Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Not Defined by My Past

I have have a friend who likes to talk about her past by using phrase such as: "When I used to do ____ (fill in negative term)." Or, "When _______ (fill in past event described in horrific terms) happened to me." In perusing my own blog posts, I have come to realized that I also talk at times about things in my past this way.  I am sure a lot of us do this.  It is probably a natural tendancy when we have memories of something negative to describe it in negative terms.  The difference is that my friend talks about these things all the time.  And, she cannot use any other description for these things except in boarderline hostile words.  She is, in essence, defined by her past.

I am finding, however, that whenever I use negativity to describe things from my past, it brings up negative emotions within me.  This gives my past a measure of power over me.  If I allow things from my past to continue to affect me negatively, then I am still in some ways defined and controled by those things.  It makes me a victim.

I am not a victim.  My friend who continues to describe her past in negative terms is not a victim either, if she choses not to be so.  She has a decision to make.  Is she going to let these things define her today and control her today? Or, is she going to move on from her past?

I'm not saying we shouldn't talk about negative things that we've been involved with or bad things that have happened to us.  In fact I think it is good to talk about those things and understand how those events have affected us. What I am talking about is the power we give those things when we allow them to define us. 


1 comment:

  1. I appreciate this very much. I quite honestly stummbled across your blog while searching "defined by my past." It helps my perspective. Thank you.