Remember to celebrate how far you have come!
As I have already explored on many occasions, as human beings there is a tendency for us to stay locked in the past; the fall-out being we then tangle up our present moments with those negative experiences we carry around. There can be a stubbornness to grow and learn, possibly due to our basic need to stay in control. The result is we can become a little bit too comfortable riding around on the same merry-go-round, that is, until we actually fall off, or someone kicks us off!
When we get lost on that merry-go-round we simply don’t look at the present and where we are now, or what we have achieved, or indeed how far we have actually come. I guess if we are measuring ourselves against material wealth, popularity, career success and perhaps other people that will not necessarily give us massive cause to celebrate. Why? If we are basing our growth on the external rather than the internal I suspect from that premise we are not going to feel a true sense of satisfaction. By coming from a vantage point of comparison we will never actually get to where we want to be. Naturally that will prevent us from fully appreciating any sense of inner achievement in our present moment. I think that in itself can be a little soul destroying and really does rob us of the opportunity to recognise just how far we have come.
Life can be pretty hard work at the best of times; without us perpetuating things further by putting up massive resistance to change. When we go through our dark times, which I am pretty sure most people do, that really is where the beneficial changes can come about. It is not always an easy process, it can feel absolutely terrifying, not to mention both hurtful and painful. In my experience our resistance to embrace those dark times, to flow with them, rather than against them, to deny them and shroud them with fear and panic, most probably prolongs the agony. We get so stuck in that great abyss of fear that we delay the organic movement and flow to get to the other side.
I should know I have done it myself! It’s not exactly the easiest route; and clearly if we don’t work with the fear but moreover against it we will continue to ride on the merry-go-round. Sometimes it does feel like a situation will never actually end but I reckon when you reflect back at other challenges you have been through, they did end and you did survive them. I am also pretty sure that you will have learned a great deal about yourself and others along the way.
I sometimes feel a sense of frustration when I encounter people that really do stay in the past, not because I don’t have empathy towards them or their experiences, because I absolutely do; and not because I have never done it myself, I have. I guess my frustration stems from how miserable it makes us feel and how essentially it really does stop us from being able to fully connect in the now and as such closes us off to new possibilities and potential. I think it is also incredibly hard work fighting an internal battle between the past and the present. When we consistently use our past, in the negative sense, as a benchmark for the decisions we make in the present, we run the risk of basing every decision we make with a lack of neutrality and, perhaps, fairness. We are less likely to take risks or give anything a real chance with the knock on effect that there is very little movement or change; yep, back to that merry-go-round.
Somebody asked me today, how I have managed to overcome the things that I have and to be honest I really had to think about how I have; because when I look back, I really do ask myself that same question. I guess, to a degree, the pain and hurt I felt as a result of some of my experiences was so bad that I don’t actually want to relive that feeling over and over again; it serves very little purpose to me, apart from a short, sharp and shocking reminder of where I do not want to be. Also I do not believe that I should be defined by the way other people have behaved towards me, in the negative, that is not my responsibility to carry. There we are that is a big fat chunk of the past that has immediately been resolved!
So what else have I done in order to let the past go? Well I have confronted it, processed it, tried to understand it and somehow or other, if I have not been able to come up with a definitive answer, found my own peace and acceptance with it; because ultimately that is all I can do. Most importantly I have forgiven it. My pain has possibly caused discomfort to others but I suspect that is because, generally speaking, human beings have a fear around pain so therefore they attempt to avoid it; my sense is that if we don’t confront and release our pain then it just accumulates; and then what are we left with – well a whole heap of unexpressed pain. Surely that is too heavy a burden to carry; versus working through it, finding our peace with it and then letting go of it!
So I guess to sum up we can’t change our experiences, we probably won’t ever really forget them but in order to celebrate how far we have come we have to find some peace with them. It is what we learn from those experiences that should give us cause to celebrate, it is our challenges that afford us the chance to grow, to break negative cycles, to acknowledge our inner strength and to evolve as human beings. If we can begin to pluck some of the positives out of the negatives we really have started the journey to find our peace.
Sometimes we do what we do for survival and when we realise that we are not surviving we always have the opportunity to change our strategy; allowing ourselves to have that choice really is cause to celebrate, because nothing is ever really as lost as you think!