It was dressed in nice clothes, had a make-up and in what I thought was the most unusual of all places, a ‘church’.
An old friend shared some personal information about me with a group of people as I was called upon to speak. Somehow, the information later found its’ way to me.
It was a deeply painful event in my past, which had no bearing whatsoever on anything at that moment. It was unneeded information, not edifying or uplifting. It only clearly qualified as malicious gossip.
My initial response was that of shock, indignation, disgust and a deep quest to understanding why. I got sick to my stomach the more I thought about it. It bothered me that someone I expected to know and behave better would stoop that low. My distress intensified as I also wondered why it bothered me that much. It was the past! We all have it!
“When the past calls, let it go to voicemail, believe me it has nothing new to say!”
Well, I let it go to the ‘Voicemail’, but this ‘Voicemail’ was in my head. It kept playing. So I choose to focus on myself first, leaning into the agony of facing my past.
I came away with a NEW and IMPROVED self.
Here is what I learned.
Only when we’re brave enough to face our darkest and painful past – often secrets – will we discover the infinite power of freedom and growth. Instead most of us avoid it, mask it, numb ourselves and play the avoidance game. This empowers the dark and painful past, and its stranglehold on us!
For many people, walking away hurriedly from the past – forgetting it, holds such an appeal. But walking away is quite impossible unless we face it, make peace with it for what it was, and more importantly what it is now – the past, it will not simply go away!
The truth is;
- The PAST happened in the PAST! We can’t pretend it did not happen.
- What happened CAN’T be changed. We could wish it didn’t happen all we want, but that will not make it vanish.
- The power we have is the opportunity to focus on the NOW – living in the moment, facing TODAY, and preparing for a better future! Remember, the future begin NOW!
The sting of that gossip, I’m happy to admit, lost its’ power when I courageously faced it!
And for people, who are constantly reliving the past, rehearsing it, throwing it in others faces, offering it generously as though having some power over them, they sadly live in the past, and are afflicted by the complex malady of arrested development.
Have you ever had your past thrown in your face? How did you handle it?