This week I have been thinking a lot about the events that influence who you are as a person. It baffles me how one seemingly inconsequential event can lead to something that has a major influence on your life. It’s hard not to wonder if things had been just a little different, would everything have turned out the way it did anyway? Would I have become who I am in this very instant if an event that took place 50 years ago never actually happened?
I received some news this weekend that has been hard for me to process. Here are the basics – an undiagnosed brain injury resulting in a change in behavior that made someone in my life a very different person than they may have been if that injury never occurred. It boils down to an event that completely changed someone very important to me in a significant way. This change influenced my entire life; it ended up influencing my entire being. The event was completely out of my control, it was even out of the control of the person it happened to, yet it changed the course of this person’s life and subsequently it impacted mine.
The question I keep asking myself is whether it is possible to forgive someone for things they did in the past if you can link it to an event that was out of their control? All my life I thought the actions of this person were a conscious choice. Now, there’s a very real possibility that it never was their choice. It was, for lack of a better word, an imbalance. Unfortunately there are years of emotions built up inside me and letting go of the anger and pain is proving to be rather difficult. These feelings are some of the strongest feelings a person can have and they truly are the hardest to get rid of.
From the time I started this blog, I have been dedicating myself to reconnecting with who I am and improving myself with every step I take. Now I am faced with a very real and very important challenge. As I see it, I have two choices. I can either resign myself to the feelings I currently have or I can attempt to let go of some of the past pain and move forward to build a new relationship. The former would certainly be the easiest. That’s a given. It is easier to stay floating on the placid lake in lieu of trying to survive the rapids that lead to unknown territory (I can never stop myself from using a metaphor, now can I?). Normally I would choose the first option because it’s been a long road to get where I am emotionally with this person; changing my mental and emotional state is going to require a lot of reflection and work. Yet I know backing away from this challenge would be going against my goal of renewal that started this whole blogging project.
Quick Note: It’s amazing how I have been holding myself accountable to all the goals I make since the start of this blog. There’s something about writing and putting these goals out into the world that makes me not only want to meet my goals, but start challenging myself in ways I never thought of before. I am only a month into this project and I can already see the effect it has on my everyday life. Loving it! Now back to the topic at hand…
What am I going to do? If you’ve read any of my posts, you already know. I am going to brave those rapids, climb that mountain, tame that lion, well you get the idea. Even though there will always be lingering negative feelings towards this person, I am going to have to embrace the fact that there were external factors that influenced the impact this person had on my life. I am going to have to find a way to embrace the possibility of a new and possibly healthy relationship, one that will be positive and may just develop into what I have always wanted. I have to make the conscious choice to choose the more challenging path because sometimes that’s the only path that leads to what you really want.
I found the following quote the other day and it really struck a chord with me:
“Life is like a coin, you can spend it anyway you want but you can only spend it once.” – Anonymous
How simply and astoundingly true. I only have one shot at this life and I want to live it with no regrets. So I am going to put the age-old “forgive and forget” adage to the test. Even if it doesn’t work out, even if I can’t let go of past feelings, I owe it to myself to at least try. You can’t change who your family is, but you can at least try to change the dynamic if you have the opportunity (and a great support system).