Yesterday on my way home from work, I had a little scuffle with a fellow passenger which opened my eyes for the first time as to how much our perception of our past selves affect the way we behave towards others in the present time.
Suffice it to say that I thought the passenger has stepped on my toes (figuratively and almost literally), so I reacted rather unnecessarily and even rougher towards her. It was not something I normally do, though it was not my first time doing it either, and no sooner than I did it the thought occurred: “What was I thinking?”
All the way home, under a couple of angry stares, I pondered what had come over me, and by the time I got home I realized that the reason why I always took every offense to my person, right or territory personally, regardless of situation or other motives that may factored into it, is the desire to compensate for that time in the past when I was too weak, cowardly, or irresolute to defend myself when I truly needed to.
Middle school was a nightmare because I was often targeted for bullying, and while I have forgiven my former bulliers and understood that back then they were just kids who knew nothing, I have never quite forgiven myself. I considered my younger self to have had enough sense back then to fight back and not give any reason for others to treat her harshly. I felt she had failed me and held her responsible for my timidity and insecurities in the present time, despite the fact I now know better. As a result, I tried to ‘murder’ her by being hostile to anyone who wronged me or showed ill intentions toward me. It’s almost like I need to compensate for those moments when I was pathetic and defenseless by showing that now I cannot be meddled with… regardless of the reasons.
It had not worked as well as I’d hoped…if anything, it ruined my relationships with many people. I didn’t realize that by condemning my past self through my present self, I denied part of myself. Because that timid girl IS me, just in a different stage of life. She did what she could at 13, with all the knowledge and capabilities available to her at the time. I couldn’t simply compensate for her behavior in the present time because adult life and way of thinking are vastly different from those of adolescents, and I could not respond to it the same way I would respond to my fellow middleschoolers.
Having realized that, I know that I have to not just forgive, but also accept, embrace, and LOVE my 13-year-old self as part of me. That part that is timid, quiet and unconfrontational, but still me. Only when I am able to do this with all my heart and soul will I be able to totally let go of all bitterness and disappointment and embrace my unique potentials as an individual.
It’s not going to be easy after all this time. But it’s a start.