I believe that as long as I live, I'll never understand why some people seem so determined to torpedo their own peace of mind and sabotage their own happiness.
I am definitely not talking about cases of physical abuse--that is a serious crime and should be treated as such. I'm talking about those who seem to be incapable of letting go of the types of hurts and setbacks that we've all encountered in our pasts. Let's face it, if you've had any kind of involvement or interaction with other people, I'd say there's a 100% chance that you've been hurt. It's a part of life, and a healthy psyche will realize it for what it is--I choose to see such things as a learning experience--and move on. Sadly, there are some that would rather gather their hurts and perceived slights around them like a mantle--or a shroud--rather than casting them off, and if not leaving them completely behind, at least realizing that they are a small part of life that can be dealt with.
I find it perplexing to encounter people that are consumed by bitterness and anger, unable to let go of things that happened decades ago. I definitely remember things that happened to me, because there are some things that you just never forget...but I'm not consumed by these thoughts, and my life is not affected in an adverse way. Quite the opposite, in fact, because I did my best to learn from those events and tried to steer my life in a positive direction based on what I learned. There I go again with that healthy psyche! I'm not sure why there are those that seem to be incapable of taking this step. I really do find it puzzling...it's such an alien concept to me.
It also makes me feel kind of bad for these people who are so "eaten up," as my Mom would say. What a sad life it must be when you continue to make the same mistakes over and over and over again, and you're not contemplative or aware enough to realize that you are damaging yourself more than anyone else. George Santayana said, "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it." This statement is usually used when speaking of public policy and of nations, but it certainly applies just as well in our personal lives. Part of our growth as human beings is predicated upon learning from our past experiences and recognizing the damaging patterns that we perpetuate. When I was going off to college, my Dad told me that he wished that he could give me the benefit of his experiences and his mistakes...but he went on to say, "I know it doesn't work that way...some things you just have to learn for yourself." I never forgot that and I've always tried to learn from both the good and the bad. Regrets? Yeah...I've had a few. But really, too few to mention. (Sorry, I had to inject a little humor in there.) I DO have regrets, but the key thing is that I don't dwell on them. I've reached the age where I'm starting to realize that our time here on earth is limited, and that life is too short to focus on the negatives of our pasts. To wallow in anger from past hurts is not healthy, whether physically, mentally, or emotionally. A character in the very first episode of the original "Star Trek" says, "A man either lives life as it happens to him, meets it head on and licks it, or he turns on it and starts to wither away."
I've chosen--and continue to choose--to take my Dad's advice and learn, grow, and forge bravely ahead into my future. I refuse to be bogged down by my past, my present is happier than I ever thought it could be, and I believe that my future will be even better, as Ken and I continue our plan and begin to focus on the second half (post-career) of our lives. I hope each and every one of you make the same choice. I'll go back to that first episode of "Star Trek," in which one of the Talosians says, "...you have reality. May your way be as pleasant."