I'm guilty of many things that are less than healthy (ice cream addiction, Oreo cookie addiction, couch addiction, etc.), but one of the most unhealthy things that I've always done and I am working on changing is the fact that I allow my past to cause me pain in the present, so much so that I sometimes end up pushing my past out into my future. What do I mean by that? I'll tell you.
We all find ourselves, at some moment or the other, thinking about a past love, or a past error we've made, or the regret of something we didn't have the courage to do, and felt the pain all over again. We are human, and even if we're really good at forgiving ourselves and moving on there is usually something that holds a particulary painful place in our memory, which when dredged up can cause us to feel that pain all over again. That is an utterly human thing to do, and as long as we don't dwell for too long and come to accept that what's done is done, there really isn't too much harm in that kind of wistfulness every now and then.
The kind of unhealthy, melancholy pensiveness I'm talking about is when you find yourself pushing those past experiences and feelings out ahead of you and using them as a shield in the subconscious hope that it will protect you from making the same kind of mistake in your future. That seems like a logical thing to do, except that it isn't. Not at all. You're thinking that you're protecting yourself, and that protection will take you to a pain-free future, except all that you're doing is taking the pain with you and pushing it out in front of you everywhere you go -- which, ironically, brings you into a pain-filled future. Look at the girl in the picture above. How far is she going to get, pushing that old lemon of a car out in front of her? Not very far, my friends. Not very far at all. And that's us, pushing all that pain out in front of us, thinking it'll keep us from making the same mistake in the future. It simply does not work.
This morning, as I found myself deeply pained by the memory of a love lost, I realized that I have spent the last 4 years in solitude, thinking that I was taking the time to focus on myself, but all the while I was pushing the past out into my future. Fearing having someone I love yet again tell me that I was no longer enough for them, I told myself that it was best if I stayed out of the love game altogether. And while I do sincerely love being single, and I want to continue to focus on myself, my goals, my role as a mom, and my emotional and spiritual growth, I don't want my loving being single to act as an excuse to keep pushing around my past pain into my future.
I'd bet, that if you look at your mental and emotional life, there might be a thing or two from your past (no matter how large or small), that you keep pushing out into your future. Is there a way that you can begin to release the grip you have on it, so that when you are ready to walk away from it completely you can do so without it feeling like you've given up a part of your very identity? I, for one, am going to make it my business to start mentally rewriting the story I've written about that one lost love, so that instead of it being an old broken-down car that I still push out in front of me (sadly thinking that it's actually getting me somewhere), that sad story merely becomes exactly what it is - just something that once happened, that no longer exists, that I do not need to bring with me anymore. I can leave that broken-down car on the side of the road and walk until I find a rest stop. Will that rest stop be inner peace? Self-acceptance? A new love? I don't know yet. I do know that whatever it is, I'll get there faster if I'm not pushing that beat-up ol' car out in front of me.
More from living