We like to believe we change for the better as the years go on; and if we are fortunate to see that person who treated us badly in the past they can see us as a better version of ourselves in spite of what they did to us. It is also nice to hope that the people from our past have become better people themselves through the years. Still when confronted with uncomfortable situations from our pasts, there is always the possibility that our past selves resurrect and it appears as if nothing has changed.
There is one situation in particular that I would like to note about this week and the people of my past sneaking up on me. I was hanging out at my community coffee shop, when lo and behold a man that I had less than positive dealings with came in with friends. I tried very hard to not let the anxiety overwhelm me as I sat there watching one of my best friends and my boyfriend serve him coffee. Nonetheless I was clearly affected by this man’s presents and was unsure about what could be done to calm me down.
I was later able to explain to both my friend and my boyfriend the reaction I had and the reasonings. I was sickened at myself for reacting, internally, so poorly, or even feeling the need to express my un-comfortability regarding the situation. This was a person that, even without any sort of romantic entanglement, had managed to evoke the darker part of my emotional reactions regarding the opposite sex; and now the universe felt the need to place him within the same establishment as myself to face these demons.
Though it was not completely intentional, I did managed to ease drop on the conversations he was having with the people he walked in with, an older gentleman and a woman that looked to be in her early to mid twenties. Nothing seemed to have changed over the five years we had spoken last. He still seemed to be without a job, mooching off of some girl that he was living with, and still head over heels in love with the girl he left back in New York City. These were all things I picked up in passing, however, we never spoke or even acknowledged each other.
After the situation passed, I spent a lot of time reflecting on the fact that this crossing of paths happened at all. What was the intended message or lesson that I needed to learn? What was the purpose of me having to see someone that evoked such fear and anxiety within me? What had changed within me as a person from the last time I saw this man? What had changed in him? Had he become a better person and now we were to be friends again?
It was not just this man that came out of the shadows of my past into the light of my current path. There were many other people that had been absent from my life for years at a time, which now seemed to make appearances again. None of which had left near as much of a bad taste in my mouth as this one encounter, still it got me to thinking about the reasons the past can come back to us in our present states and the effects it can have.
There are endless possibilities for the reasons behind these situations. Such as, our need to face the situation again and again until a lesson is learned, or it is to show us how much we have changed. Sometimes it is to bring a sense of closure. Sometimes they are just a chance for us to step back from judgment and have an opportunity to put our previous interactions aside to see things with a beginner’s mind. For us to let go of our pasts and see people for who they are now, putting the person they were to rest, just as we hope the people we have hurt can do the same for us.
Whatever the reason maybe, the true test is in the way that we react to the situation at hand. If we allow ourselves the chance to step back and look at everything objectively, then we have a chance to answer some of the above questions.
As the summer begins to wind down we again start to enter into the space of self-reflexion and growth. To jump start this process, it is often necessary for us to look into our past transgressions and those of others towards us in order to have a focal point of growth. Often times this focal point is handed to us by the universe with the situations that seem to ‘randomly’ cross our paths.
Practice in love and peace ❤