Going Over Your Life with a Fine-tooth Comb

by Jimmy Warden

It’s really not a bad idea to go through our lives with a fine-tooth comb. The meaning of that phrase is to examine our lives in fine detail. To take the time to really look back at the mistakes we’ve made, we must look at them closely like a detective or a judge, that way we can atone for them with our future acts. The main reason that it is beneficial for us to do this is to evolve or transcend as a human because we’ll be making a conscious effort to become a better human. It is an extreme endeavor, but one that will be worth while.

If we spent more time attempting to better ourselves, we will eventually grow more as a human whether that be physically, intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, or a combination of the four. Taking the time to understand how, when, or where we went wrong will simply give us the wisdom for future action so that we don’t make that same mistake again. For example, we can probably think of a time that we might have over-consumed our favorite food or drink and ended up feeling sick to our stomach. Maybe we’ve even done this a number of times. Looking back on those experiences and thinking “when should I have stopped eating?” can give us the information we need in order to prevent the negative outcome from happening again. This can be applied to just about any area of our life, but I just wanted to give a relatable example!

This examination also gives us a sense of direction because we then know how to act in the world for the outcome we want. Yes, there are always uncontrollable factors that can shift life’s trajectory in the daily moments, as well as in the life-changing moments, but we have a lot of power in shifting our lives just by changing some of our behaviors. This gives us something to focus our attention on. Once we have focused our attention, we know what it is we’re after, and we have an idea of how to get it. It is also extremely important that if we’re trying to change bad habits, it’s important you forgive yourself, and move forward when you fall short. There will be shortcomings and moments of weakness even after we have a sense of clarity because habits are almost “wired” into us because they become so automatic in our day-to-day lives.

The things we atone for don’t always need to be bad habits that we want to turn into good habits. They could be the big mistakes we have made and want to make up for, or perhaps someone or a group of people has caused us physical or psychological pain, maybe even a combination of the two. If something of that nature has happened to us it is important that we want to make sure we are not involved in a situation like that again. Maybe, a significant other was involved with someone else against our knowing. Maybe, our parents have made us feel insignificant. Maybe, we’ve really felt at rock bottom. Regardless of what the situation is, there was more than likely a list of small, micro-events that bubbled and festered until a grand climax of a negative event or multiple, grand negative events occurs.

In order to atone for something like this, we need to really think about, what were those micro-events? What were those red flags that popped up as time passed? What could I have done differently to affect the outcome? It’s essential to think deeply about these questions, so we can recognize those small red flags that will pop up in similar, future situations. That way we can avoid the catastrophe that could potentially occur from repressing those red flags. We could potentially even avoid all of the red flags if we analyze deeply enough and are willing enough to execute on the necessary changes. The reason being is that our awareness of ourselves and other people will be much higher. We’ll also raise our personal expectations, in terms of how we want to carry ourselves as a person, and we’ll also raise that expectation of what we expect from others.

This way of living is definitely taxing, but it makes each day a little bit more meaningful than it otherwise would be and in this process we can actually become our own hero. No longer will we search high and low for motivation or inspiration because all we’ll have to do is look in the mirror. When we look in that mirror we’ll be proud of what everything we’ve gone through and the beneficial changes that we’ve made. We’ll know that we’ve put our bodies and minds through difficult challenges we didn’t think you’d overcome, but we did. Now, there is no longer a task too tall, or a challenge that’s too hard, and we’ll know in our hearts and souls that we’ll be able to overcome it again. We’ll have ways to strategize our lives because we’ll have learned from those previous defeats. Once the strategies are implemented, we’ll be able to navigate our lives with a bit more care and a bit more awareness. When compounded over time, this can lead to a very meaningful life, full of experiences, knowledge, and wisdom. We’ll have “made up” for our mistakes of the past by making a concerted effort to not repeat them in the future. Most importantly, we’ll be a better person because of it.

So, we can’t be afraid to go through our lives with a fine-tooth comb.

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