How much are you a product of your past? Sounds like a silly question, doesn’t it? Each of us is affected by where we grew up, where we fall in the birth order and whether we were popular or not in school. Maybe a better question is – how much do you have to be a product of your past? Are you locked in to a particular life because of things that you did or things that were done to you?
That’s more to the point, especially for me lately as I’m trying to deal with the final chapter of my dysfunctional relationship with my father. All my life I’ve been locked into the roles that were set up between us when I was a child. Now that he’s gone I’m finally realizing that the choices I made in how I responded to our relationship played a huge part in making me the person I am today.
I keep coming back to the idea of living my own truth. I’ve always wanted to be the best that I can be. But I didn’t see how my dysfunctional relationship with my father was limiting my ability to succeed.
I’ve spent a lot of years trying to be perfect all the time. I put a lot of effort and energy into trying to reach that impossible goal! I’m not saying I’ve gotten over wanting to be perfect. But I have realized that just because something was important for me in the past doesn’t mean I have to keep doing it in the future.
Don’t get me wrong. Change is hard work and it doesn’t give you rewards overnight, but it can be life-altering work. So if you are not happy with where your life is right now, you can decide to make a change.
I believe God has a plan for every one of us. Sometimes the biggest challenge is getting out of the way so it can be fulfilled! I have finally realized that I will never reach my full potential in life if I keep dragging along all the baggage from my past, including my relationship with my father and my own impossible benchmark of perfection.
Even knowing that I will be better and stronger and more fulfilled when I release the past, it is hard to move away from what is familiar – even if the familiar is dysfunctional.