On knowing better (the first of many parts, because I'm still thinking this over)

One of the things that growing up taught me is this: One day I will surely think about a thing that hurts now and cringe over how much I allowed it to affect me.

Over the years, this has never failed.

For example:

Sometimes, I'd be filling a water bottle or cooking or doing something so mundane, and I would suddenly remember fighting with someone I thought I would love forever but very rarely think about now, more than ten years later.

It was a long-distance romance, and we fought over the telephone. We fought viciously and loudly, even when I was on the bus, or walking along Taft Avenue, or going around in a shopping mall, usually within the perceiving distance of strangers. I was in my mid-20s and troubled; that is my excuse.

The times the memory of that love resurfaces, I feel some shame in not having controlled myself better. I am quick to forgive myself, though, because who doesn't lose himself or herself when in love, and at any age?

There are things I am less self-forgiving about. In this aspect, I am still learning.

For example:

I sometimes deal with memories surfacing from a few years ago. I was so stressed over work things that I know now are not as important as I had led myself to believe.

Back then, I was already better than my twenty-something self. I was distinctly aware of the impending regret over my own actions. Still, I simply couldn't help myself. The heart know what it wants, and, at the time, it wanted to be upset. I have so many memories lurking in the dark, waiting to pounce.

There's me crying at work (twice! with two different people!) because I couldn't believe the preposterous lie someone was saying to my face. There's me accidentally making enemies because I couldn't let go of something that I felt was being wrongfully done. There's me caring too much what other people thought, because reasons.

There are more memories; some, I know, are monstrous only in my perception. Sometimes they would sneak up on me, and I'd feel the need to hide from myself because I just couldn't believe the embarrassment of the person that I was.

But growing up, I've also learned that shame is not a good feeling to store or, worse, nurture. To deal with this, I take a deep breath and tell myself this: "You are not that person anymore. Now, you know better. Now, you are better."

On many days, especially when I repeat it long enough, it helps.