I have a dear friend and fellow life coach in Abu Dhabi that does sober coaching and is a fabulous yoga instructor. So I like to refer to her as “The Sober Yogi in Abu Dhabi.” Say that three times fast. The other day she posted something on Facebook that hit me hard.
“I see and hear a lot of people when going alcohol-free, with a lot of regrets. Regretting time ‘wasted’, regretting mistakes, regretting things done or said. What if instead, you radically loved the old version of yourself? [They are] the reason you are who you are today.”
No matter where any of us are in our faith journey—or in our life journey for that matter—this concept is so completely applicable.
I have spent way too much of my life beating myself up for things in my past. When I was a devout member of the church I was constantly worried about repenting for the things I had done wrong or the many ways I hadn’t measured up or the things I had neglected.
‘I didn’t do my visiting teaching last month.’
‘I should have gone back into the store and returned the $.37 extra change the cashier accidentally gave me.’
‘I told the bishop I was completely honest in all my dealings with my fellow men but am I really?? Because I also told him that I love my calling and I actually feel like I’m drowning…’
As an ex-Mormon I have berated myself for the ways I have judged people in my past and also for the many years in the church living a life that was inauthentic to me.
Why didn’t I research this sooner?
How could I have thought those things about people with tattoos?
Why didn’t I just trust myself and listen to my gut?
I have regretted the many mistakes I made when I first left the church and was so lost.
Why didn’t I communicate with my loved ones better?
How could I have hurt people I care about so deeply?
Why didn’t I stop at one piña colada?
I once heard someone say that if you can look back on yourself from five years ago without cringing then maybe you aren’t growing. I like that. We learn we grow, we develop and we look back and say, “Wow. What on earth was I thinking back then?” But let’s learn to look back with love for that girl that judged people who wore tank tops. Show some compassion for the former you that was completely unaware that you should probably pace yourself when drinking hard liquor. Give grace to the you that loves people but just couldn’t find the time to bring a meal to a new mom because you were dealing with your own four kids and their problems.
If it weren’t for that person, you wouldn’t be you. You, gloriously imperfect, living a life of “cringe-y” moments, but growing and learning every day. Time spent learning and growing and changing is never time wasted.