random, The life

Reflections: Nostalgia, relationships and boundaries

This prompt found on the Daily Om is about reminiscing.

There is nothing wrong with nostalgia as long as we don’t get fixated on the past with rose coloured glasses. But it’s fine to reflect on times in your life you remember fondly. Or specific memories even that make you feel good. Our brain is awesome at remembering negative things so it takes more effort to remember the fun/good times. I think that is fine to remember those memories.

Just not to get immersed in the past thinking it was some sort of better time. There were problems. There were difficulties. It is just the types of problems and difficulties we have at different times in our lives, are a lot different because our lifestyle changes, age and obligations.

I have some awesome memories of living in a small city doing my undergrad. I like that time in my life. I was pretty naïve when it came to some things though. And this was early in my relationship before I know all the things I do now. So that time was really happy because it didn’t have that weight of knowledge. It was a new relationship and as such in that glowing time where you do not know that person well yet and the process of learning about that person is just a great time. And what I know now makes me reflect on that time back then to see what sort of red flags I ignored- and what it was about me that meant I didn’t see them as red flags at all. I am told how we are raised and the relationships of our parents make us sometimes blind to some red flags. Because you think they are normal things and not red flags at all. But when you know what you know now, you can see those flags for what they were then. That just means I have grown and matured to a level where I understand those red flags I didn’t even see then are something I know and would never accept now.

I was at university which was a great time for me. I thrived in university- but that isn’t to say I didn’t have problems. I had some massive imposter syndrome back in those days. I was intellectually timid because I never really accepted that I was intelligent as I am. It was something I always made external excuses for. I did so well in that class because the professor liked me as a person. Or because the class itself was so easy. I never really accepted my accomplishments as they were. Even though more than one professor spoke to me privately saying I did so well in their class that I should consider changing my major to that field of study. I never clued in that was a sign I knew my shit. It definitely is a sign I love to learn. And I love to learn in many fields of study. There were a few I didn’t enjoy as much and some I sucked at (learning languages for example, was never my forte). My undergrad and even my graduate studies were a huge learning curve for my sense of self.

I also had some awesome friends there. University was a very social time for me. Perhaps not as much as my peers because my fibromyalgia was diagnosed when I was 20 and I was beginning to learn the hard way I had to really pace things in my life. I couldn’t do all the things I wanted or socialize as frequently as others. Or even take on too many things. And I definitely couldn’t work while being in school, so I only had summer jobs. This was a massive time for adjustment when it came to managing my pain. Of course, once I was established in a career much later I forgot all those lessons and just kept pushing way beyond my limits. But at this time in my life, I had learned to pace and I had learned balance.

No man ever steps in the same river twice, for its not the same river and he’s not the same man.

– Heraclitus

I am no longer that person. My self-identity is as fluid as anyone’s so I have changed a great deal since then. I remember that person I was fondly in many ways. But she doesn’t have the resilience or the wisdom I have now. But I am fond of that time and the memories I made back then. I wasn’t quite as burdened, in many ways, than I was after I graduated. Because you can manage pain a whole lot better when you are not working full-time. And you can have fulfillment in many ways when you are younger and have less obligations- and that can be harder the older we get. In some ways. Perhaps it is just we have to be more conscious of what we need for our fulfillment and have the courage to find ways to achieve it.

Even though the relationship that has started back then has run its course now and ended, I still remember that time quite fondly. And even when you know things and learn things that made your relationship impossible to continue it doesn’t taint every memory you have with that person.

Although, I am pretty conflicted about my judgement in men knowing what I know. And I am having a hard time reconciling the man I knew then to the man I know now. I have to wonder, now, how well I ever even knew him. That is sort of sad, really. Spending so many years with someone and never seeing beneath their mask. Not that I didn’t learn a whole lot of things about him and it is pretty obvious knowing the psychological reasons behind those things too. But whereas most people grow and develop and get way beyond the wounds we carried from childhood some people never do. Some people never dig inside, find all the shadows, and learn how to go beyond them. Some people never accept their shadows let alone really, really Look at them. And those unhealed people, well, they have gaping wounds but they have learned to suppress feeling them- so they just bleed all over other people, causing pain and suffering because they could never dare to look at those wounds, let alone heal them.

But I can’t heal the wounds someone else carries. All I know is that the harm they cause from not healing those wounds can be far too much for other people to bear. I can’t suffer the consequences of someone else’s pain. And man, I suffered the consequences.

But by suffering those consequences and learning the same damn lesson over and over and over again- I grew from that pain he caused. I have learned how to make and hold boundaries. And I really needed to learn that. People, and loved ones, trampling all over me and breaking boundaries because I never set up them up or Kept any consequences for them crossing those lines, brought a lot of pain. Learning to create and keep boundaries and when someone breaks them, hold firm to the consequences of them doing that was an exceptionally hard lesson for me to learn. And a necessary lesson to learn. I could never be fully who I need to be thinking I needed to fix every wound someone carries, thinking I can create harmony around me by sacrificing my own needs to appease everyone else.

But, man, I have no idea why I choose to learn all these lesson in my life the hardest way humanly possible. I would really love to learn my lesson the first time, instead of repeating unhealth patterns over and over again- until I would have to be a complete idiot Not to learn the damn lesson. I got it this time though. Really learned my lesson. It is very healthy to set boundaries. And you have to learn that when people cross the line there has to be consequences for that. Not just letting it slide because you don’t ever want to hurt anyone’s feelings- even as they trample all over yours.

When you learn how some of the ways you are in a relationship were unhealthy and you heal these things- it just means you will enter into the next one from a far better place. So maybe you had to learn the hard way, as long as you grow from these things you will break that pattern. And we all want to have healthy relationships- all sorts of relationships- friends, partners, co-workers and family. And some people we meet in our lives are just in our lives to teach us the things we really needed to learn.

So I can remember that time in my life, back in the day, with a smile. Those were good times. I also know the fact I am so much more resilient and self-aware now. And the things I couldn’t learn back then because long-term relationships were not a thing I had experience with, I was able to learn as time passed. And that growth is an awesome thing. No matter how difficult the process was.


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