Mind-blowing Truths About Your PastJun 22, 2021
Not that long ago, I was a high school principal in a small rural community in northern New York. It was an interesting place where my students struggled with blending the traditions of the past with their emerging excitement about the power, freedom and accessibility technology offered them.
They had tremendous pressure on them from the community to stay after graduation or at least,
to return after college to enrich the community with their new knowledge and skills while starting a family and living among the generations of families who have remained there.
I knew, as a role model for them,
that they needed to see risk taking behavior and that people, like them, can have the audacity to choose their life's path for themselves,
to put the expectations of the past aside and launch into the uncertainty of the future with confidence.
So, I kissed a damn piglet. Yep, I did it in front of the whole school, during a Homecoming pep rally, including students, faculty, staff, board, and community members. I stood in front of about 800 cheering people, sweating, and thinking a fire drill might be a better idea. Instead, though,
I took that little beast's face into my hands, and I kissed his whiskery pink nose as if it was the highlight of my day.
That event is long gone and holds a tiny space in my brain with lots of other memories from my past experience as a high school principal.
There are a lot of reasons to put our past behind us and move on. In my past for example, besides this cute little story of swine love, there are years and years of self-sabotage; events that looked so promising for me and yet, I made decisions that cost me a lot.
For example, my then undiscovered need for chaos led me to create constant change for my staff and my colleagues making it difficult for them to support me or the projects I led because of the uncertainty and unknowing I was continually creating for them, which was not their comfort zone.
In all likelihood, you've done the same thing to yourself, in your own unique way.
Most of us barely escape high school without creating some type of embarrassing memory of ourselves that will undoubtedly show up in someone's phone scroll at your next reunion or worse yet, remain the topic of discussion over and over again each time there is a family get together.
In each of our pasts, there is a lot of pain,
and shake your damn head in disbelief over some of the things we did and said.
It hurts to go back into that place in our brains where we store the memories that we'd rather avoid completely. When I think back about the self-sabotage in my career, my stomach tightens and I am immediately, emotionally transported right back to the very moment that the sh*t began to hit the fan. It doesn't feel good, and my first reaction is to avoid it, run, hide, and hope that I never end up there again.
Today, I'm smarter, braver and stronger. I don't have to avoid, run, or hide anymore because I have finally learned some mind-blowing truths about my past:
- The past happens for us, not to us. That's right. A big ole' present customized and uniquely crafted by you and for you! We are so used to looking at ourselves as victims of our past. Instead, I'd like you to challenge yourself to look to the past for the GIFTS she has brought you...experience, wisdom, knowing...even while shrouded in pain and discomfort. Let's normalize seeing our past as a gift.
- The past is our path to everything good in our lives and the goodness we want for our future. It seems counterintuitive, doesn't it? How can the past, which is behind me, be the path to my future? And it's good? Yes. Every experience we've had, every hardship we have overcome, every piece of sh*t partner we chose... each one has led us right here, to this very moment where we have an opportunity to step into the best damn version of ourselves possible. Here's the reality of our past in a nutshell, your past is driving your present and future. Find the value in it and use it to propel you instead of to hold you back.
- The sh*t in your past can be healed. All that pain, humiliation, and powerlessness we feel when we resurrect some of our past, can be revisited in a healthy, safe way so that we can begin to experience it in a whole new way. When we look back on our past with an open heart and new eyes, the past can be transformed and become fuel for us instead of an obstacle.
Our past can be a powerful tool when we re-engage with it in a purposeful way designed to move us boldly and proudly into the future as the best damn version of ourselves.
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