Where do I go? What should I do? I guess I can just close my eyes, plug my ears and everything will be fine. Time and again we hear a version of the following, “leave the past where it is” or “the past is the past, so leave it alone”. Hell, I even say it to myself from time to time; on the other hand, disregarding the past includes our national and world history – i.e., it is what formed our economy, social structure, etc., and therefore continues to form our ever changing perspectives of our future. On an individual level, facing one’s own past is a difficult thing to do, and depending on the past, even dangerous. Those memories are ingrained in one’s mind; there is no such concept as a “magic pill” to erase them, and for some the memories are horrific nightmares. Regardless, our past is not going anywhere and there are constant reminders everywhere.
Similarly, other questions related to specific events – whether on an individual basis or international one – may occur, i.e., “Why did this happen to me?,” or “What did I do to deserve this?” For most of us, we were not at fault; the events were out of our control. Or, perhaps one has said or done something which we wish we could take back; however, acknowledging that misgiving, and forgiving oneself is important. After all, we are only human. Furthermore, each event – whether individual or national / international – presents a learning opportunity.
I can only assume that some of those questions may revolve around why some individuals seem to “get away with” everything, while others are “labeled” (ah – love that characterization!) because of past history. This is reality, folks. I have always felt that this continues to occur due to a form of what we refer to consistently today as “bullying” – i.e., manipulation by those who are threatened by change or unwilling to take the time to understand something / someone with whom they do not identify. Those experiences can have a crucial impact on one’s life; in some cases, the past can teach individuals to want to do better, while in others, it can result in negative consequences. One can do amazing things if put into the proper setting and assistance was there for support and guidance. Do you think our past and present leaders or role models had it easy or everyone liked them? How about all of the soldiers fighting for your freedom? That seems unlikely in every case.
So, with our ever changing future (seemingly rapidly) becoming the past, the question you really have to ask yourself is what do you want to have people remember you for? I’m not talking about entertaining the nation or the world, but maybe just a few individuals – i.e., family and / or close friends. For what do you want them to remembering you? Will your legacy be largely positive or negative? Facing one’s past is challenging, and it does not mean that friends and / or family will accept you further, etc. I faced and still am facing my past head on and believe me it’s no fairytale of joy at times. Hell we have leaders that have done some of the most outlandish things possible and they are still running from those mistakes. Don’t worry; those mistakes will catch up with them, so keep on running.
A prime example that fits with this blog post would be Hitler, an individual whose narcissism and psychopathy prompted his manipulative agenda for the perfect storm of hell. While, yes, his actions represent the extreme end of the spectrum, certain actions and events are just not forgivable. To summarize, when individuals contend that “the past is the past,” tell that to the homeless man or woman sitting under that roadway bridge or on the corner of an intersection holding up a sign asking for food, money, or anything. 50/50 it is a vet or someone who lost everything and who could never recover. Or, tell that to the children who have been abused or killed, or to all those who died from atrocities past and present. Or, tell the adults who are struggling with PTSD or worse because of their childhood, or the soldier, police officer, fire or EMS professional, who has experienced things you may have never experienced. Well it’s not me right? I could be wrong, but my personal experience dealing with the past is this: it never goes away! It is always there and what enables one to learn, push forward and hopefully make a difference somewhere, even if it is just in one single individual. Hearing the words from someone leave the past behind and leave it alone just reminds me of the emptiness that’s lurking in a lot of empty shells.
See you in the next post!