If someone were to ask me a few months ago if I was someone who lived in the past I would say most definitely NOT!
I had never been a person that dwelled on past events and used them as excuses for why I couldn’t do things in my present or future.
I saw myself as a very aware person who was mainly forward thinking and always progressing.
That was until it was very kindly but bluntly pointed out to me that I wasn’t completely right about that. Ok, ok… I was completely wrong, at least when it came to my closet relationship… my marriage.
In my work life, I am great at letting the past go and forging ahead with confidence and conviction, but in my marriage I was different.
Like most marriages, mine has its fair share of fantastic, lovingly wonderful moments but it also has the occasional disagreement. Some big and some small. And side note, when you are two women in the marriage, some of our small disagreements aren’t exactly rational or about earth shattering matters haha. Often things like the dishes being placed in the dishwasher in the wrong direction can fuel a heated debate. I know ridiculous, but I’m sure we’ve all been there at least once in our lives, gay or straight.
For us though, what we’ve both come to realize is when that happens in our house and we finally wake up from our deep desire to be right, we laugh at our craziness. Sometimes laughing at yourself and each other is the best remedy.
We haven’t always been that resilient though. Before we found laughter, we were in a funk. Turns out, it was actually largely my fault. I know, I was just as surprised as you.
I was living in the past as a way to defend myself.
Yep, true story.
See, every time my wonderful wife would piss me off, I would defend myself by telling her things like ‘that’s typical of you to say because you’re always that way’, or ‘you do that every time’, or ‘the reason I act this way is because you always…’
See a pattern? I never gave her a chance to be any different than her past offenses. And I would use them as reasons she was wrong and I was right. I used them to prove my ‘rightness’ and to excuse myself from accepting fault or blame.
Because I did this, I never gave us a chance to move forward. By making her past actions our permanent reality I never gave us the opportunity to grow and be better partners for each other.
Funny thing is, I have a friend who often comes to see me for relationship advice and I would preach this stuff to her, but turns out I was guilty of not practicing it myself.
Turns out this is something most of us do, not just in our marriages, but in many of our relationships in life. I remember doing this sometimes to my mom, my brother, my sister, or thinking it of my boss, etc…
It’s dangerous because when we never let go of other people’s past mistakes we can never move forward with them. We get frustrated by the perpetuating cycle of their behaviour we don’t like, but actually its us to blame for that because we refuse to see them any other way; and as a result, we never give them a chance to be better, act differently, or prove us wrong… We let their past behaviors condition our present thinking about them.
When we stop letting what’s happened in the past condition our thinking of the present and future, we can move forward.
So if you are like I was and have a relationship in your life you just can’t seem to move forward with, stop and assess your last disagreement with that person and ask yourself, was I living in the past? Was I not giving them a chance to change? Was I just thinking negatively about how they are because that’s the way I think they’ve always been? And next time, try letting that go and see if your relationship starts to move forward.
Thanks for reading.