I caught a brief video on Facebook recently & in it, the gentleman said, “if you hold onto your history, you do so at the expense of your destiny.” This sounds so inspiring doesn’t it? But then I paused to think about it for a second.. & it hit me wrong.
Your history can be a very good thing, even when it’s full of awful, negative things & trauma.
As you live life, you learn. Good, bad & indifferent, you’re constantly learning things. If you let go of your past, you’re also letting go of things you’ve learned. As an example, say you were once married to a narcissist. It was a horrible & traumatic time. Then you got away from that person. As you healed from the experience, you learned a lot. You learned about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, ways to identify narcissists & ways that you could heal from the abuse you endured. If as you heal, you try to forget what that marriage was like, you put yourself in a dangerous position. Even though you learned how to identify a narcissist, you may not do it. You may meet another narcissist who wants to date you & even though you recognize the signs, you may think “I’ve learned & grown so much. I can handle it. Narcissism isn’t that big of a deal!” You easily could end up dating or married to this person & suffering another abusive, miserable marriage. However, if you remember just how awful it was being married to that first narcissist, you won’t even give this one the time of day, let alone become romantically involved.
Another thing to consider… if you wish to heal completely from any emotional trauma or abuse, you have to delve into your past to do so. To truly heal, you have to get to the root of the dysfunctional behavior that lets you know something is wrong. If you want to get rid of a weed in your garden, you can pluck it or dig it out by the root. Only by digging out the root can you truly get rid of the weed. If you simply pluck the flower part, the root is still there, which means that weed will return over & over again until you get rid of the root. That is how emotional healing is. Sure, you can stop drinking, using drugs, or whatever other unhealthy coping skill you’re using, but unless you find the root of what drove you to that behavior in the first place, the behavior may return or another dysfunctional one will show up in its place.
While I agree that we should do our best not to let our pasts control us or define us, I think our pasts can be very valuable teaching tools for the present.