Those embarressing little moments
Sometimes as you go about your daily activities, you are suddenly hit by an old memory, something awkward or embarrassing. Perhaps a situation where you now wish you had acted differently, or where others saw you in an unfavourable light, or where you lost your temper or became emotional. Thinking about it again brings back unwanted anxious feelings. It can seem to swamp our mind and we might spend some time thinking them through. We’d love to let them go because they are a constant reminder or our faults and imperfections yet we seem destined to re-live them forever.
Yet as we think about these moments it does seem possible to see them as part of who we are. Part of the human condition is to make a mistake, indeed, that is one of our most basic learning strategies to test till we find a way that works. It is a short step from there to realise that everyone makes mistake which they are embarrassed or haunted by and that perhaps the skill is to have the moments, remembered in as real and honest a fashion as possible. For example many of us blame ourselves for the situation 100% and perhaps that is the case, but equally it could have been brought on by the environment you were in (for example and argument) or your mood at the time, or even an accident or a poor assumption. The skill might be in seeing the positive, perhaps it taught you to be wary of a person or a situation or suggested a different way to handle a situation and that is the part to remember.
Sometimes it may be worthwhile talking to those who were around at the time. You might be surprised that they don’t even remember your ‘big’ incident. Yet, if they do they can help to check out that you remember it correctly. Sometimes the hardest step is to accept that we made a mistake and we have learned and moved on from it. Stand up and walk out of your history as one therapist put it. Remember it is in your past even if you wanted to change it you can’t you can only deal with the present and while you may be able to change the consequences of a past event, you can’t change the event.
Finally, for most people these are unpleasant little moments in our lives as we accept ourselves warts and all. For a very few if it is a persistent thought that won’t go away or that disturbs you then you can seek help from your doctor or therapist.