June 20, 2021

I HATE Looking Back, But It's Necessary For My Growth

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Posted by Sharmarke Hujale

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3 min read

Why would I need to look back at my life—my past? Surely, there's nothing to gain from it. The past is in the past, as they say.

I have dreams. I have aspirations in life. I need to move forward. I don't have the luxury of time to ponder over past events.

That's how I would convince myself to stay focused—rather I told myself a lie. But in reality, it still happens. My mind wants to wander off and go down memory lane—to recollect the past.

When I would visit my father, he would from time to time mention his childhood memories. The memories he held from his time living in Kismaayo, Somalia. You could see the joy on his face when he talked about it.

The good old, sweet memories. But that’s exactly what they are—memories—nothing more than that.

What's the point in bringing it up you might think?

When hard times approach, and you struggle in life. Do you think back in time when things were good? Perhaps you think back to your childhood or adolescence for comfort.

I declare guilty of that. "Oh, I wish I was a child again so that, I don't have to deal with problems.", I would think to myself. But immediately after, it dawned upon me that I don’t want to relive my childhood or adolescence.

Insecurities, doubts, identity crises, depression, guilt, anxiety. These are feelings I had experienced during my childhood and adolescents. You might recognize some of these feelings as well. If you do, you are not alone.

At times it pains me to think back. I will always remember the year 2007-2013 as the 'darkest' times of my life. Dealing with bullying, divorced parents, not fitting well in school, expectations, and no sense of direction or purpose.

Then why do I keep remembering them? Why can't I erase them from memory? They can't be all bad, right?

To be completely transparent. They are too precious for me to be forgotten. Strange, right? After all, I talked about how it pained me, and now I'm telling you how precious they are to me.

It's simple. The reason that some of the painful events are precious to me, and that I from time to time look back—is because they act as a reminder.

Back then, I could only see darkness. It was to see the light at the end of the tune. Now that I'm writing this at the age of 26, the tunnel vision has been much clearer.

To see the 'dark' experiences from a holistic perspective. The patterns became apparent to me. The mistakes and defeats I'd experienced, turned out to be blessings in disguise.

It can all be summed up into one word: Growth.

We become so focused on the future that we don't take the time to take it slow, and look back at the journey, we have been through. There's nothing wrong with focusing on what's ahead. But I believe that there's a healthy balance between the past, present, and future.

We take lessons from the past to take on the present and seize the future ahead of us.

By looking at the past and reflecting upon the steps that we have taken. The more grateful, appreciative, determined, and motivated we become in our current state.

It's a matter of perception.

The past is our origin story. And we are the protagonist of that story.

And at that, I will leave you with a quote.

“Looking at the past must only be a means of understanding more clearly what and who they are so that they can more wisely build the future.” - Paulo Freire

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