The Past Does Not Equal the Future
When we think we have been hurt by someone in the past, we build up defenses to protect ourselves from being hurt in the future. So the fearful past causes a fearful future and the past and future become one. We cannot love when we feel fear…. When we release the fearful past and forgive everyone, we will experience total love and oneness with all.
Gerald G. Jampolsky
Adam Greenberg got his second chance in the major leagues, as a pinch hitter for the Miami Marlins, on October 3 this year. In his debut as an outfielder with the Chicago Cubs in 2005, he was hit in the head with the first pitch, a 92-mile–an-hour fastball. He sustained a concussion that caused vision problems, vertigo and headaches for hours at a time. It was nearly two years before he regained full health. In an interview after his comeback game he talked about how difficult it was for him to get back in the batter’s box initially and how he felt “gun shy” for years.
Life throws you curveballs. Mine threw me a fastball at 92, and it hit me in the back of the head. I got up from it, and my life is great, said Greenberg in an interview following his return with the Marlins.
When we’ve been hurt in any way in the past it’s really hard for us to let go of that hurt. It’s hard for us not to relive past experiences and place them into our present circumstances. Maybe it was a friend who betrayed us or who stabbed us in the back. Maybe it was a husband or wife who broke our trust. Maybe it was something shared in confidence that was spread to others and now we are reluctant to open up to others. Maybe it was a dark time or season of our life and we are afraid of going back there again – to an addiction, to a place where pain occurred, to reliving a military experience. It’s a sense of fear that keeps us from wanting to be hurt again.
We both remember the feeling of anxiety and fear in driving a car again after traumatic experiences behind the wheel or in the passenger seat. I (Tom) had a piece of metal fly off a truck and smash through my windshield, missing me by a foot, driving back to college in 2002. Anytime something, no matter how small, bounces onto the road in front of me I flinch at the wheel. I (Michael) remember riding in the passing lane in the family station wagon as a young teenager when another car veered into our lane beside us, hitting our car. We were very fortunate that we weren’t pushed head on into the oncoming traffic. To this day decades later, every time I pass another car or go to pass a car I momentarily think of that day, decades earlier. These experiences can leave us “gun shy”.
These are practical examples. But we also have many more examples, especially relating to relationships and the devastating affect that the breaking of relationships can have on us all. We know a lot of people who have been hurt deeply by friends and family members, co-workers, teachers, bosses or pastors. We hear them express over and over again how they cannot trust these people specifically, but even more they cannot trust anyone anymore. We know of those who have received bad news from a doctor and they automatically assume that they will always receive bad news from them again. They project the past onto the present and the future and therefore maintain a very hopeless outlook and perspective
We hold onto our fears and allow them to control us; we invite them along the journey with us and allow them to take over our minds. We relive them again and again. One our friends calls it “replaying the movie’ over and over again. But we simply have to make the choice to stop playing that “movie”, that nightmare, and begin to let it go.
How do we do that?
Time. It’s passage can begin to bring healing to us. Acknowledgement. Voicing the hurt and pain and sharing it with someone whom we can trust can be restoring and rejuvenating. Acceptance. Owning it as part of our story can demystify it and begin to take away its power. Attitude. Maintaining a positive outlook, believing that things can and will be better, different, and that it does not have to be the same thing all over again.
Remember. Everybody’s got a past. The past does not equal the future unless you live there.
Tony Robbins, motivational speaker