Why do we beat ourselves up? Seriously! Could there be anything more masochistic than torturing ourselves day in and day out over something that is either insignificant, beyond our control, or in the past and is over and done with? Why do we do that! Constantly beating yourself up REALLY hurts!
Trust me! I know what I’m talking about. I can name at least a half a dozen things that I beat myself up over on a daily basis. And nothing will make me feel lower than a slugs butt than fighting with myself over the would’ve, could’ve, should’ves of my life.
Here’s some you can take as an example.
- I should’ve been a better husband.
- Then I would’ve had my children with me.
- And I could’ve celebrated the holidays with them.
Now of course all of that is completely irrational. The rational side to that argument is:
- I was the best husband I knew how to be.
- And since I didn’t file for the divorce who can say if I would have my children by my side now or not!
- Not to mention that it’s my ex-wife that is keeping my children from me, not my lack of being a good father.
And even though I believe every rational point, my brain will sit and stew over it like a dog licking a ham bone. It’ll just go over and over every argument, every disagreement, ever decision I made just to prove how lousy of a husband and father I am.
I honestly believe it’s worse than waterboarding. At least with that you believe you’re about to die. With this you’re tricked into believing this is your own personal hell and you’ll have to live with it forever!
So the real question is what can we do about it? I ask my doctors every time about some miracle pill or magic mantras that will make it go away. And unfortunately there really isn’t.
Dr. N explained it best to me while at ANKA CRT.
Imagine every thought you have is just another winding path up a giant mountain. Now the random, once in a blue moon thoughts create a path that is easily overgrown and forgotten. However, by always thinking about those would’ve, could’ve, should’ve thoughts, we end up clearing the path, laying down blacktop, adding handrails and if we continue adding a trolley straight up the hill.
Kinda like a no hassles, express VIP lane just for you.
It’s no wonder those thoughts are so easy to recall and dwell on. They’re riding the express lane where any thought to the contrary is stuck hacking its way through a jungle of obstacles!
Basically the only way we can overcome these thoughts is decide we’re not going to beat ourselves up any more. And as soon as we do, we need to throw in the white towel and find a way to call the fight and work out a healthier, albeit more difficult way.
I found one way is to continually work on cognitive exercises that help retrain my thought processes. I can’t say it’s been easy. And in no way have I been 100% successful.
But I can honestly say that the days I make determined effort to challenge those thoughts by challenging myself, on how it could have been different, why I think it would have been different, what can I really do about it now? All these questions force me to deal with the reality of the situation.
They all force me to stop thinking about the past and force me to work on the now and maybe even plan for a better tomorrow.
So maybe we need to dress up in our sweats, put on our Rocky Workout Soundtracks and start retraining our thought processes.
What about you? How do you pick yourself up and stop thinking about all those Would’ve, Could’ve Should’ves? What have you done to get yourself unstuck and back on the move?