Don’t bring up the past of a person who is trying to improve their future
Please, do not stop people from reaching a good place in life because of things they cannot take back. It is so painful.
When I saw this posted on a tumblr site it certainly made me think about how often we remind people of their past as a comparison to the good place they may be at today.
For some reason we must feel like we have to show a ‘from there to here’ journey in order to emphasize how far we believe someone has come.
For some reason we must feel like … well … talking about the past in order to emphasize something in the present.
The person certainly knows all this already.
The person most likely has no desire to revisit the past.
The person certainly reflects on the energy and commitment it took to where they are today.
I am sure we do it with the best intentions.
But maybe those intentions are misguided.
I never really thought much about this until I read the post. And now I cannot stop thinking about it.
“Look how far you’ve come”
“Remember when you did <insert something>?
Realistically … what shitty things those are to say to someone who has already put in the work, the effort, the mental fortitude … to get to the good place they are in the here & now.
Why can’t we just enjoy the present as it is?
Why can’t we just celebrate what exists in the here & now?
Why can’t we just be happy with the person they are today without having to reflect on who they may have been?
The more I think about this the crappier it sounds.
I know I do it.
I know I often feel like offering perspective is an easy way to showcase the extent of some change I see.
I know I do so with good intentions.
And maybe that is a good and effective thing to do … maybe 80% of the time.
Okay. Maybe 90% of the time.
But maybe that means 10% of the time I, and we, should ignore perspective and simply highlight the beauty of what is. And, frankly, accept that what is has value in and of itself.
I say that because a person who is trying to improve their future wants to feel joy and not pain. Or maybe better said … doesn’t need to be reminded of pain to feel joy.
Here is a thought.
The next time you run into someone you know is moving on to something better and is working really hard to improve their future treat the moment, the interaction, as a new place you have never visited before and explore it with the wonder of exploration and discovery.
“Each moment is a place you’ve never been.”
If you do this maybe you not only ignore the past but also will not confuse the moment with those silly semi-positive support-like platitudes like “keep going” or “the future you desire is now within your grasp.”
And maybe you help them reach a good place by simply enjoying the moment and enjoying who and what they are in that time and place.
All I know for sure is that having seen the opening quote and taking some time to think about it … I will interact with someone who is trying to improve their future a little differently from this point on.
And I will certainly think long and hard before I bring up the past because … well … about the only thing it really does is bring up things left behind.
I should assume if it has been left behind it is no longer needed.