I’ve frequently uttered the words “You are not your history,” in service to my life-coaching clients, in my talks and seminars, and general discussion with those of us who are prone to insightfully examining our lives in hopes of making them better.
My point was valid, in that despite our previous experiences, we can choose to release them and move forward. We are not irrevocably defined by our past. Regardless of abuse perpetuated upon us, regardless of critical, limiting statements directed at us by well-meaning and not-so-well-meaning authority figures, and regardless of accidents, challenges and failures that we encountered along the way, we have choices. To be clear, hard work, and time may be required, assistance from others may be necessary, and at times, we may just have to grind it out. However, we have the option to turn life-defeating experiences into life-learning lessons.
What I have failed to give adequate voice to in my previous advising and ramblings, is the idea that a portion of our history has imprinted us in positive, nurturing ways. I mean, some really good things happened to us too! For those of us engaged in the continual practice of growing ourselves into more healthy, self-differentiating beings, it is not necessary to limit our focus on negatives or what needs to change. Since gratitude is a causative force and energy for good, being grateful for those who have had nurturing, supportive, uplifting influences on us is essential in order to realize the growth we seek.
I suggest reflecting on those caring individuals that we were privileged to experience on our journey. Take some time, perhaps a lot of time, to recall the shepherds of your youth, who guided and educated you in both the academic and life skills that would serve you. Start with a list of teachers you had starting as far back as you can remember; those who had a positive influence on you.
For me I can recall the names and soothing personalities of my 1st grade teacher, Mrs. Gross; 2nd grade, Mrs. Graham; 3rd grade, Mrs. Love; 4th grade, Mrs. Fritz. My memory
Each of these professionals guided me, grew me, nurtured me, and helped create who I am today. I am grateful for each of you. You are an important part of my history! As I write this, I am flooded with fond memories of our relationships. You added to me during a part of bygone times, such that I grew into the man I am today. Thank you!
While I am not my history, unless I choose to be, in memory of these individuals and many others who offered their presence and energy in support of my growth, I choose to have them remain part of my past.
In closing, I’m reminding myself (and you too) to balance our view of history. Release, heal, and resolve those areas that need those kinds of attention. And, be appreciative of those elements of our past that fed us and aided us in becoming who we are today.