Tuesday, January 28, 2014

You Can't Run from Your Past

How many times have we heard that the past is the past. That the past is a thing to be forgotten and left behind in order to move on. If something happened to us in the past that was holding us back from living the life we wanted then it was simple to leave it behind. College was a fresh start, somewhere we could runaway to have a new identity, new friends, new memories. Distracting ourselves is also a useful tool. Keeping ourselves busy with work, drinking, or hobbies are all ways to avoid the past. We leave no room to remind us of those painful emotions of death, failure, or past relationships. But no matter how hard we can try to leave it behind us, the only way we can truly learn from the past is to face it.

Let me start with my story and tie it all together for others to relate.

In middle school I was socially awkward. Not the wow that kid has an ugly laugh socially awkward. I mean the I could not look you in the face or find the strength in my vocal chords to respond to you if you spoke to me kind of awkward. I did not have the ability to communicate with others or the courage to do so. I escaped into the world of Runescape. An online online role-playing game where I started by punching cows at level 1 until I was a bad-ass knight slaying dragons. I had a new identity, cool shiny armor, and the option to always log-out if anything ever went wrong. 

You can imagine the courage it took to leave that limitless paradise where I was wealthy dragon slayer to face reality where I was chubby, socially awkward, unathletic, and without friends. If the real-world had levels, I was level 1.  My past was haunted by my inability to communicate with others and Runescape was a world I could literally Run and Escape too. Yea, I just noticed that is the name of the game and my mind is blown. At some point I had realized I was running away from my problems in real-life and knew that it was time to face them.

The only way I could grow as a person was to overcome my deep-seeded insecurities and to confront my problems. It was a long and arduous journey. I forced myself to maintain eye-contact with others even though it brought me great discomfort. I learned to read body language so I could understand how others were feeling. Like understanding when a person has friends over late at night and wants to go to sleep but doesn't really want to kick them out. Little by little, I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and faced my fears every day in order to mature and learn from the past.

Now how does this apply to the everyday man. You clearly did not have the same issues as I had as a child, let alone play Runescape. One thing that we all can take away from this story is that we cannot forget the past because these are obstacles that must be overcome in some shape or form. The first step we can all do is ask ourselves, what is holding us back. What do we fear the most? For me, it was social interaction but I've also faced the fear of public speaking, abandonment, relapse to addiction, and being lonely to name a few.

The next question we can ask ourselves is what are we doing about it? Are we going out every weekend drinking, jumping from relationship to relationship, or drowning ourselves in a pile of work in order to distract ourselves or to sweep it under the rug? Please, do not get me wrong. I am not saying that all people who do these things are hiding from something. Some people genuinely do just enjoy drinking or work for success, but finding out which person we are is up to us. If you fear rejection, be vulnerable and ask a girl out. If that is too hard then go even smaller by asking a question in class. Find ways to open yourself up little by little and to be courageous. 

The last step would be confrontation. I'm not saying to immediately go sky-diving if we are afraid of heights or to battle a king cobra if we are afraid of snakes. Some things are just plain stupid and dangerous and we are afraid of them for a reason. It is up to us to determine if something is possible to overcome or best avoiding. If we do decide to fight it will take courage and it will take time. Leave your comfort zone. If you have ever told yourself you can't do something, you probably can. 

The past can be a scary place. It is full of hard to face emotions and fear. No matter how far we run or distract ourselves, the past will always be an obstacle that we will encounter somewhere down the road and prevent our growth. Be courageous, be uncomfortable, but take it slow

No comments:

Post a Comment

Copyright © Thoughts of Babel | Theme by BloggerThemes & frostpress | Sponsored by BB Blogging