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Home / Articles / Columnists / On the Bright Side /  CTRL-ALT-DELETE
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Friday, October 4,2019


By Jonna Shutowick. M.S. Ed.  
This year alone 640 new words were added! I think CTRL-ALT-DELETE should be up for consideration. CTRL-ALT-DELETE: (v) the act of resetting to begin anew, applied universally to electronic devices, projects, and even people: A modern day version of “Tomorrow is another day” or “to shake it off.” Computer giving you trouble? CTRL-ALT-DELETE. Need to sign in as a guest? CTRL-ALT-DELETE. Wouldn’t it be cool to be a guest in your own life sometime? Cable box need a reboot? Press the pen tip into that tiny button. Know what happens? CTRL-ALT-DELETE. When it comes back on, it is as good as new! Disappointed in your performance as a wife, mother, student, employee, sister, (fill in the blank)? CTRL-ALT-DELETE!

We are imperfect, but it’s comforting to know that as the sun goes down each evening, the moon crosses over the sky, and the sun always rises again offering us another chance at a do-over. Of course, an important component in proper usage of CTRL-ALT-DELETE requires a certain appreciation for accountability. It’s one thing to make a mistake and move on, quite another to keep making the same mistakes over and over. A computer or phone that makes the same errors after being reset is replaced. People are not so easily replaced, but our repetitive mistakes will make others grow tired of us in the same way. As long as we maintain an honest curiosity and an earnest desire to improve, CTRL-ALT-DELETE gives us permission to make mistakes and begin anew.

It becomes a fine balance with behaviors that are destructive, even if only self-destructive. Addictions, for example. It’s important not to beat oneself up over repeated failures to gain control over an addictive or obsessive behavior, leading us to conclude that our efforts are useless and give up completely. On the other hand, it is important to acknowledge that CTRL-ALT-DELETE for humans does not erase memory. Therefore, when employing this technique for self-forgiveness, it is important to understand that others may not be so forgiving if there is no growth after a reset.

I began implementing techniques from May McCarthy’s book “The Gratitude Formula” into my daily life to see if I could reduce my need for do-overs. She offers an interesting exercise that, candidly, feels strange at first, but after going through with the daily ritual for a few weeks, a shift occurred. The practice is this: Each morning, spend your first 10 minutes reading an inspirational book of your choice, must be positive. No news, TV or other distractions. Positive, inspiring stories. Then, meditate for 5-10 minutes about how you would like your life to be in the future. See yourself as the person you are striving to become. Then, journal for 10 minutes expressing gratitude for those images as if they have already become your reality. Repeat this every day, and after a few weeks you will experience a shift. For me, I am more connected to my higher self, not tripping over myself so much. I am better able to stay focused on living my best life, as opposed to constantly searching for what that might be. Fewer resets. Nonetheless, CTRL-ALT-DELETE is there for all of us when we need it. Thank goodness.


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