Past Imperfect

Many of us dread looking back at difficult events from our past that wounded us emotionally. Some of us are so eager to avoid revisiting them that we strike out at anything anyone does in the present or any current situation resembling in any way, real or imagined, the past occurrences we are striving to forget. Others of us shove them down into one of our big toes and try to ignore them. Maybe we use substances. Maybe we eat an unhealthy amount of sweets or chips. Maybe we clean our homes as if they were operating rooms. It doesn’t matter what our muffler of choice may be.

Here’s the problem — we must revisit painful memories to process them, and we must process them to learn from them. It’s a scary thing to do. We tell ourselves consciously or subconsciously that revisiting what almost destroyed us will hurt us just as much or more now as it did before. But we are not the same person who experienced those things. We can look back and have compassion for our former selves. We can recognize that we did not fail. We can understand that even if we felt we deserved what happened to us, we did not.

We can begin to believe what happened to us is not the story of how our lives will always be but only of how our lives once were. We can treat our younger selves with tenderness. We can realize there was much that we didn’t know then. We can understand that we did our best based on the little we did know and the many things we misinterpreted due to our inexperience or fears.

It will still be frightening to revisit these dark places. It will also remind us that we are not our fears but the person who is feeling those fears.

--

--

--

Cinse, a former professor with a background in the psychology of human learning, writes nonstop, and is addicted to capturing the human experience in words.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

I am not delusional I had HOPE

How I quit cannabis to become bipolar stable.

Darkness Falls

Performance anxiety — what is that?

Generalised anxiety, Social anxiety and “low mood”

HOW TO GET FREE FROM STRESS…

5 Provocations on Mental Health

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Cinse Bonino

Cinse Bonino

Cinse, a former professor with a background in the psychology of human learning, writes nonstop, and is addicted to capturing the human experience in words.

More from Medium

The Norse Creation Myth — The Poetic Edda

What is Emergence?

The Extended Inquisition

A beautiful Mexican woman wearing Day of the Dead make-up on one side of her face

Rock of Ages