I write a lot about the past here on this blog. My readers ask, why not focus on the present and the future instead of zooming in on what’s happened in the past?
Undoubtedly, being present in the moment of now is paramount to enjoying our lives, and also for the future to take shape. Indulging in the past and what is bygone serves no value added purpose. Nonetheless, I believe in reflecting on the past – to understand the present, to avoid the same mistakes, and to identify areas that need change. This is also the reason why we need to reflect on the past year as 2011 comes to an end.
We need to give ourselves credit for our efforts, and identify new directions to take, year end or not.
Most importantly, looking into the past helps us take responsibility for our actions and decisions.
My purpose in writing about the past is not to blame my job, my career, my education, my mother, the external environment or the weather for what has happened to me. Surely, all these factors played a part in molding my thoughts and hence directly or indirectly my demise in the last 2 years, for all this experience and interaction triggered emotions in me. If not a causal relationship between all these aspects and my depression and ill health from stress, then at least there is some correlation.
Then why look back?
Because ultimately, I need to take ownership of what has happened in my life, and be responsible for it, in order for me to take a fresh perspective as I move on.
I decided to sign up for the job, I decided to take part in the moot court competition, I decided that I wanted to win, I decided to be angry, consciously or not, when I didn’t get that posting, I decided to keep on going to work even though my head was exploding with pain, and I chose to ignore my body’s warning signals and denied I needed any help.
At the end of the day, however harsh the environmental pull, I was the one who put myself through it all.
Of course, I didn’t choose which family to grow up in, or school to go to, so there’s no use in beating myself up for it either, and go about being bitter about my childhood – and honestly, it wasn’t all that bad.
So, all these retrospective analysis is not to attribute blame and hold people guilty.
It is for a better understanding for myself to avoid the same mistakes again, such as ignoring how stressed out I was.
I’m not indulging in the past; rather I’m confronting suppressed thoughts and feelings, dealing with them, and moving on.
I encourage everyone to go through this process, to dig deep into the thoughts and causes behind emotions we feel, especially the negative ones. Let us feel our emotions to the naked depth that they would take us. It is not so easy to deal with suppressed hurt and pains, since it’s not pleasant. And trust me, you would go through extraordinarily bad days in doing so. Yet, it’s a necessary evil. It’s how you break free from the bonds.
Everyone has their own stories and I believe everyone needs to face it – for the present, and the future.
And it is our own responsibility to do so, a responsibility we owe only to ourselves.