“You must let for to grow.” – Byrd Baggett
When the time comes, how do we go about explaining our past to potential dating partners?
And what do we do about trying to get that “friend”, family member or romantic partner to stop throwing our past in our face?
I say we stop trying to justify ourselves to other people.
Either they accept us for who we are, or we send them love and let them go on their way.
It took me quite some time to arrive at this conclusion.
Because there are most certainly the people who remember me for the person I was in high school and attempt to interact with me as if I am still her.
Then there were the potential dating partners who frowned their nose up at me because I had a child out of wedlock 18 years ago when I was 16 years old.
And furthermore, there are the people who have ridiculed me for a variety of decisions I have made during my past.
So it is no surprise that from time to time I think about how I can best reframe my past and highlight my lessons learned.
But what was surprising was that this time when I was mentally coming up with a new script to justify myself a thought occurred to me….
When it comes to my personal life, not only do I not have to justify my previous actions to people, I also no longer care to personally engage with people who frown upon my past.
My ultimate reason for no longer interacting with people who cast dispersions on me because of who I was isn’t simply because I am making a decision not to be around people who try to make me feel small.
No, I assure you it is goes much deeper than that.
I take the position that we can’t give other people what we do not have for ourselves.
Thus, I have decided to let these people go because I surmise that the type of people who go about judging others based solely on the decisions that the other person made in their past while neglecting to give any credit towards a person’s long held current behavior are the kind of people who have yet to make major transitions in their own lives. And furthermore, if they have made some steps towards the transition, they haven’t completed the process of forgiving their past mistakes.
So, the reason why those people frown their face up at my past, is because there is some aspect of their own life that they frown their face up at.
The reason that they cannot see me as an improved person is because they cannot see themselves as an improved person.
And the reason they keep throwing my past up in my face is because internally they keep throwing their past up in their own face.
It is not possible for them to see me as an improved person when they have yet to make or acknowledge their own improvements.
Now of course I have no evidence that my line of thinking is factual.
But what I do know is that I have decided that people who ridicule me for my past automatically disqualify themselves from being a part of my future.
I want to surround myself with people who have actively done the necessary work to heal their past wounds as much as they know how to.
I want to be in the company of people who have made advancements in becoming their best self and who challenge me to continue to do the same.
This isn’t about thinking that I am better than people that have made no or limited progress or thinking that I am better than people who refuse to let go of their past (I am doing inner work and need improvement myself).
This is about the fact that I have made a decision to keep shedding my old skin and I cannot allow people who are not trying to do the same to keep me from becoming the woman I was born to be.
I fall in love with myself more and more with the passing of each day, and I don’t see any positives to being around people who don’t accept the things that made me who I am and therefore fail to love me as I am.
I am actually thankful for the lessons that I have learned due to my poor professional and financial decisions, my failed relationships and my other life choices.
I have grown so much from who I was and anyone who cannot acknowledge the woman that I am today is someone I don’t care to purposely engage with tomorrow.
I simply will not consciously allow anyone to hold me back.
If this means walking alone then alone I shall go.
People have a right to remember me for who I was, and people are free to judge me as much as they please, but I also have a right to release those people from my circle.
Whenever I decide to date again, I will not allow a potential dating partner to make me feel some type of way about the fact that I am 34 years old and my oldest child is 18. If they find that bothersome then they are not the person for me.
Additionally, I will not have someone constantly throw my past in my face only to find myself continually pleading my case that the event occurred five, ten, fifteen or twenty years ago.
If a person cannot see the woman who I am sitting before them then that clearly says more about them than it does about me.
When it comes to my personal life I will not worry about how to highlight my negatives in a positive way so that people will find me more attractive.
Because the truth is, like them I am flawed, I have made mistakes, I have grown from many of them but I can assure you I will make some more.
I, like everyone else am simply doing the best that I know how.
Does this mean I will try to hide my past from people?
-No, of course not.
But what it does mean is that I will not try to justify it.
My past is what helped to shape me into who I am today.
If my past is not palatable and unforgivable to someone then they are not the someone for me.
I understand that to some this may come off as haughty, but it is just where I am at this juncture of my life.
I can say without any fear that anyone who doesn’t like me, is more than welcome to leave me, because at the end of the day I am going to be me.
Ultimately, I cannot live this life for anyone else and I have to stay true to me.
And staying true to me means accepting who I was, embracing who I am and striving towards who I am to become.
People who throw past mistakes in my face are people who could potentially hold me back.
People who judge me for decisions I have made in my past, are people who I am better without.
The question is not “if I am good enough to be in their life”, the question has become “are they good enough to be in mine”.
People who reject me are helping me out tremendously!
I thank them.
For they are flashing lights showing me the direction that I am supposed to go and that direction is most certainly not near them.
I used to wonder how I could get them to see me differently, how I could get them to understand me, and see me for who I am.
Now I couldn’t care less what they think of me.
I am just thankful that they showed me that trying to interact with them would be a waste of my precious time.
It took a long time for me to get it, but thankfully I finally got it!
My time and energy is sacred and I can’t just go off giving it to everyone who comes across my path.
I have spent decades chasing after people who didn’t love me, because I spent decades not loving myself.
I have decided not to do that any longer.
To the people who choose not to forgive their past, it is my sincere hope that one day they break free from that choice.
And to the people who have not grown and learned from their mistakes it is my hope that eventually they will advance in their life journey.
But as for me I am going to be on the next level and I hope that I will see you there as you choose to do the same.
© Renata Pittman Smith and RenataNicole, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Renata Pittman Smith and RenataNicole with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.