I’ve been through a lot during my life. My childhood was tough, my parents got divorced when I was only five, I went through some bad relationships and through a divorce. I suffered major depression and anxiety (which still lasts), I lost a baby…
And yet, when I talk to other people and listen to their stories, it feels like mine is not very unique.
Do you know what I mean?
Every person on this planet has their story. And no one has a purely easy life.
John Bradshaw, a family-systems therapy advocate, and family dynamics expert found that 96 % of all families are to some degree ‘dysfunctional’.
About 1 in 8 pregnancies end in miscarriage… (a really sad statistic).
46 % of marriages end in divorce…
So all of a sudden I am not so unique. I mean, my story is almost everybody’s story in some form or not.
However, when I take a closer look around, I see many people tend to make their past experiences some kind of unique value that differentiates them from others.
I used to be the same. But eventually, I felt I didn’t want to be anymore…
Dwelling on the past can literally eat you up (trust me, I know what I’m talking about).
I have met people whose inner connection to the past was so strong that they did not let themselves move forward even years or decades after the bad experience. They basically still live in the past.
Please understand that I do realise that some tragic events can scar people and the healing might take a long time. I have been there too.
But there is a difference between a healthy and natural healing process and between an obsessive dwelling in the past. Sometimes definitely unable to recognise without professional help.
I have realised that in my life it is more beneficial for me and for others in it to not let my past shadows cover the present.
It doesn’t mean I deny what I experienced, not at all. What I am saying is that my own experiences are not much different from the experiences of others. And this is incredibly relieving in a way.
‘We are all in the same boat’, they say, and I couldn’t agree more. Furthermore, I believe we should use this connection to let it bring us all closer together, rather than let it separate us.
It wasn’t that long ago when a mother asked me what it was like raising twins. It was one of those hard days so I ended up complaining about how difficult it is at times and that I didn’t know how much longer I could take it.
While talking and sensing her reactions, I involuntarily felt like I was something ‘special’ in a way as the other lady was a mother to one 3-year old, lovely girl so at the time I assumed she didn’t get to deal with the same problems as myself.
To my astonishment and complete shock, she then confessed her first baby died before he was born and described what it was like to give birth to a dead baby…
At that moment my whole body jolted and you can imagine how bad I felt about my previous complaining about having two energetic, perfectly healthy kids.
Unfortunately, there have been other times when I have had similar, sad, experiences where other people have opened up and revealed something that is beyond imaginable.
Today, when I share my story or my experiences, I don’t perceive it as anything unique anymore. I believe that every person I pass on the street has their own story that would sell out cinemas across the whole world.
It doesn’t mean I don’t value my experiences. I do value them as much as before, if not even more.
But today I am able to zoom out of them and see them from a wider perspective. Since keeping this mindset, I have also sensed a deeper connection with other people which has proved to be extremely helpful in terms of my mental wellbeing.
Being able to emphasise with other people’s hard/difficult stories always puts my life into context.
My past will always be a part of me and I will always let it be, but only in a way that is beneficial for me.
And I will always do my best to not let it steal my life, and most importantly – my future.