Monday, 2 February 2015

Putting The Past Behind You

Okay, so I know it's kind of hypocritical for me to be saying to let go of the past so it doesn't affect your future given how much I write about my own, but in my defense, I had far too much going on to deal with when I was younger, so now I don't really have a choice but to look back and resolve everything in order to move forward. So I guess it's kind of different.

When I say let go of the past, I mean to stop holding onto things that don't serve you or the life you have now.

I think about artists' like Eminem who have forged a career on anger, angst and underlying hurt at the things which have happened to him throughout his life which really just isn't fair, but hey it's afforded him a pretty epic music career.

I find myself relating to songs like 'Sing For The Moment', 'Lose Yourself', and just enjoying the lyrical stylings of 'Without Me'. But I wonder, those songs made sense to me 10 years ago, and still kind of do now, but not as much. How much hate and resentment can someone hold onto? How long can they hold onto it for? It just doesn't seem healthy.

From my understanding of Eminem's background, his dad left when he was young and his mum struggled to provide for him and his sister. They grew up in a pretty bad area with high crime rates and gang violence. It makes sense that his music reflects his anger at the injustice of his upbringing, but it's 20 years or so later, surely he's gotten it out of his system now, dealt with everything that happened and been able to make things right for his kids?!

It makes me sad to see how much crap people hold on to and how it destroys their lives. At the same time, it makes me sad to see how much negativity people have held onto. When they were told they would never amount to something, so they believed it and hate the life they've got now.

I think people are always looking for an outlet, someone to blame. Many refuse to acknowledge their part in a misunderstanding or a deep hurt, others hold onto their guilt forever when the occurrence wasn't even their fault but they've either convinced themselves, or been convinced that it was.

I've learnt through a great deal of self-reflection and years of therapy that of all the things I went through, only a miniscule portion of it, if that, was actually anything to do with me, the rest was me just being a victim of circumstance. Whatever ills I've done I've taken responsibility for and been thankful that no lasting damaged was caused by them. More often than not it was such a simple and forgivable offence that the person I did it to had either forgotten about it or rarely spent a thought on it.

For far too long I blamed my parents for everything that had gone wrong in my life. It was always their fault when this, that or another thing had happened and I resented them for it. After years of getting nowhere fast and not being able to do anything about changing the past, I realized that the best thing I could do is stop blaming them and giving myself more excuses not to move on with my life.

I accepted, as incredibly hard as it was, that mum had an illness which made her say and do things which she otherwise wouldn't do. No one asked for her to be that way, but she still was. She still had the capacity to love me and everyone else to the best of her ability, and she showed that in whatever ways she could, that's all that really matters in the end.

I stopped being angry and upset at my dad for not being able to tell me he was proud of me, for sheltering me and overprotecting me to the point where I felt suffocated. I realized that he'd already been through hell in his life and was ultimately just trying to do everything he could to protect me, even if it didn't work out exactly as he planned it. I'm grateful to him for allowing me the freedom to be the person that I am and never trying to stop me from being that way. He may not be able to say the things that I want him to, but I know he shows it in his own way, that's what really matters.

During my last therapy session when I brought up all my feelings from a previous post so she could understand my thought process and exactly what I was feeling, I mentioned that my brother had dropped by for a visit and I'd asked him about people I'd gone to school with since he still saw a few of them on occasion at church events. For the most part everyone had grown up, married off and they were doing pretty well for themselves. I thought of all the things I wanted to do, or say to the people who I felt hurt by or that I wanted to prove myself too, it started to hit me. As much as I'd grown up and come out of my shell, so had they. I don't know of many people that don't change after high school, whether for better or worse.

I wondered if I ever ran into those people again, what would be the same and what would be different. Would they remember things that I couldn't or didn't want to forget? Would it all still matter? I thought about it from the perspective of the guy from high school that got away. All grown up and married now, would the past just be a feint memory to him or would he have an equally fond recollection of events? My therapist told me it would be more detrimental than helpful to make contact with him, I told her I knew it and wasn't considering going out of my way to do so. She told me if I did try, he would probably even resent me for doing so, bringing up the past and letting it interfere with the present when it has no place. The more I thought about it, the more pathetic I kind of felt about it and realized how much of a bad idea it really would be to take action. It was fair enough that I was holding onto things until I had fully processed them and let them go, but it wasn't fair for me to put that on to someone else.

Healing from the past and accepting it for what it was is a hard thing to do and does take time, but it's a necessary part of the present and definitely the future.

For me, I wrote in diaries from the age of 13 because I had no one else to turn to and there was just too much for me to deal with at such a young age. It's kind of like a mental storage box or memories that have been put onto paper. I'm grateful to myself for having done it because without that I wouldn't be able to look back and see all the things I missed before. I wouldn't be able to appreciate my own journey as well as all the things I've come to learn through time.

Holding onto the past is letting me change my future and make it whatever I want it to. By writing a book on how hard life really can be for some people, I'm helping myself first and foremost, but I'm also helping anyone and everyone who reads it to know what it's like to live someone else's life and also to know that if they've experienced at least one thing that I have, they're not alone, just like I always felt like I was.

Putting the past behind you is the best thing you can do for yourself when it no longer serves you.

(Photo credit to pretty-little-liars.wikia.com)

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