The interesting thing about growing and improving as a person is it can sometimes be a double edged sword.
As I learned to regulate my nervous system through EMDR and now neurosomatic training, I started to feel like a different person. I had more perspective and could respond to things without being so reactive. My inner world became a much more peaceful place, and the constant pain and angst began to recede.
This is a really good thing and if you have done this work, you know how powerful these shifts are. So many negative things we thought were part of our personality turn out to be symptoms of dysregulation and unresolved trauma that go away the more we heal. They aren’t who we are at all.
As we develop more skills and perspective, we become better and kinder. But with awareness can sometimes come shame. Looking back at how I reacted to situations and people I have felt a lot of shame. Memories will come into my head and I’ll literally cringe.
I feel remorseful for the impact my dysregulation had on other people.
My journey now as I continue to grow and heal is one of forgiveness and compassion. Of recognizing I did the best I could at the level of my awareness and my nervous system at the time and ruminating or beating myself up for situations I handled badly isn’t helpful.
As we grow and find compassion for our flawed past selves, we reach a new level of kindness and compassion for everyone. That’s the journey I’m on now.
If you’ve done the work to grow and are now looking back in horror at your less evolved past self, you are not alone. But that part of you (which is often a much more childlike part) needs love and compassion from you now. It is safe to forgive yourself. You deserve compassion. We all do.