Have you ever wondered why you do or say something without even thinking? Why you often react to certain circumstances in a particular way, even though you know you’ll regret it immediately afterwards? I know I have.
The truth is, we are all a product of our past; what we heard, saw, or experienced during childhood, will have had a vastly significant impact on our lives; it will have coloured who we are today and affected how we see ourselves.
Without even knowing it, if we’ve experienced harm, we’ll generally have taken one of two routes to deal with it: we’ll either have pushed the memories to the back of our mind, feeling foolish when they still affect us; or we’ll have been fuelled by pain, blaming others for our feelings, perhaps never learning to take responsibility for our own actions. What we’ll never be able to do, is to change what actually took place.
However, what we CAN do is recognise and forgive the bad, for resentment and anger will only give it strength and leave us stuck there; then we can learn from it, improve the present, and CHANGE the future – how powerful is that?
As a child of 11, I suffered dreadfully at the hands of bullies; they destroyed my self-confidence, leading to habits of secret eating, which stayed with me for decades, resulting in weight gain and leaving me with the idea that I would always be a failure.
Now, however, I’ve chosen to take hold of the pain they caused. I’ve recognised that the bullies had no right to inflict it upon me. I understand the truth, that their behaviour probably came out of the pain they had experienced themselves – and maybe still were feeling, even as they hit and kicked me.
Of course, I’ll never know, but living under the power of their words and their actions, was holding me in a cycle of self-hatred and despair: it was preventing me from becoming the person I was meant to be. It was holding me captive emotionally and physically as my ‘yoyo’ battle with weight proved, and I knew I couldn’t allow this to continue.
From this new place of strength, I realised that my experiences had given me an empathy and compassion for others whose self-esteem was so low they had no idea how to love or nurture themselves. I saw that I had the power to help them change their lives too. By choosing to forgive the past, I could not only change my own future, but I could also help others change theirs!
There will never be a good reason to dwell on the past, for we cannot change it, but there is every reason for us to let good come out of it so that we choose to change how our past affects our future!
What will you choose today?