Has a friend ever introduced you to one of their friends and they immediately started talking to you about your past? You stand there feeling completely affronted by their knowledge of you. You’re thinking, “I’ve just met this person and I don’t want them knowing all that about me,” right?
Our stories are ours to tell. We tend to share our past experiences with people we trust; people we get to know and realise that they have had similar experiences and will understand where we have been. We don’t want to be trapped by our pasts. Yet we connect to others through our common experiences.
When we have grown beyond our pain; our hurts and wounds we don’t want others to make assumptions about who we are. Too often, when people know about our pasts they treat us as if we are still that same person. We don’t want that. We want to be treated how we are now; the person we have grown into. Mostly it’s the person we always have been but for a little while we got lost in the hurt, pain, tragedy and anguish that was our reality at the time.
Yet when others see us in all our strength they also make assumptions – that we have had a perfect life and don’t have any challenging experiences in our past. This is just as limiting as being trapped by a past trauma.
I have spent the bulk of my life healing from my past and I know I don’t want to be defined by my past. But then I don’t want all I’ve learnt and grown through to be dismissed as irrelevant just because I have moved beyond surviving my experiences.
Life is about that ‘fine line;’ the line between our past and our present; between who we were and who we are now. Finding the balance of everything in life is what we spend a lot of our time working on. Sometimes I think it is our collective purpose – to learn who we are, what matters to us, how we act, think and speak in all situations, and how we can be our best possible self from all the experiences we have had.
So often our experiences of injustice occur because people keep treating us as they remember us from the past. Some people find it really hard to adapt to change or to grow beyond themselves and so they project that on to us by treating us as if we have never changed or grown either.
In those moments we have to recognise the beliefs that create the behaviours in others and make choices about how we interact with them. I’m not saying it’s always easy or even that we will always be successful but if we are to remain true to ourselves we have to act from who we know we are right now and not revert back into old patterns. We have to try and keep on practising being our best self!
The quote myself from Making Sense of the Insensible: ‘What we need to remember at all times, is that things that happen in a context of time, place, and circumstance, need to remain in that context. We may be different now and don’t want our lives to be tainted by our pasts. We want to be dealt with as we are, not who we were.’
It seems like it’s the theme in people’s lives at the moment as I hear it embedded within many conversations I am having.
How is this playing out for you right now?
Remember the lessons of injustice come to us three ways – how others treat us, how we treat others and how we treat ourselves. What experiences are you having?