If you’re on your way to prison or have been in prison, it’s likely that you’ve made some questionable decisions in your life, which you feel cast a shadow over your life. However, be aware that when you’re trying to start a fresh chapter, your biggest critic and harshest prison guard is often yourself. You may think it’s impossible to dodge your own left jabs and right hooks, but there are ways you can stop beating yourself up. You can stop living in your self-created world of blame. You can stop using the phrase ‘if only’. And you can stop holding yourself back from moving to a better place.
The Past is Done
You can’t do anything about the past. It’s done. The only purpose your previous bad decisions now serve is to provide you with valuable life-lessons. It’s time to change your reaction to those past events. You may have lost your house, your life-savings, even your family, friends and reputation. But you haven’t lost yourself. Your life may have lost an option or two, but there are limitless other possibilities for you to explore, regardless of how long your prison sentence was or still might be.
There’s no doubt that you might have hurt people, including yourself. But, remember this. Prolonged suffering is self-imposed. It’s a choice whether you put up with it or not – your choice.
You may have heard about the Law of Attraction. If not, here’s an explanation. Basically, this law claims that the universe is your genie, here to grant you the things you wish for, based on your thoughts and actions. If you’re happy, you’ll attract further happiness and happy people. If you’re miserable, you’ll simply lure more misery to you, like a magnet. Like attracts like.
You might instead be thinking that you’ll simply ‘wait out the storm’ rather than thinking about the karmic cosmos. However, passively accepting misery will only prolong it, unless you set about making the change.
A Loser and an Idiot?
Do you keep telling yourself that you’re a waste of space? A loser, idiot and jerk, who can’t do anything right? If that’s what you keep asserting to your reflection in the mirror, it’s what the Universe will hear too. It’s what the people around you will hear; future bosses, romantic partners, friends and family. It’s what they’ll believe about you, and it’s what you’ll eventually become.
Today’s sour attitude will gradually erode you, becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy of a lifetime sentence of doom. By holding on to regrets, we allow our past to exert complete control over our present… and our future.
If that’s not a good enough reason to stop beating yourself up, think about this metaphor. Choosing to get caught up in prolonged suffering is a little like having a wound, and choosing to rub salt in it rather than allow it to heal. You’re paying the price of injury twice. If you fall off your bike, you’ve suffered an initial, painful set-back. If you set about picking the scab, deliberately making it get infected, you’re suffering a second time. Keep picking at it, and you’ll set yourself up for a lifetime of pain and misery.
Falling into a dark abyss can be forgiven and excused, even if it was down to your own poor decisions. However, choosing to stay in the blackness, even when someone is throwing you a ladder to climb out, is a self-imposed punishment, which will only cause others to lose faith in you too.
Finding Your Inner Corner Guy
In the boxing ring, the main support is the ‘corner man’; the one who wipes off the sweat and blood, tapes the cuts and whispers encouragement in your ear. In the boxing match of life, sometimes you have to be your own corner guy. You have to learn lessons from the punches you’ve taken, and re-enter the ring with renewed determination. When life beats you up, don’t take it lying down. Beat it back.
When you think about it, it’s no smarter or more acceptable to bully yourself than it is to bully someone else. The essence of bullying is the practice of ridiculing someone for a past action or state of being that they cannot change. Would you be okay with someone bullying a child for years, simply because they once vomited during a second grade spelling class? Or because of their race, weight or religious beliefs? I’m guessing not. So don’t keep bullying yourself for what happened in the early stages of your real-life boxing match. Redemption is always possible – but only if you don’t sabotage your own efforts with abusive thoughts and behavior.
The human body and spirit are both designed to weather even the toughest of blows. Rather than aggravating the wound every day, allow your natural healing powers to work and transform your life.