Can We Change The Past?

Friday, 20 August, 2021 - 6:30 am


Can we really undo mistakes? We can make amends and learn for the future; but – for example - can we ever un-speak hurtful words or undo harmful deeds?

We can recognize, regret and try to repair, which can be profoundly transformative, but we can’t literally undo the past.

Sometimes, we rue our behavior because we don’t like the fallout. We’ve hurt someone important in our life, and the relationship has become uncomfortable, so we say we're sorry because we want the pain to go away.

That's regret; but regret alone is not transformative remorse. It's relationship management’

If we are more uncomfortable with the other person’s reaction than with our original action, we’re modifying our behavior based on someone else's response, not our own principles. We haven’t experienced genuine character development.

So, let’s take a peek at genuine self-improvement, which may be prompted by someone else’s feedback but must be powered by our own conscience. Real transformation needs to spring from within.

G-d created each of us with the potential to be a true mensch, living with character and integrity. So let’s envision that potential as our gold standard. Once we have that as our north star, we can measure our behavior against that shining potential.

Because we want to do better.

Not because of someone else.

Because we want to make the most of our life and fulfill our own potential.

In the scope of our life, we can learn from our mistakes, our behavioral missteps. We can use them as springboards for change so that each mistake is transformed into a shining moment of growth and self-improvement.

We can’t erase our mistakes, but if we use our mistakes as springboards for positive change, then we are doing ‘the impossible’ -- reaching back in time and using a negative event as a positive force for growth.

That’s the way G-d sees it.

As for others’ perspectives, they are beyond our control. All we can do is express genuine regret, change our behavior and pray that we can move forward together toward a healthier future.





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