As published on Huffington Post
Ah, New Year’s, where everyone grabs a sheet of paper and writes down resolutions; words that after a few weeks lose their intensity. Yes, I include myself in the masses, but this year I but one resolution: to not look back.
I realized as the dawn of 2014 set in, that I had spent so many hours and energy looking back and trying to understand things that I will never understand. I was not accepting the way things are and was being sad over something that never really was, only my vision of how I wanted it to be. Yep. Guilty as charged. All the things I have coached my clients on over the years came back to me in the form of a man, someone I gave my heart to years before. I always said my ex husband shattered my dreams, but this person shattered my heart, and there he stood as I walked off the tennis courts on the morning of the first day of the new year.
The recognition for both of us took a few seconds, as we had not crossed paths in four years. Strange how all of a sudden time slowed down. The usual small talk ensued and then it happened — the silence between two people when their eyes are doing all the talking. As his arms wrapped around me, time came to a complete stop and, for those few seconds of suspended time, all was right with the world.
The point of the story is this. Reality cut in and tapped us on the shoulder as he expressed that he was still in the same place emotionally that he was in when we broke up, a place I have never been able to understand as hard as I tried. And this is where my resolution takes shape.
Later, in the stillness that only comes in the wee hours of the morning, I again found myself trying to understand, and it hit me. I never will. I had spent a countless amount of energy trying to understand someone else’s reasoning and emotions that are so far off my radar. I had never just accepted that that was how he felt. My goal was to understand, and the need to understand kept me always looking back. I then started taking inventory of other situations in my life and was astonished (and, I admit, a little scared) at how much of my time was spent looking back for the mere purpose of understanding. Trying to understand my ex’s post divorce behavior would make me look back. Why did I make certain decisions? Again, looking back. All of my emotional energy and, consequently my frustration, were rolled up into that one word, understand.
Now, I am going to take it a step further. Once you can accept that you will not understand everything that life throws your way, you will be able to let go, and letting go enables you to move on. Think of how empowered you will feel when you no longer are carrying the past with you. How much lighter you will feel when you can shake off the need to understand and just accept things as they are. Such freedom and less pain await you.
I had many lessons this year, but my biggest lesson was coming to the realization of how much time and energy I had wasted wanting to understand things that I couldn’t possibly wrap my head around… ever. Time is so precious with no guarantees attached, so use it wisely not only with things you do, but with your thoughts as well. Which leads me to my mantra with my clients, “Two things can not occupy the same place at the same time.” The clock is ticking, my friend, so take control of those minutes and spend them looking ahead instead of looking back.