Pay It Back

Many years can be spent trying to make amends.

What does a man do when his regretful past overpowers his promising future?

Perhaps there’s a feeling that you owe the people you’ve fucked over, maybe there is a debt to be paid and it is only right that you are sentenced to a stretch of time trying to put things right. Are you deserving of a great life if you are a man who has done so much wrong. I know men who have done some terrible things, drug addicts, alcoholics, men who have hurt many people, used guns and knives, bullied and cheated on their partners, stamped on peoples heads, knocked people’s teeth out and committed serious criminal offences.

I learn from these men, some of which I call my good friends, because they teach me that it’s possible for a man to break free of the sentence he imposes on himself. They are no longer the men who committed the crimes. They are new men, they are fathers, husbands and leaders. They have moved on, left it behind. However, they have all paid the price somewhere along the line. Forgiveness of others is often easier than forgiving yourself. Holding a grudge against someone is poison. Holding a grudge against yourself is a death sentence. 

Life is short, wasting it beating yourself up is not a good plan for a happy future. There is an opportunity however, for a man to take the mistakes of his past and use them to his advantage. A man who has inflicted suffering on others will often suffer himself. Pain can be the trigger point that forces change, that forces action. It leaves you with no other choice. It is at this stage in which you can determine what happens next. Revisiting hell is not something you will want to do once you have been there, and the prospect of something better is very appealing. 

Leaving behind the past is difficult. It may require the heartache of sacrificing relationships, friendships and loved ones if you are to truly move forward and remove the noose from around your neck. It is no good forgiving yourself if the people around you don’t do the same. You will be constantly reminded of your errors. Forgiveness can take time, it is a process, but how long that time is, is something I do not have an answer for. Does the sentence need to match the crime? 

To allow prolonged suffering for your mistakes is misery in its finest form. Becoming a better man because of my past mistakes is something I aim for. I take that suffering and make it my best teacher, my best motivation to do things differently. This does not always go to plan and there will be bumps along the way, but it feels like the best option. Use your mistakes to help others, to help yourself. 

Do not let others kick you when you are down, the battle is hard enough. Stand up and accept the past, have the courage to own your mistakes, do not hide from them.

Every breath is a new opportunity. Make it count. 

Alex Myers