Have you ever left a conversation with someone only to find yourself asking, “Why on earth did I say that?” Or perhaps you were in a situation where you had to console someone, and despite your best intentions, your words seemed to trip over themselves.
It’s quite likely that the person on the other end of your conversation has moved on and hasn’t wasted a second thought on your words. As my 18-year-old aptly puts it, “Mom, you’re overthinking it. It’s not that deep.”
Practically speaking, our minds can often work like an etch-a-sketch, with an uncanny ability to recreate scenes from our past, replicating the words, emotions, and reactions with remarkable precision. We often find ourselves drawn back to these sketches, scrutinizing them, presenting them to others in hopes of validation or commiseration, and sometimes wallowing in regret or embarrassment.
But here’s the catch – our mental versions can feel irrevocably permanent as if etched in steel rather than aluminum powder. Imagine if you could handle your mind as you would an etch-a-sketch. Take a moment to examine the drawing. Let your eyes trace the lines of the conversation that you can’t seem to let go of, understanding its form and texture. Allow yourself to sit with your emotions – be it sadness, regret, or plain silliness.
It’s okay to feel what you feel.
After you’ve given yourself the space to fully experience your feelings, shake the etch-a-sketch. The shaking represents the act of intentional forgetting, of letting go, and of moving forward. Let the lines of regret or embarrassment disappear. You see, holding onto past conversations doesn’t serve us; it hinders us. It keeps us tethered to a moment that’s no longer relevant, no longer present.
God, in His infinite wisdom, understands that if we cling to the etchings of past missteps or words we wish we could retract, we bind ourselves to old sketches, leaving no space for the creation of His fresh, beautiful drawings for our life.
So, the next time you catch yourself replaying a conversation and asking, “Why on earth did I say that?” Remember, it’s not that deep.
Shake your mental etch-a-sketch and move on.
Don’t live in the drawings of the past.
Live in the possibilities of the present.