The past, which defines us…

These days I am in the process of moving countries and therefore I have to clear out my apartment. I am selecting between items, which I would like to take with me and items, which I can leave behind. Then the thought occurred to me that life would be easier if that is the way we could all go ahead. Let’s say to have every year a proper clean out and delete the data, which is not good for us, which weighs on us heavily or which has hurt us in the past (can be all three at some points) and move into the future, without them.

Although that would be seem at first glance quite convenient, there are two problems with that approach: First, we are not computers and therefore cannot select data, which we want to delete from our long term or short term memory. Secondly, our past defines us, as who we are today.

Experiences, positive but especially the negative once define who we are, by experiencing how we manage to deal with certain situations. And usually from these past experience, the next time around it is easier for us to deal with a similar situations. When we try the first time to find a new route via car we will experience difficulties and get lost. In past times when there was no SatNav it was obviously more difficult. (Thanks God to SatNav!). Next time around it will be much easier to find. But also with situations when we meet a certain person and he promises something and does not keep it, next time around when it happens again then we are not as surprised and disappointed.

The human way of functioning and reacting has always amazed me. Every time there is a surprising twist. It is just amazing on how quickly we get used to things and on how flexible we are to adjust to our surroundings. It must have been a function from past times that due to our survival instinct, we have the ability to adjust fast, which is obviously suppressed by our surroundings nowadays (e.g. city life).

I hear sometimes the sentences,” I wish that this would have not happened”,” I wish that I wouldn’t have the past, I have”. It is a bit odd to think that the past, which shapes us, should be forgotten, so that we can look ahead to the future. I think the motivational sentences, which are like “Let the past not define you” should have a Disclaimer. A Disclaimer like this could probably work: “This is meant as a figurative speech since the past cannot be deleted and the meaning of the sentence is that looking to the future is better than to the past although we come from the past. You wouldn’t be alive if there was no past” Disclaimer finished. On second thought..Probably a disclaimer is the wrong way to go ahead with this but I hope you get the drift.

How we deal with the past is very important. As an example regarding smokers: Will a kid who has been raised by a smoker family (Mum and Dad smokers) become a smoker? Now the obvious conclusion would be yes but then it is as well very likely that she will not become a smoker. Another example is regarding the childhood experience: There have been always many studies and even evidences presented why a bad childhood is affecting you in a negative way. People, who have a worse childhood, have it more difficult because they do need to fight more for their rights and for their beliefs. But I think that makes them as well stronger than others, who have been given everything very easily and without any hard work to them. Now we could go deeper into the subject of how the morale system gets upset through their childhood time but I will not start with deep analysis just yet!

To put the final note of today in Mother Teresa’s words: “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today.” (http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/future)

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