Wednesday, February 13, 2008

“Wonder”-ful Wednesday

This week’s quote is one that I’ve kind of mentioned before. I love this quote. I’d almost say “I heart” this quote, but so many people are using that now that it makes me want to put a moratorium on it through the next century. (First digression: Seriously people. Stop “hearting” stuff already!)

Anyway, like I was saying, I really dig this quote. (Second digression: Can I bring “dig” back? No? Too soon? Give it another ten years for it to be retro enough? Okay.) When I first read it, I realized that I did the exact opposite of what it’s suggesting. I really think most of us do. But, before I continue with my treatise on the thing, here’s the quote:

“What a fool a [wo]man is to remember anything that happened more than a week ago unless it was pleasant, or unless [s]he wants to make some use of it.” --Samuel Butler
(I “ladied” it up since most of my readers are of the female persuasion and because I felt like it.)

Now, be honest. How much do you dwell? How much do you go over past mistakes, or missed opportunities just to make yourself feel crummy? How much time do you waste reminding yourself of how much time you've wasted?

I’m guilty as charged. (Third digression: I actually wrote “I’m quilty as charged” and didn’t realize it until I had already posted it. I wonder what being “quilty” is like. Maybe warm and snuggly?)

I’m trying to take Mr. Butler’s advice (Fourth digression: Hmm…that reminds me of another Mr. Butler. Dreamy…). I’ve been trying to only remember happy things, good things, fun things, positive things. And if an unpleasant memory bubbles up, I ask myself “Can I make any use of it? Is there anything I can do about it? Is there something I need to learn from it (aside from the fact that it was stupid or I was an idiot)? Is there any purpose to me remembering this whatever-it-is?

And if I can’t answer these questions with a definite “yes,” then I toss it. I say to myself “Liz, this thought is a useless thought, and you don’t need to waste your time or energy on it.”

Sometimes I have to say this to myself 20 times before it actually changes. But, it’s a learning process. You can’t change the thought patterns you’ve developed over decades in a few minutes. No, this is something you have to work on every day.

Now, don’t misunderstand. Samuel Butler isn’t saying that we should never remember the bad things. After all, that’s where a lot (most) of the lessons in life come from. But, he is saying that if we’ve learned from it, then let it go.

So, here’s your challenge: This week, try to alter how you remember your life. Reflect on the happy, good, fun things. Let those thoughts wash away your regrets or mistakes. Only you can do this for yourself. Only you can release yourself from your past!


themayerfamily said...

You are so inspirational. I'm going to have to digest this one and pass it on to my mom as well. I think I am totally guilty of this. Is it a girl thing, because my husband doesn't have a problem letting this go.
Sorry this is kind of long, but I remember when I was at the sealing of Randy and Kathy McCook, the sealer told a story of his youth. He was playing with matches and caught his parent's house on fire. Well, he didn't know it and went into the house. After it really started to blaze the family realized it and got out. The fire dept. came, put it out and then his father called to his children to come have family prayer. He said that he watched as all his family were in a cirle. He felt very out of place and like he didn't belong. As he started to walk away, his dad called out to him. He said that his dad knew he had started the fire, and there was a lot of damage. However, his dad never said a word about to him about what the retribution was or complained because of the inconvenience or anything. He ofcourse applied this to marriage, but I have often thought about this in so many ways. What if we really could just let it go. I think sometimes I need help from the Savior, just giving him the anger, or hurt or whatever.
Thanks for the insight!

Andrea said...

Thanks for your post Liz. This is something that I need to start doing. I have so many things that I look back on and I have a hard time letting them go. I am going to try to reflect on the happy, good, fun things like you said. Although if you read my most recent post, I don't think I'll ever be able to get over that mistake! :)

Anonymous said...

I love that last sentence my friend. You and I have been thinking in the same vein of late! We can release ourselves from just about anything if we but learn the magic words.

Rachel said...

From now on anytime an unpleasant or useless memory pops in my head I'm going to replace it with my memory of getting my Big Wheel for Christmas. Instant joy!

And, on my first quick read through I didn't click on any of the links...except for the Mr. Butler one. Thanks for that.