Listening to the Deaf Church pastor speak about moral compasses one Sunday which led me to think about my own compass and the direction it pointed. I visualized the virtues as True North along with a compass that helped it click. I often said I wanted to be a good person, coming to the realization I had been a narcissist, not a criminal level bad person. The fact I used that term, occasionally calling myself an asshole directed attention towards an internal issue to deal with.
A psychological method the Stoics use that has proven helpful with other issues is fatalism. Not in a sense of ‘there is no point to anything’ but a targeted fatalistic attitude when it comes to the past and this very instant. In this context, it is in dealing with the past, the fact that it is set into stone and there is not a damn thing anyone can do to go back and change it. I had some serious character flaws, the question was do I still have them? Not to that degree, because I did the only thing, we can do with the past; learn from it so we do not repeat it. The past is best used as a lesson, not a punishment, taking the consequences of our actions and learn from it. Sum it up with simply. ‘Yeah I did that (or that happened), so let’s not do that again.’
Dwelling on it is like depriving a plant of sunlight, any potential growth withers, instead reach for the light.