Do you have the tendency to think about something embarrassing that you said or did in the past, and once you do, feel embarrassed or ashamed all over again?
I’ve caught myself doing this more times than I can count. Thinking about something stupid that I did or said. The thing is, is that it’s not just a passing thought. But I will rehash it in my brain over and over again, feeling more embarrassed each time I think about it. I can be sitting outside enjoying nature, and the next thing I know, I’m cringing into myself deeper and deeper because of an embarrassing memory.
I heard somebody else talking about the same thing, and it was a pleasant realization to discover that I’m not the only one. Now, it’s not as bad for me as it used to be. When I catch myself doing this, I make a conscious effort to shrug it off and immediately change my train of thought.
Because really, there is absolutely no benefit in rehashing those cringe-worthy events. It does nothing but needlessly raise our anxiety level and cause us unnecessary stress. It’s like investing in a mausoleum- it will never pay off.
The key here is to recognize when we’re doing this and then make an effort to stop it. Then, we can remind ourselves that the only result of this train of thought is to punish ourselves over and over and over now, for something we did in the past — something long over with and done.
That’s not to say we shouldn’t attempt to right our wrongs, if possible. If we’re embarrassed or shamed about hurting someone, we should certainly try to make amends and repair the relationship, if possible. But most of the time, these events are long over and done with, and we have no control over them. It does us no good to relive them continuously in our heads.
Though it appears as though embarrassment and shame last forever, this does not have to be the case. So now I try to recognize when I’m doing this and gently remind myself that it does you no good to dwell on past mistakes. I’ve gotten much better at this, and it’s only rarely that I dredge up an embarrassing or inappropriate deed. But when I do, I chuckle to myself once I recognize what my devious mind is up to and quickly put those thoughts behind me.