Stop Beating Yourself Up

Of late, I have been bumping into people who I used to spend a lot of time around. I would have regarded them as friends. In fact, I spent more time with them than I did with my own family. It was a period of my life when I had stopped drinking and started running. I thought this was a massive step forward at the time. In reality, I was merely replacing one addictive behaviour with another one and my loved ones continued to suffer.

The chance encounters were not wholly unpleasant. I had a long chat with one of the persons, a lovely man who I never had any issues with. Part of me regretted the way our friendship ended, but after our talk I realised there were no hard feelings on his part. He was always the wise one in the group, who tended to keep a wary distance from the more negative behaviours and conversations. Turns out he no longer runs with the others, either, although he still sees them about.

I drove past two of the ‘others’ recently. I was driving Adam to a rugby match and they were, naturally enough, running. They didn’t see me, thankfully, and I’m not proud to say that the sighting elicited less than savoury feelings within. I felt anger, bitterness and resentment towards them. I looked at then and saw nothing but arrogance and vanity on their part. I wanted nothing to do with them.

I later told Fionnuala about them. I needed to tell someone as I could still sense the encounter festering within me. It was cathartic to talk about it, a form of purging. ‘You used to be like that,’ she replied, just like that. I was initially a little taken aback although I don’t know why as my wife is nothing but frank when it comes to telling me how it is. The truth can be hard to swallow. The best medicine always goes down hardest.

Was I really that self absorbed, that much of a strutting peacock? Obsessed with appearance and personal bests as opposed to my family, the people who truly mattered? Deep down, I knew that I was. I spent my weekends away from home, on endless long runs or travelling up and down the country in pursuit of medals or ‘bling.’ ‘It’s all about the bling’ was our motto, our mantra. How wrong I was.

I wasn’t drinking, I was going to church, I was off social media and leading a clean and virtuous life. Or so I thought. But the truth was I was as bad as ever, having merely placed one flaw with another. Inside I was the same shallow, weak, insecure mess I had always been. Except now I had added hypocrisy to the host of other character traits I possessed. Blinded to the truth by shiny, worthless trinkets.

The scars remain, even to this day. My encounter with the runners proved that and I’m forever struggling to contain the resentment that lies dormant within. I still run but it’s a solitary, slower pursuit now. The days of running clubs and multiple race entries are a thing of the past. I see it for what it is now. Vacuous and meaningless. I would never go back to that lifestyle. Once bitten, forever shy.

I’m not jealous of them. But I am annoyed seeing them still produces such emotions within me. I need to feel nothing. No, that’s not quite right. I need to feel forgiveness. Towards them and towards myself. Stop beating myself up about the past and move on. For I’m only hurting myself and, again, those around me who require my unrivalled attention. They deserve better than that. I deserve better than that.

Do you still beat yourself up about the past?

Do you ever bump into ghosts from your past?

How do you move on?

Published by Fractured Faith Blog

We are Stephen and Fionnuala and this is our story. We live in Northern Ireland, have been married for 15 years and have three kids - Adam, Hannah and Rebecca. We hope that our story will inspire and encourage others. We have walked a rocky road yet here we are today, together and stronger than ever. We are far from perfect and our faith has been battered and bruised. But an untested faith is a pointless faith. Just as a fractured faith is better than none at all. We hope you enjoy the blog.

56 thoughts on “Stop Beating Yourself Up

  1. I think we all go through periods in our lives where we get ‘obsessed’, if that’s the right word, with something or other – whether it be going down the pub, computer games, running or whatever. But we usually move on I used to run a lot, perhaps too much, too, but certainly not for the bling (it was tee shirts in my day anyway- though we did wear them proudly for yeeeeaaars afterwards 😊). For me it was all about keeping fit and healthy and a 10k, 10 miler or Half race was merely a stepping stone, or checkpoint, for the longer, marathon race. (And I never did more than one a year, so I didn’t think that was too bad). However, I wouldn’t dis the camaraderie you get from running with your mates (if they truly are, or were, your mates of course). I’m still very good friends with at least 4 of the guys I used to run with. Though we tend to get together to walk more than run these days. I’m sure you are still giving your family 110% in the time that you are with them so, as you say, stop beating yourself up about it! 🙂

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  2. I love your honesty Stephen. Yes, I beat myself up sometimes. I think that enforced solitude and having to come to terms with your life can do this also. Someone last week lit the blue touch paper for me, telling me I was dling it alk wrong when he knew nothing of me at all. Yet it was enough to bring back memories of how I used to be told how worthless and bad I was. Not exactly the same as your experience Stephen, but still painful. I move on by knowing that I have worth now, whatever anyone may say to me. It is the oresent that counts. And we just have to tell those demons to get the hell out of here. That’s how I do it anyway, for what it’s worth.

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  3. I love your honesty. I do. I’m afraid I don’t understand what forgiveness means. I can’t. It protects me from future pain. How does one forgive another person? How? It’s not that I talk about it to them, and bring it up in conversations, I just feel sad about how they made me feel and sometimes still do. I think I have issues. How do you do it? What does forgiveness actually mean? Sorry, I’m off-loading .. I think I’m tired. Katie

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    1. Thank you Katie. I am who I am. As for your question? Well, that’s probably a blog post in itself. The other person needs to earn your forgiveness. They have to prove to you that they have changed. Forgiveness is as much for you as it is for the other party. Otherwise the negative emotions will consume you. I hope you are less tired today.

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      1. Actually that makes a lot of sense. Yes … golly, I think you’ve given me a bit of a lightbulb moment. I think this is why I’ve never felt forgiveness for my ex. (Not that I harbour grudges or anything!!) Genuine and big thanks to you.

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  4. I’m not quite sure I understand your feelings. But my guess is that you feel hurt and misunderstood in some way by those people or maybe that you felt like they somehow didn’t really respect you ? I have feelings like that toward a couple of ladies from my old church and I pray that someday I will get over it. I think it has to do with me trying to win their approval and never getting it. As for running. Running is neutral, but we attach so much importance to it because of the addictive nature of endorphins and adrenaline and the thrill of crossing the finish line, as well as the idea that running makes us legitimate, proves we are worthy, shows we are tough an strong. As an ultrarunner, I have witnessed people literally destroy themselves for those things, myself included. I am in a different place now. In fact, I am signed up for a race this coming weekend, which I registered for on impulse several months ago, and I thought I had registered for the 24 hour version, but I just discovered I registered for the 12 hour and I am SO glad! I have not been able to run much since my last race and am not in shape for 24 hours at all, or even 12 really. But I have friends who think 12 is not enough and they are doing 24, 48 and 72 hours. I’m not judging them and someday I may be strong enough to do that again, not sure i want to, but it is funny the reaction I got when I told my friends I’m ONLY doing the 12 hour. In fact I was given a free entry to any race of a certain race series and none of them appeal to me. I asked God if he wanted me to stop racing to please take away the desire, maybe he did. Sorry this is so long. I’d love to have been able to sit down with a cup of coffee and chat . God bless you !

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      1. I only have to make it to a marathon to get the medal, so that may be my stopping point, considering my lack of proper training. 🙂 Honestly I wish I had not signed up! No more impulse race registrations. I’m done.

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  5. Of course I beat myself up about things from my past – there will always be things I regret or am ashamed of.

    I don’t bump into my “ghosts” so often here, but I know that if I were to go to certain places, those people that I was unkind with or to, or even hurt by, may well still be there.

    So how do I deal with it? The ever dreaded “Suck it up, Buttercup.” Sometimes it means making amends, and apologizing to someone. Sometimes it means setting an emotional or even physical boundary from some people. And oftentimes, it means looking at that person, and looking for the source of their pain and acknowledging that they hurt. I may not have been the person to cause that pain, but I don’t need to pile on top of it. I feel like…. seeing why someone behaves in a specific way makes it a lot easier to say “Hey, that’s gotta be rough. I’m sorry.” However that looks. It doesn’t mean that I must suddenly be their BFF, but at least I don’t have to add to their pile. I could not do this before, and I allow myself that acceptance of change.

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  6. Some of my worst behavior as a human occurred after I was sober a few years. You shared a great insight – we often replace the bad habit of drinking with another “good” habit which has the same consequences.

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  7. The thing is, we’re all mere humans with character flaws and blemishes we try our best to hide, even from ourselves. I had a situation at work that has taken me the better part of a year to get over. I was hurt, angry, and very bitter. The dregs of all that are not completely gone and just when I think I am OVER it, there it is again. Forgiveness, especially for ourselves seems impossible sometimes. But, in my humble opinion, as long as we continue to be hard on ourselves we will also be hard on others. Letting it go is a process, I think. And you have to be gentle with yourself – as gentle as you would be with one of your children, for example. Would you continue to beat one of your kids up for a long past mistake or failing? Be your own best friend. And leave the past in the past. As I am saying this to you I am also reaffirming it to myself…. I like you just the way you are. Your honesty and courage are an inspiration. God bless.

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  8. I am terribly self critical. Especially with regards to my mom and brother because there is no closure on our family issues now that they are gone. I question what I could have done differently to prevent their deaths. Self criticism and shaming can make me just as stagnant as other unhealthy behaviors. I am getting better at forgiving myself and others but it’s a long uphill road. I know I am not alone in the trudge and that makes it more palatable.

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  9. I have come to a point in my life where I am done with beating myself up. I’ve healed immensely through therapy. I have acknowledged and apologized to those who I had hurt. I cannot return to the past. I can only move forward. After learning and implementing this, I finally feel free.

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  10. This is a beautiful post that I can totally relate to! One thing that comes back to haunt me is the chance I let pass me by! An opportunity I will never have in this lifetime. A terrible mistake I can never make amends for. I lost my mom to cancer 5 years ago, I knew she was sick and never picked up the telephone to ask how she was. She died alone while I was 7000 miles away. I have no excuse other than I let myself get carried away with life. It’s hard waking up everyday knowing that I wasn’t there for the only person who really cared for me in this world. My point is, you still have a chance to make things right with those who are still alive and care about you. Don’t let life get in the way of showing them every single day how much you love and appreciate them. God Bless.

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  11. I don’t feel like I was ever or addicted to running as you have described. I did run focr a lot of years, but arrived at my no running by a different path. you are still running, albeit at a much reduced frenzy. I do not run at all as that ability was taken from me by Parkinsons Disease. The last time I even tned to run I took a fall and fractured 4 ribs. Sor now I walk with a rollator walker. I also hike with my trekking poles. As we both know, We have to move. Congratulations for not giving up running entirely. You said you go to church, so let’s thank God together for giving us the ability to keep our ‘temples’ strong while keeping our priorities in live-‘ I

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  12. Forgiveness does wonder, but man is it hard to admit when we harbor those dark feelings. Hard to point fingers at others and their faults….when we…point fingers. That was a rebuke I had and sometimes get. No matter how hurt I am or have been, I still have no more right to think those thoughts and care in that matter. It’s tough. I’m really glad you have this reality check though because that’s part of the battle!

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  13. Well, I’m proud of you.

    Do you have any idea, how many people, won’t even notice their deep flaws, let alone try to correct them and change them?! You are amazing! You grow and never seem to stop growing!!!

    Lots of lost souls out there, live their lives, repeating the same pattern(s). You are incredibly lucky. But it’s more than luck. You work very hard to improve your character and to learn from your past stumbles. You call yourself on certain thoughts! You question them, their validity, relevancy and also their sincerity! You are refreshingly honest with yourself. Pretty cool if you ask me!

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  14. Thanks for your honesty, Fractured Faith. Good question, how to move on from the past. I wish I had a failsafe answer. Sometimes I write things down and put them in a “God box” which allows me to let go of them. Sometimes I talk with a trusted friend to try to sort out whether I need to make some kind of amends. Sometimes I have to practice radical acceptance of reality: life can be very uncomfortable, and at the same time, everything can be OK. I have to consciously take a deep breath and let my shoulders fall, sometimes thousands of times a day.

    Wishing you peace!

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  15. Well… my husband does say the best way to break a habit is to replace it with a less-bad one, and so on. 😀

    I beat myself up about a ton of stuff. I also beat myself up about other people I perceive are beating myself up, too (just in case I need more berating).

    …oh, wait. I may be trying to out-complain you here. Time to pick a better habit…

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