I was about 16 when I first became “self aware”. I was suddenly able see myself (somewhat) objectively and see where I was in life compared to where I ultimately wanted to be.
For me at ~16, self awareness came along with the fact that I was now “consciously incompetent” in most important areas of life. I started trying to improve myself and (humbly) I have since come a long way.
Being self aware is when you step back from your life and make the effort to objectively examine yourself. Many people never do this for their entire lives. Nevertheless, it’s the first step on any journey of self improvement.
Maybe you had a similar experience to mine. It is first the realization “there’s another way to live, and another way to be” followed by the decision this is how I want to live, and this is who I want to be.
But if you’ve improved yourself a lot, then naturally there are times when you think back to how you used to be. You think back to “the old you”.
I used to hate the thought of the old me. I was embarrassed and ashamed of what I was like before I started trying to improve myself. I didn’t like the way my body looked, or the way I dressed. I didn’t like the way I acted and I hated how afraid I was.
I hated the fact that I had wanted things out of life but hadn’t been brave enough to go after them, or even known how to go after them.
I thought about how I had acted in certain situations and was filled with disgust. Sometimes I would imagine my current self going back in time, and punching my old self in the face for being such a pussy.
But over time I’ve come to realize that this isn’t a good place to come from. All it does is fill you with resentment and negative emotion.
No matter how much you’ve changed, if you are resentful about how you used to be then you are still ultimately resenting yourself.
The hate or anger that you feel belongs to you, the current you. Your feelings/emotions only affect you in the present. They do nothing to change the past.
No matter how much you’d like to go back in time and tell yourself to stop jerking off and talk to girls, or stop playing video games and start a business or start writing, you can’t. No one can. We have no choice but to accept the past for what it is.
However, we can choose how we relate to the past. A perspective you can adopt when thinking about your old self is “look how far we’ve come”. Personally I find this a lot more valuable than hatred or disgust.
After all, you couldn’t be the way you are now without being the way you were back then. The old you didn’t know any better. It’s too bad, but it’s also OK. It is what it is.
Bad feelings directed towards the past will only harm you in the present. So don’t hate your old self.
Have you progressed a lot in important areas of life? What do you think is the best way to relate to your old self? Let us know in the comments section below.