Last week, in a healing session with Mindy Strich, I got to look at the pain in my lower back and what it was trying to tell me. I’ve suffered with back problems for 30 years. Prior to this session I’d always thought it was about bending incorrectly or twisting the wrong way or not using my knees when I lift. But this time I received a different message. My pain was about the “should’s” and “shouldn’ts” in my life. “I should have known better.” Or “I shouldn’t have gone there.” Or “I shouldn’t have done that.”
Retrospective thinking has its benefits in problem solving. If something isn’t working, then you probably need a different approach. You can’t keep doing the same thing and expect different results. But “should’s” and “shouldn’ts” outside of problem solving drag you down. They make you feel guilty. They’re destructive and feed on shame and demoralize your spirit. They make you wrong. And wrong is not uplifting.
I want to be happy. Smiling. Joyful.
Retrospective thinking is largely about living in the past. Those 30 years of back pain were about being stuck in old experiences. Not letting go. Being unwilling to forgive. The pain began in my 20s after a late party when I fell asleep while driving home at 2 a.m. My car jumped the curb, traveled down the sidewalk, and plowed into the corner of a bar. Ironic for someone who doesn’t drink. I wasn’t seriously injured. No punctured organs or horrible loss of blood. But I did break my nose and I hurt my spine. And I told myself I shouldn’t have gone to that party. I shouldn’t have stayed out so late. I should have known better than to drive when I was tired.
The healing session allowed me to see that I’ve been holding on to all those “should’s” and “shouldn’ts.” Now I know that it’s okay to forgive that part of me and let it go. To know that I’m not perfect. To embrace the beauty of my imperfection, in my body, in my writing, in my judgments of the world.
Freedom is knowing who you are.
Forgive yourself and move on. Embrace your imperfections. Start seeing the beauty in where you are right now.
Photo by .shock, PhotoXpress.com