How to “pass” the past. In 12 steps.
Step 8: Challenge.
Facing the past is one of the most difficult actions that some people will ever take in their entire lives. Some people never do it. Some people never develop or desire the strength and courage that it takes to confront the issues or the people that are the reason or cause for them not being able to proceed through life effectively. Guilt, shame, anger, bitterness, hostility, and frustration are just some of the roadblocks that impede the progress or processes of healing, forgiveness, or restoration. Some people never accept responsibility or become accountable for their participation in their own lives or for mistakes that they have made that caused and contributed to the cycles and seasons of mediocrity or madness that the past holds their lives hostage to. And these issues, facts, and traditions, all become generational and identifying characteristics that are emulated and carried on in the relations and relationships of that person. Depression, hurt, sickness, and trouble, are all synonymous realities with a life spent avoiding or dodging the past. And that opens up the individual and their present-day existences to the vulnerability of triggers and coping mechanisms that are generally unhealthy means and modes of communication or dealing with their certain histories. The past is responsible for holding so many people back from reaching their potential or their goals. The past, or lack of dealing with the past, is most often the reason that people are diverted from what could be their true purposes and identities, what could be their freedoms, and what could be their peace.
But YOU do not have to be YOUR past!
Far too often we gauge or measure our cumulative success or failure based on the precedents or perceptions of what the broader society decides is the success of other people. So we either live up to, beneath, or beyond the accomplishments of individuals who the perception says were able to overcome, conquer, or defeat monsters or mountains similar or much larger or not as significant as our own. The idea is that we are all human, and we all have the very same 24 hours, and that it is our personal strength and determination that decides our resulting fates. And that is the general consensus of belief that attributes to the pressure of idealizing a standard level of accomplishment, or success, that is thereby the bar by which we set our expectations and our limitations, upon. There is a system of belief that empowers many of us to rationalize that we are successes, or failures, based not on our own reality, but totally based in the reality of individuals who have “made it” or “made good” in this life despite or in spite of the spontaneity and randomness that life has to offer. So the true story of an individual who overcomes significant odds or tragedy or adversity or a mixture, or mess of these all, becomes a standard by which others are measured or expected to measure towards achieving growth out of and beyond what any condition or situation is.
But YOU are not them, YOU are YOU…
This step is about challenging YOURSELF to be YOU! It is pompous and preposterous to imagine that any life outside of YOUR life holds more importance to who YOU are in YOUR life. It is kind and considerate, a noble gesture, to put emphasis and energy on things and people outside of who YOU are in order to fulfill an inherent desire to empathize or feel responsible for others but if YOU do not exist, does that mean that they do not? No. But because YOU exist, is the fact that YOU can add or subtract value to or from their lives. My thinking is that YOU are the most important person to YOU whether YOU believe it or not and once YOU acknowledge and then grow to appreciate that importance YOU will treasure and value who YOU are, in YOUR now, and the past will be unable to control or corrupt YOU as it may have been able to. Because for YOU, there is no survival as pertinent as YOURS. Whatever YOUR aspirations or agenda or belief is, what makes it relevant and possible to YOU, is YOU!
I challenge YOU to challenge YOURSELF to be YOU! By being YOU and understanding who that is, success and failure become personal aspirations and attributes that YOU have complete control over. When YOU discontinue the habit of comparing or justifying YOUR actions or activities to the experience of others YOU are sure to realize that YOU create and maintain YOUR path and the “success” or “failure” of YOUR expectations is completely negotiable to what YOUR journey is.
“… All paths lead to success, if learned is the process…”
-from the poem, “This is the moment”, by -see
YOU have to understand that everyone has issues, everyone has trouble, everyone has pain, everyone makes mistakes, everyone has challenges, and everyone has a past, and then YOU can begin to appreciate that we all struggle with “stuff” that happens and causes havoc and messes things up. YOU have to know that YOU are not the only one who has dealt with disappointment and depression. YOU are not the first person to let someone down or be hurt by someone or have YOUR trust betrayed or betray someone else’s trust. We’ve all experienced loss and tragedy, of magnitudes that no human should ever have to endure, but they have, and they do, and as long as life continues, they will. Far too often we isolate ourselves in the caves of our imaginations of what magnitude we pretend our issues to be. So we avoid confrontation and connection in an effort to hide or distance ourselves from what sometimes feel like a fatalistic truth of our poverty. And we harbor negative thoughts and feelings to the behest of our own inherent and often inaccurate declarations of what our situation is. And we then poison the gardens of opportunity that are planted for us to enjoy with the weeds of lies and facts that we tell ourselves are insurmountable and impossible to be forgiven.
Challenge YOURSELF to let go!
Today is the chance YOU have to start the process that leads YOU to the place or person or purpose that is beyond YOUR past. YOUR biggest challenge is no other person, no thing, no place, no issue, or no expectation, YOUR biggest challenge is YOU! YOUR most daunting obstacle will be to face the person that stands in the mirror of YOUR own reflection and identify with that individual that it is okay to live. It is okay to breathe. Whatever the thing, or past, that YOU have been dealing with or hiding from will exist and haunt YOU until YOU step out of the shadows and stand up to it. Then YOU will realize that YOU are much bigger that who YOU were, or what happened, or what YOU had feared or assumed was the case. Quite common is the truth that we are understood but undiscovered, because we shy away from the chance to be embraced and encompassed by the support and love or compassion and understanding that is the fact that any human, at any given time, is sure to realize.
I challenge YOU to be bold in opening YOURSELF up to being freed of whatever hold that the past once held on YOU. I challenge YOU to stop fighting and stop running and stop hiding and stop blaming and stop making ridiculous excuses. I challenge YOU to let someone know what YOU are feeling and to listen as they share those same feelings, of their own, with YOU. I challenge YOU to decide that “now” is the one day YOU have hoped for to be rid of the hurt and shame and loneliness and guilt and un-forgiveness and silence and repetition that the past has become for YOU. I challenge YOU to breathe. To breathe in a new feeling of what is possible for YOU and to receive, as YOU inhale, the opportunity to be noticed, to be recognized, to be considered, to be trusted, to be healed, to be forgiven, and to be loved, and as YOU exhale, YOU release the feelings of doubt and hurt and insignificance and trauma and insecurity, that have paused YOUR life.
It is YOUR time. It is YOUR turn.
Once YOU accept the challenge!
©2014 Cornelious “See” Flowers
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