• Something to Think About: Change your past with a different lens

a pair of eye glasses on a windwosill with a night scene of a city in the background
Dr. Amit Sood says, "The past can be changed, by looking at it with a different lens."

Dear friend,

I was born with a biological instruction manual that is stored in the six-foot-long DNA, tightly packaged in the nucleus of my microscopic cells. Most of the pages in this manual explain survival and safety procedures. Now that I have lived for nearly five decades, my thoughts and experiences have edited this manual and created a second version—one tweaked to provide greater peace and happiness without jeopardizing survival or safety. I wish I had had this revised version several decades ago. I wish I could relive my past using some of the skills I now have learned. I can’t. I do, however, have a choice.

I can look at yesterday differently than I did when I was experiencing it. I can be grateful for what was right, find right in what seemed wrong, and be compassionate for the suffering I and others endured. I can choose to accept my own and others’ imperfections and forgive the hurts. I can try to find meaning in the pain that I endured. This new approach will help me live each day with purpose. It will help me be happier. Past can be changed, by looking at it with a different lens. While everything could have been better than it was, if I am convinced that I now have the knowledge and skills to live a good future, then perhaps I have lived a good past. 

May your hope and excitement for the future more than offset your regrets and hurts for the past.

Take care.

Read Dr. Sood's blog posts and follow @AmitSoodMD on Twitter.

Dr. Sood is director of research in the Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program on Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus in Minnesota. He also chairs the Mind-Body Medicine Initiative at Mayo Clinic.

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