From "Maybe You Should Talk to Someone" by Lori Gottlieb
I just found this idea in an audiobook I'm listening to, and I had to stop and write it down.
Everyone has things in their past that they're not proud of. We might feel ashamed, angry or sad about certain parts of our past, the way we behaved or acted, the poor ways in which we treated others, or perhaps times when we chose not to act when we should have done something or said something.
There are moments in our past that shape us, for better or for worse. When it's for the worse, we often decide to punish ourselves. We deserve to be unhappy because of what we did, and that unhappiness serves us, a layer of protection against future sadness. Why get out in the world? Why show others that we care, why open up? That just opens up the possibility of getting hurt again.
A compelling way to break this self-diminishing way of thought is to ask "how long?" How long should our self-imposed punishment last? For how long are we going to shut dow and stay away? Is one years enough? Two? Twenty?
No one benefits from this incarceration; not our families, not our friends. We are the only ones who benefit. It is our self that we try so desperately to protect, at the risk on missing out on everything. We decide when it starts, so we can decide when it should end.
I think it's a powerful idea, one that is able to remove anyone from the endless loop of self-chastising and propel them further. I guess... I hope I won't need it anymore, but I wanted to write it down, just in case.