in regret and disappointment, focusing on all they missed out on, focusing on how unlucky they were, etc. Here I am worrying about having missed out on prom, and John McCain could have been worrying about how incredibly unlucky he was to be locked up in solitary confinement, or wondering "if only I didn't go in the war, if only I had done something differently, etc". I'm sure all POW's, concentration camp survivors, etc went through a period of doubt, depression, who knows what else. But guys like McCain didn't let those dark years totally consume them. They were busy getting on with their lives and moving on.
Some people might see these stories and think "yeah, they got through life, but man, I wish I had done so many things." Maybe you can find your own kind of meaning. As lonely as I was on some friday nights, no gf, seeing other couples out having a good time, just disillusioned with it all, I realize now, I did get some benefits from being very shy. I didn't hang out with the wrong crowd, I got a really clear and level head, I never got into drugs or heavy drinking, etc. Hey, it could be worst.
The past is already done with, so you can learn from it, put it into perspective and most importantly of all, start to realize, I can put it behind me and focus on living right now.
This isn't an easy thing to put behind you, I don't have delusions about it. I wish I had gotten a highschool year book my senior year, it would have been awesome to ask out the girl of my dreams to prom. But those things didn't happen. And if I keep thinking about them and indulging in them, nothing will change, I'll only feel worst. I realize, hey, everyone has dark chapters in their life, for some its being very shy and lonely, for others it could be substance abuse, for others maybe they were traumatized or raped. But others have put it behind them and moved on, so why can't I? It isn't too late to do things I've always wanted to do. I started taking dance lessons to make up for highschool dances I missed. I've also recently started to work out and take care of myself physically.