“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
My sentiments exactly.
We all have a past. We all have things we have done, said, been–that we would have liked to be different. Yet, that is part of the human experience. Part of being fully human includes getting your hands dirty. We know and appreciate joy because we have experienced sorrow; we know and appreciate love because we have been familiar with fear and envy. We do not grow as humans until we live fully in the human experience, in all its wonder and agony and beauty and ugliness.
We cross paths with perhaps thousands of people in a lifetime, and who is to say how many of them are there to learn their own lessons by knowing you, or you, them? We can say that a person inflicted pain on us, or was our nemesis, wronged us, or in some way did us damage, yet perhaps this is the only way we could have learned what we needed to learn. We can indeed thank these people in our minds and hearts for bringing us valuable lessons (i.e., everyone can be a teacher) even though this is often hard to do, because if we blame someone else, we don’t have to take responsibility for ourselves.
It’s a real challenge to be okay when your past rears its head via the opinions from those who were alongside you during the journey; those who saw the dark side of your soul, the ones who might have felt the sting of your lessons, the pain of your anger or angst or confusion. It then becomes about forgiving yourself; and yet, why would we need to forgive something that is intrinsically part of the process and indeed the very reason we are here? While there is a precarious balance between personal accountability and accepting the inevitability of human foibles, this balance can be had, and is one we should strive for.
I have done so, and continue to do so, even amid my own frustration, confusion and misinterpretations. I am not the same person i was 10 years ago. If i was, it would indicate that i am not evolving. And i find that concept not only unacceptable but repulsive.
I am not merely a human being, but a human, BEING.