Has a book ever stopped you in your tracks with an “aha” moment?
One book that did that for me is “The 4 Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz, and his perspective on guilt.
What’s the purpose of guilt?
I believe the positive purpose of guilt is to give us enough negative emotion around a past action such that we make a better decision in the future. (Knowing that sometimes it doesn’t have a positive purpose at all… it’s just an echo of our past.)
If we’ve learned our lesson and will do differently, than guilt has done its job and no longer serves a purpose. To which Don Miguel Ruiz proposes the concept of…
…no double jeopardy.
Double jeopardy refers to the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution. (…yes, “Jeopardy” is more than just a tv game show …)
It’s a legal principle in the U.S. that states you can’t be tried and punished for the same crime twice. Once you’ve been punished, you’ve paid the price and now you can move on…
So, Stephan, what’s the big deal?
Well… I discovered in my mind I was “re-punishing” myself all the time.
It could be a mistake I made in a performance…
…or an email I wish I’d never sent
…or an opportunity I let pass me by.
I would make a mistake, feel bad about it and learn my lesson… then come back and punish myself by feeling bad about it again and again…
Double jeopardy, triple jeopardy, quadruple jeopardy…. even though I had already paid the price and learned the lesson.
Once I had my “aha” moment I almost immediately began to feel and do better… all I’d have to do is whisper “no double jeopardy.”
Are you feeling bad about something you’ve long since learned from?
Perhaps it’s a good time to whisper “no double jeopardy” and… let. it. go.