I am one of those people who hates blaming things on the past. It all just sounds like excuses to me.
Then I became a counselor and sat through many classes explaining why our past effects us so.
But I am a rebel at heart and always claim the overcomer’s cry of “I can choose my own way!” “I am in control of my future.”
What is even worse for me is if my husband tries to connect some idiosyncratic habit I have, or character flaw, to the way I was raised or because of my family.
I’m not sure why that bothers me. It would be a better excuse than taking personal responsibility for the character flaw myself. But that would be me. Sticking with the illusion (delusion) that I am in control.
Which are you? The one who would prefer to blame who you are on someone or something else or the one firmly stubborn in your own “stuff”?
The Past: A Part of Who We Are Today
Anyway, this isn’t my point here.
My point is that I am conceding that some of my personal issues do stem from my past. Here is the one that I finally figured out is a result of my weird upbringing.
Growing up was a bit of a roller coaster ride. Without getting into too much gunk, the issue at hand is SPACE.
I know that isn’t the dramatic issue you were thinking…but for me it is. I grew up in changing environments.
- 4 bedroom home.
- Apartment sharing rooms with sisters.
- Huge house with own room and huge basement.
- Sharing one bedroom with 3 other family members.
- Off to school and a tiny dorm room.
Needless to say, today I seem to need more space than the average human. I need places to go hide for solitude and privacy.
I need spaces for stuff. I am not neat at all and having extra space spreads out the piles so it doesn’t look as bad.
I like having different rooms for different moods.
Even at my office. I have spread out into 3 offices. One for counseling; a soothing comfortable, informal space. One for coaching: a large workspace table with technology hookups everywhere.
Then there is the office; the space for piles.
It makes me happy to have a different environment for each type of work. I shift from office to office during the day and it helps me to transition into the mode of the work I am about to do.
The Past: Understanding It Helps Us Understand Ourselves
I couldn’t figure out why I needed so many spaces. It’s not like I have ostentatious furniture or decorations and just want a beautiful big house or office. Actually some rooms in my life aren’t even finished. We don’t have window hangings in our house of 6 years still.
That is when I started thinking about all of the times growing up that we were shoved into tiny spaces. I know it sounds spoiled, but sharing a room with a sister is one thing. Sharing a room with your Mom and sisters is another. Sharing one bathroom with your Mom and sisters takes it to another level. Okay it does sound spoiled.
But that is the point of the past. It seeps into our soul and develops our psyche in ways that may or may not be helpful, productive or healthy.
Understanding where it comes from can be helpful though.
- Having unlimited spaces can be expensive.
- Many rooms increases the amount of cleaning and upkeep.
- It also becomes a haven for hoarding.
The Past: Understanding It Helps Us Better Navigate Our Future
Understanding my issues can help me find other ways to overcome them without continuing to fester the problem.
- Most people do spring cleaning once a year. I need to do it once a quarter to limit the clutter and hoarding.
- We move often. This home of 6 years is one of the longest. Understanding my space issues and needs for different environments may be satisfied with a little re-decorating instead of expensive realtor fees, moving expenses, and new mortgages.
- When I need privacy I need to be more creative and go for a drive or a walk.
What do you think? Can understanding your past help you live a healthier future?
Jeremy Pope says
I have always been a believer that the past helps shape the future, not determine it. If it determined it, heaven help me! While I certainly have hang ups and habits because of my past, I have been able over the years to come to recognize that I do have a semblance of control over what influence the past has on my present and future and make changes where I am able.