“Well I remember, I remember, don’t worry, how could I ever forget, It’s the first time, the last time we ever met” Phil Collins
There is a trick with dealing with the past, one must learn the lessons and lose the venom. It is a delicate balance but a concept clearly understandable.
The past is in the past and it is best to keep it there. We all have had painful incidents and people that have hurt us. Sometimes these events can be very traumatic to the point where they can cripple the present and destroy the future. I have known people who had been raped or abused as children. Such horrific events had a very real effect on their psyche hampering their day to day ability to function.
Forgiveness is essential. We must forgive everything that everybody has done to us. But we must understand exactly what forgiveness is. First of all, forgiveness is not legitimizing the abuses or denying the wrong that was done. When we forgive somebody the recognition of the wrong does not go away. What forgiveness is accepting the wrong and releasing the party of any ill will. Until a person forgives somebody the offender has power over the victim.
What happens when we hold resentment against somebody else? Well, first of all, they occupy a place in the mind. We recall the wrong that they did us and then we feel resentment and get angry. Perhaps we will go to the point of planning some sort of revenge. I know this because I have both studied the subject and have experienced these things. But when you forgive somebody you are emancipated from the offender’s hold on you. It’s like saying, you have done me wrong, it’s not right, I accept what you have done and hold you no ill will. At this point, the offender has no longer any hold on you. People brooding in hatred are still victims of abuse.
Saying that you must forgive people is easy and doing it is not. There are several people in my past that I have not totally forgiven. I don’t dwell on the wrong but from time to time my memory will slip on the ill they have caused me. At this point, I have to stop myself and exercise self-control.
I have friends that bring up events from the past on a continuous basis. Analyzing a situation is a very good thing. We must learn from the past. However, at some point, we must dismiss the perceived wrongs about us. Think of a wrong like a stab from a knife. We first must stop the bleeding and bandage the wound. So talking about what has happened could be a healthy thing. Expressing one’s feelings and explaining to a listener why one felt betrayed or wronged. However, once the feelings have been articulated and expressed it is time to move on. If one keeps returning to the event over and over and over then they are picking away the scabs from the wounds and doing harm and not good. It is not healthy to live in the past, put things in perspective and move on.
Of course, the past holds many valuable lessons in life if we have the wisdom to learn from them correctly. It is a tricky thing to do a detached self-evaluation to pull apart things from the past. For example in my marriage I found myself mimicking the words and behavior of my dad. This was not a positive thing by any means. I clearly understood that my parents had a very unhappy marriage and that the behaviors I exhibited were harmful to my present-day situation. As a result, I corrected my behavior. In fairness to my dad, I learned some good traits from him, like working hard and the love of reading.
That is how life is, there is good and bad. In the bad, there is almost always a lesson. As for the good, it is something to hang on to and cherish. When one reaches maturity the bad times make a person stronger while the good times are kept in remembrance brightening the present. If one focuses on the negatives they will be a negative person and poison their lives. Free your mind.
Please check out my poetry book called “Polishing The Fragments.” What does one do when God smashes their lives? They polish the fragment. This is a book of hope and struggling with mental illness and taking care of my wife with dementia. https://amzn.to/2NkxT06
Photos by Genista,