BY: T. Franklin Murphy | July 2018
The Past Lingering in the Present
The past doesn't disappear. When betrayed, the hurt lingers and interferes with future relationships.
The experience of living, although felt in a single moment, extends both forward and backward, incorporating the past and projecting onto the future. We live in the moment, yes; but that moment is not isolated from either the past nor the future. NOW is the point in time where everything exists. Past hurt shines dull rays on the present, powerfully limiting and coloring new experience, connecting the moment to significant events already gone by. The action in the present prepares the soil for the upcoming tomorrows. Relationships of the past and in the future live in the complexity of the present.
Painful experience marks our soul with warnings, weighing heavily on current choices. Painful memories persistently dull excitement to chase novel pursuits, pushing a more protective approach. The broken hearts from the painful and biting break-ups, menacingly harrow the soul, casting fear of newness, and interfering with open exploration of promising new relationships. We have been wronged and prefer not to be foolish enough to be wronged again.
Betrayed trust encourages future withholding. The throbbing memories flood from the past, magnify the possibility of dangers in the present, leading to protective choices. A protective stance has trade-offs. The guardedness may prevent unsavory connections; but also caught in this limiting net is the opportunities for intimacy. Unfortunately, Pain is unavoidable—part of living. If avoidance drives choice, we limit joy. Unhealthy fear hinders pursuit of the beautiful. Growth demands occasional brushes with discomfort.
Fear strangles action essential to create the richness and joy we desire. Recognizing fear, instead of justifying retreat, is the first step to change. Only through recognition can we confront the demons. We can effectively reframe the histories to gain wisdom—not fear.
"The throbbing memories flood from the past, magnify the possibility of dangers in the present, leading to protective choices."
Courageously we must march beyond the protective walls; but in moderation. Too much, too soon overwhelms. Carefully examine the painful past to invite wisdom and avoid obvious repeats; but instead of focusing on the nagging bitterness of being "wronged!" ponder the lessons learned, make improvements and open up to the opportunities available.