I’m making a vow, right now, to never use someone’s past against them if they have made a conscious effort to be better. We do it all the time. Every day. Especially now that everything seems to be so politically charged. But at what point do we just let go? At what point do we stop punishing someone for something they did or said in the past that was hurtful or just irresponsible? How can someone be better and forgive themselves, when their bad choices continually come back to haunt them?
Recently, my past was thrown in my face. I’ve been very open about my past. There are so many things I’m not proud of. But, I am proud of who I am now. I am proud of the person I have become. I have done some really shady things. But I have also learned so many valuable lessons along the way. In behaving in a way that left me ashamed, I finally decided to be the type of person who wouldn’t let me down anymore. I was tired of guilt and shame. So I took many steps towards change, to be a person I could be proud of.
Years, many YEARS of therapy, healing sessions, wellness retreats, yoga, reiki, the bible, my mother and a river of tears led me to a place of forgiveness. Truly forgiving yourself is not as easy as it sounds. And it’s damn near impossible if you surround yourself with people who bring back your past. Unfortunately, there are going to be people who torment you with the memories you’d much rather forget. These people seem to take pleasure in your pain. And there are going to be people who have a hard time believing that you’ve grown, you’ve changed. These are the people who do not deserve an inch of space in your thoughts.
It’s such a rotten feeling. You’ve come so far only to be dragged back down because you are judged based on someone who used to take up space in your being. We are constantly changing. The person I was last year is so far removed from the person I am right now. And I think that using someone’s past against them, when they have tried so hard to move past the bad stuff, is one of the most hurtful things you can do to someone.
I know a little secret. I know that I can only feel judged by someone if I allow them to make me feel judged. I know that I am in control of how I react to situations. I am in control of my emotions and how I allow others to make me feel about myself. It all comes down to what I allow. I can tell myself over and over again, “I don’t care what you say about me. I don’t care what you think about me”. And once in a while, I believe that. Sometimes I am so damn proud of myself for who I have become. But other times, I collapse because I just can’t handle the reality of who I once was.
So, as part of my growth and becoming a better human, I am vowing to never judge someone based on their past if they are truly trying to be better. We are all so completely messed up. We have skeletons in the closet. We have dark sides and secrets. But you know what, I am going to love you anyway. I know first hand what it feels like to have my past thrown in my face and it’s heartbreaking. I refuse to do that to someone else. I am going to open my arms to you and even though I may not understand what you were going through when you made certain mistakes, it won’t matter. Because we are human. I want to be good. And I want to be good to others. I forgive myself and I want you to forgive yourself too. It’s the only way we can truly grow and be better. Keep the ones who stunt your growth at a distance. Make room for the people who inspire you and take pleasure in knowing you are becoming the best version of yourself.