Our Struggle to Rewrite the Past

We all have something in our past we would like to forget. Things that people have done to us or that we've done to ourselves that have forever changed our lives. I am not talking about not getting a desired parking spot at your favorite grocery store or being overlooked for the employee of the month award. I am talking about deep, devastating events that keeps up stuck and stops us from moving forward with our lives free and unencumbered. I recently held a seminar session on healing from past issues and it renewed my conviction that we are all broken in some way, it's only the degree to which we are broken that varies. Having said that, is it possible to use our brokenness for good? Ernest Ernest Hemingway said it well with this quote: “We are all broken, that’s how the light gets in.”

Life can deal us some tough blows - the death of a loved one, divorce, broken relationships, bankruptcy, abuse, racism, being overlooked for a well-deserved promotion, job loss and rejection - the list of misfortunes that can befall us is endless. I recently read the story about a woman simply named Sue. She was on her way out on a quick errand and rushed outside to her car. She strapped her son into the rear of the car, got in the front seat and put the key in the ignition, She glanced to her right and realized she had left her purse in the house. She jumped out of the car and ran inside to get it and then the phone rang. She hesitated but decided to answer it. The call lasted only a few minutes. She grabbed her purse and ran outside and was faced with a horror that would change her life forever. Her son had managed to get himself out of his car seat, climb up front and put the car in reverse. When he felt the car move, he more than likely panicked and tried to jump out. His coat must have been caught in the car door because he was dragged under the wheels and his skull was crushed. Tears flooded my eyes as I read the story. How do you get past something so soul crushing? How do you pick up the pieces after something so terribly devastating? But pick up and move on we must, even when the events we are trying to get past, we will never get over.

Life is no bed of roses and difficult as these things might be, we have to summon the courage to move past them. None of us can escape the heart break that comes with living life. Someone said, "To live is to definitely hurt". But we can move beyond whatever comes against us so that our past does not stop us from being able to reach for the good in front of us. It's time to get fed up with being stuck. It's time to draw a line in the sand and say, "This is it. You happened but you will not contaminate my future. You end today. You end now." It's time to redefine who we are, based on who we aspire to be and not what we once were; and to keep looking forward by focusing on the milestones that can get us to the future we deserve. Let's forgive whatever or whoever hurt us. If they knew better, they would do better. Begin to feel empathy for everyone that has tried to break you. What better gift to give yourself than to rise in spite of it all? I love these words by Maya Angelou: "You may shoot me with your words, you may cut me with your eyes, you may kill me with your hatefulness, but still like air, I'll rise."

Just like air, choose to rise regardless. Accept what was with compassion, forgiveness and understanding. Give yourself permission to be whole again. You are not what you experienced so do not allow it to define you or dictate what happens with the rest of your life. You are much bigger than what was done to you. Your life is larger than what transpired. You have your whole life ahead of you. What you choose to do with what is left of your life is up to you. Accept the past that cannot be changed. Let your experiences be life lessons that you apply on the journey to your future. Using the words of Steve Maraboli, “Renew, release, let go. Yesterday’s gone. There’s nothing you can do to bring it back. You can’t “should’ve” done something. You can only DO something. Renew yourself. Release that attachment. Today is a new day!”

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