Is That Really True?

In several recent conversations, the subject of the difficult and hard times in our lives has come up. There is an old adage that all the difficult times of our lives made us who we are today. But is that true?

I know I have said this myself. Even though I had a very difficult marriage, I wouldn’t change anything because at least I have my children. What I now realize, is that I could still have had my children and good outcomes without suffering.

The funny thing about our old stories is they want to live and breathe and stay alive. They are lonely old stories and want to trick you into staying with them, constantly breathing life into their tired and feeble bodies.

I challenge this belief. I could have had a more stable marriage with kindness that may still have ended in divorce, but the abuse was not something I somehow needed to go through. Did I learn from it? Yes, of course. Did it make me stronger and more determined? Yes? Was it necessary for my growth? No.

I do not want people who are in bad situations to stay there because they think it is the path they must walk. Maybe the path intended for them is to walk away. I do not want children who were abused to think it was their destiny in order to bring them to a place of wellness. No, you were dealt a shitty hand and you deserved none of it.

Then there are relationships that are broken. Some may be beyond repair and others may be salvageable. Again, I think it is important to keep our old stories at bay when trying to move forward. I suppose it is our nature to rehash the past, but that to me is like picking at a scab and expecting the wound to heal.

Friendships can sometimes be more difficult that romantic relationships. A different type of trust exists in friendships, I think.

Sometimes I think we want to continue to rehash things to get the other person to see our side or to say we were right. I would think that does not happen frequently. If the relationship is worth salvaging, you may need to find a new starting point. Yes, you may need to unearth old hurts and forgive each other and sometimes it requires a good therapist to help you maneuver through the process.

If I have learned nothing else, I at least know that certain ideas I was taught are not necessarily grounded in truth. Sometimes we need to find our own truth by putting our old stories to rest.

A lot of things are inherent in life -change, birth, death, aging, illness, accidents, calamities, and losses of all kinds- but these events don’t have to be the cause of ongoing suffering. Yes, these events cause grief and sadness, but grief and sadness pass, like everything else, and are replaced with other experiences. The ego, however, clings to negative thoughts and feelings and, as a result, magnifies, intensifies, and sustains those emotions while the ego overlooks the subtle feelings of joy, gratitude, excitement, adventure, love, and peace that come from Essence. If we dwelt on these positive states as much as we generally dwell on our negative thoughts and painful emotions, our lives would be transformed.
― Gina Lake, What about Now?: Reminders for Being in the Moment

14 thoughts on “Is That Really True?”

  1. That pretty much sums up a lot of my own reflection, as I get older. I spent far too long blaming myself for past mistakes, and wondering what might have been different, if I hadn’t made them.
    It all came down to a simple reasoning for me in the end.
    ‘It was what it was, so it is what it is’.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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    1. Pete, I remember your post along these lines of thinking. I meant to back and respond but I forgot about it. I, too, spent a lot of time punishing myself for my mistakes. In retrospect now, I may wish I had been stronger, but my mistakes were just decisions that did not turn out the way I hoped. Life is too short to worry about the past.

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    1. Jessy, I think it is easier to look back wisely when events are in our past. We just need to be kind to ourselves and hold a place of forgiveness for what we did not know.

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  2. I once read that if you can think back on something awful that happened to you, not cry about it, then you’ve processed the experience and put it into perspective. Not that you’re all jolly about it, but that you consider the awfulness just one part of your narrative. I try to remember this when reflecting back on things.

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    1. Sound advice. So often the ‘big’ things we worried about are such a small fraction of our life, it is more powerful to learn from it and move on.

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    1. None of us deserve trauma that is for sure. I think healing from it and moving on is where our power lies. Not always a easy task. Some have suffered greatly.

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  3. I prefer to think that all rotten situations can be redeemed since my faith tells me that. As for necessary for growth–not most of it.


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