Working With The Past

May 14, 2015 (original post here)

A couple weeks ago I had a post talking about moving on and learning to kind of deal with the scars we get as we go through life. I must admit that I’ve been thinking about it more and I know there’s that semi-famous line from the Incredibles when Edna Mode: 

but sometimes you can’t help but to look back. In fact, sometimes looking back is the best way to learn from your mistakes and learning more about who you are. 

I’ve always heard people tell me that I need to leave the past in the past and just move on; I’m 100% sure that I’ve told that to a couple of my friends as well. Thinking about it though, looking to the past is the best way to see how much you’ve grown and how much you’ve changed. Everything that we’ve been through, whether good or bad, has affected us in some way. It either helped us to grow as an individual or it provided us pain to learn from our mistakes and trust our instincts. 

I’ve had experiences that has helped me grow: 

  • Becoming captain for my bowling team 
  • My sister being diagnosed with leukemia
  • Moving to a new state 

and I’ve had experiences that hurt me: 

  • Guy that I had a “fling” with finding someone else 
  • Friends leaving me behind 
  • Family not being as supportive as I would hope

All of these things and more has formed me into the type of person that I am today. Looking back at these experiences helps me to figure out what areas I still need to work on and what areas are sources of strength. For example, I have trust issues when it comes to any type of relationship, and at the end of the day, all I can think about is how/when will these people hurt me. However, when my sister got diagnosed with leukemia, my family and I became closer, and I realized that even though my family and I may go through our rough patches, they’re the ones who are going to be there for me. I can turn to them when I need help or when I’m feeling lonely because they’ve been through the worst with me, and I know they’ll go through the best of times with me. 

The past is there for us to learn. It may make us cringe to look back there and bring up those feelings, but it’s the only way we learn. I mean, why do you think we have to take history class? The hope is that by teaching you what has happened in the past, we will be able from it happening again in the future. Obviously, that hasn’t really happened, but it’s a good idea. 

There’s one story that I want to talk about that has affected me more than I had thought. When I was a sophomore in high school, there was this guy that I really liked. He was the first guy I ever told that I liked him, and he said he liked me back. Typical puppy-dog situation. So we went about a month of just being this fling. We weren’t officially a couple but we did hold hands (steamy, I know) and he was the first guy to tell me he loved me (besides family) and he was the first person I gave my heart to. One night I had the strangest dream. It was both of us at this carnival/festival, and we were sitting next to each other on a picnic bench, and then all of a sudden, he was gone and I could feel my heart drop. Immediately I woke up and I checked his MySpace, yes it was the main thing back then, and there I saw it. His status showed he was in a relationship with some other girl. I remember feeling all the color drain from my face and I’d never cried so hard up to that point. Later, I asked him how he could do that to me and how he didn’t say anything the night before, and to be honest, I don’t remember what he said (I do have the conversation saved somewhere), but I do remember the pain. I remember feeling betrayed, played, foolish, naive, and stupid. It took me a while to get over it and when I did, I built walls. I kept people out because I needed to protect me. I couldn’t bear to feel that way again and I locked that memory in the back of my mind.

Fast forward to the present, well, a little bit in the past, but still relevant. In one of my classes (this semester) there was this girl. At first I thought nothing of it, but on the second day of the semester, I started getting weird vibes. I felt an uneasiness in my stomach and there was just something about her that didn’t sit right with me. I didn’t think much of it because I didn’t even know this girl, but one day driving home, all of a sudden, that memory popped up almost out of nowhere. I do believe that we all have this instinct that warns us when something isn’t right (mine has been right 3/3 times, so it’s on a roll) and I realized that I need to trust what my body is telling me. To protect myself from the same pain I had felt before, my body reminded me why I should trust myself. I ended up not figuring out exactly why I had this inky feeling around her, but I kept myself at a distance to make sure I didn’t end up hurting me. 

Our past is filled with so many lessons we can learn from and we need to use these lessons to understand how we got to where we are. It can be confusing, but when you understand how your past formed you into the person you are, you have a better understanding of why you do things a certain way and why you react to things a certain way. 

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