All of us have things that happen to us that were not pleasant memories, perhaps from grade school or Jr. High, or maybe even from our parents (oops, now we are parents—careful—ouch—we all get our day on stage—what is our children’s point of view re: our parenting?) or from clueless peers or thoughtless neighbors or pre-occupied relatives or stubborn cashiers, or overbearing, egocentric bosses, etc. No one is immune from emotional pain; no one is privy to perfect relationships 24/7 for 90 + years!!!
So what do we do with those persnickety episodes that we reeled from, and perhaps still reel from? Well, here is a private personal chess move that practically guarantees release from those vexing re-runs: re-write those episodes with some positive gain to yourself. (You may have an opportunity to share this strategy with one of your children, too.)
Realize that each of us has the potential to grow from negatives, as well as positives. Negatives might even help us grow faster in acquiring discernment and wisdom. That way, when you re-visit the pain it serves you rather than slays you. You have total permission to re-write any episode in the cathedral of your own mind. Ain’t nobody able to stop ya! It is, in fact, soul-enriching to do such a thing. Trust that God did and will use it (no matter what your “its” were/are) for your good.
Joseph in Egypt said to his brothers: “You meant it for evil, but God used it for good” (Genesis 50:20). We can take it a step further, even regarding a clumsy person who didn’t mean us any harm or was oblivious to the hurt they were inflicting. That, too, can be torqued for good. Doing this exercise releases the other person to just be a person—not a perfect person—and fuels you to get past your past! You can move ON, get over it, and say quietly to yourself, “Not My Problem” (or abbreviate that and say “NMP,” if you wish). You don’t have to just drive past the crash. Driving through the crash at this point puts positive metal to your own pedal.
As for yourself and your own relational initiations? Determine to look for ways to “inflict encouragement” upon your friends and enemies at every turn. Be head-spinningly positive. Be a lifetime good lover with whomever, and see to it that you do so, wherever. Be fleet-footed and free emotionally and you’ll spill blessings all over scores of “next guys” that you just happen to stumble upon—or stumble over!
For more thoughts related to this topic, read our short eBook on Forgiveness.