That Thing We Call the Past

It’s okay to let go. (You know?)
It’s okay to move on. It’s okay to move forward with life because otherwise, we’re stuck with more of the same. This means we find ourselves stuck with the same old anger. This means we’re stuck with the same goddamned resentments. This means to be stuck in the same past experience that we wish we could change (but we can’t).
So instead, we keep reliving the unforgettable and unforgivable moments that lead us back to the chemical reactions in our body, which is the end result, or otherwise known as emotion. 

Ever say to yourself, “Why do I always feel this way?”
“Why does this always happen?”
Ever wonder, “Why do I always find myself in the same place, over and over, and feeling the same way?

For some reason we hold ourselves to unrealistic standards. We judge. We diagnose. We determine, analyze and pick things apart. We want to find accountability. We want to understand.
We want to know why.
We judge others. We judge ourselves. And we rush to this as if this will somehow lead us to answers. I swear, this is where self-harm begins at the fullest.
I say self-harm begins here because a person can literally beat themselves up for decades over a decision they made long ago. Ever find yourself thinking about things you can’t change?
Ever pick this apart?
You find yourself in full-judgment mode. You say things to yourself like, “I wish I never made that phone call.” Or, “I wish I didn’t yell like that.” Or you say to yourself, “I wish I never said anything at all,” because maybe life would’ve had a different outcome. This is all judgement. This is internal judgement at its finest, which leads to nowhere else, except for rejective thinking.

Meanwhile, judgments are just that. They’re just judgments.
That’s it. 
We torture ourselves this way.
We relive thoughts and moments that do nothing but lead us to the same chemical reaction; as if we were feeling the same things again, live and in person.
By the way, this is the equivalent of kids picking scabs and the parent telling them, “Don’t pick the scab because it won’t heal and it will leave a scar.” And safe to say, we all have our share of scars.
Don’t we?
We keep our wounds fresh and alive. Believe this. We keep our pain alive and well. We feed pain and our fears better than we feed ourselves. We relive old moments. We rethink old regrets.
We wish we did or said something different. We wish we could apologize and have our apology wipe away the shame so that we could feel better.
Meanwhile, yesterday is gone. It won’t change. All the internal arguing will never change what happened. The past can never change and no amount of relitigating the past will ever make the past be anything different. 
So what’s the use, right?

Know this:
It’s okay to move forward. 
It’s okay to heal.
It’s okay to improve.
It’s okay to stop the comparisons between us and others.
It’s okay to stop looking for the justifications.
Life is not meant to live in the past.
Life is not meant to rationalize every unfortunate moment to make them more tolerable.
It’s okay to learn from our past to help us have a better future.
It’s okay to move on.
Most of all, it’s okay to forgive yourself.
Otherwise, what are we doing?

It’s okay to move forward and go on about your life, yet for some reason, we find ourselves at the crossroads of judgment. We find ourselves stuck in old, unresolvable tensions and ideas. And again, we want accountability for this. We want to understand. We want to change or make the answer or the outcomes become tolerable (or perhaps it would be better to say, Acceptable“).
And ah, there’s that word again: Acceptance.
What the hell does this even mean?
Acceptance is key, or so they say. 
But how?
How does one accept heartache or shame. How does one accept the unacceptable. How does one move on or let go of old pains that run deep? How does one create a new world for themselves without regarding the past?
Remove judgment and see.
Any internal conflict stems from personal judgement.
Stop this and imagine how much freedom we would have.

Did I ever tell you about the time my Old Man took me out for ice cream? I was excited. We had just come from doing a father and son thing outdoors somewhere. And it was a nice day too. Maybe it was the first real warm day of the season (or at least this is how it appears in my memory).
I was talking over him while he ordered.
He kicked me . . .
This wasn’t an all out kick. This was a poor act of frustration because he couldn’t hear the girl behind the counter. We were having such a good time before this. He didn’t kick me hard or anything like that. It wasn’t the actual kick that created pain. It was more the hurt in my heart that I remember. 
I’m not even sure how old I was at the time. My age was still somewhere around the single-digits. And do you know what? As an adult, I have found myself interacting with this memory, asking “Why did you do that to me?”
I have even said this out loud.
The kick didn’t hurt my leg at all; it hurt my heart.

I have found myself interacting with old memories like this. I’ve had internal conversations that were unresolvable because the truth is the conversations were long gone. All of this is unalterable and can never be changed.
The interesting part is that whenever I do this, I take on the same chemical reactions as I did at the moment. This means my body chemically responds to this. The mind does not judge the past and the present with any real perception of depth. Instead, all the mind registers are the emotions of pain, shame, guilt, fault, blame, disappointment and of course, rejection. 

The Old Man passed away on December 29, 1989, yet there are old conversations and unresolved tensions which have been kept alive. And to what avail? These tensions did nothing else but disallow me from moving forward from my old regrets that either scarred or never healed.
There is an internal experience that rejects us. There is an internal experience and source that prevents us from moving forward. This happens when we relive old memories. We revive old fears that keep us from moving forward. Put simply, we live in the past; therefore, how can we have a different future? Living in the injustice of our past or the injustice of our thinking only serves to keep us from the justice of our future.

It’s okay to move on. It’s okay to let go. It’s okay to move forward without looking back. None of this means you will die. None of this means you are being disloyal to yourself or to your memories. This doesn’t mean life won’t be what you want. Instead, this means life can take on a new shape.

You cannot recreate the past but you can create a new future by moving forward. 
Leave the judgments to rest.
Allow yourself to be the person you choose to be. Do not give in.
Do not allow your happiness to be hinged on anyone else. 
No one has the right to stop you from improving. (Including you!)
No one has the right to cripple your intentions or silence your spirit, nor should we allow anyone this power or position of importance.

I once said the day they steal my smile is the same day they stole me.
I don’t ever want to allow anyone that much power in my life.
I just want to smile.
I want to be free.
I want to live, be, do, think, say, feel and laugh to the best of my ability from this day onward until the hour of my death. (Amen.)

It’s okay to move on.
It’s okay to say this too because as I see it, if you can’t say it then how can you do it?

Know what I mean?

2 thoughts on “That Thing We Call the Past

  1. Amen. We did the absolute best we knew at the time and so did everyone else.. but it hurt and the hurt does not have to go on endlessly poisioning or hurting us.. God will help us release it if we struggle to do so alone.. we are put on earth to be happy… by accepting and not resisting the truth of life.. LIfe on life’s terms, right?

  2. This is really something I needed to read today. I’ve been beating myself up all day long and your post seemed to directly speak to me. I bookmarked in case I need it at a later date…

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