Arif is an entrepreneur and freelance writer that has posted several featured articles and has a passion for the arts and popular culture.
To be human is to know the meaning of hurt. It is to live life sometimes in a state of quiet desperation—haunted by the mistakes of our past. The demons of our past can grip us, twist us, chew us up, and spit us back out. We may constantly be a victim of unresolved traumas—unless we learn from them and confront them head-on.
But, why is it so hard? Well, because most of us are afraid. And we absolutely have reason to be. You are afraid of who you are, you are afraid of who you used to be. You are afraid that you may have to face some hidden demon that lay ominously dormant within your psyche — a dark truth — waiting to pounce at your most vulnerable moment.
Entering The Fog
Imagine a place where you keep all the things that you are afraid to uncover hidden away. A metaphorical closet for all your skeletons to lie. And as you blissfully move on with your life, that place becomes bigger and even more hidden. And the very thought of you uncovering that place is so frightening that you create a quite literal mental block for it. That is what I call the fog. An eerie and dark misty place where all the bad things live.
Learning from your mistakes requires you to enter this fog and confront your mistakes or past traumas you chose to hide away. This can be particularly frightening as it forces you to see the person who you used to be — a part of your personality that has subconsciously been the reason why you are repeating the same mistakes over and over. Because the alternative to confronting your past and being humbled by it is blinded enchantment, you put up a brave facade and move on with your life thinking that everything should go your way, everything should be perfect. And if they are not, then there must be something fundamentally wrong with it, but not you. No, you are perfect.
Fear of Facing Yourself
Your past could unlock some hidden truths that may have eluded you. But sometimes we don't want to face them. We are too frightened. And that fear could grip us in mental chains and lock us in the deepest dungeons of our psyche. So, what is the antidote to fear? Well, it is hope. But hope is tricky. Hope means to tell yourself that you actually have the means and strength to pull yourself out of the weeds and into the light. Hope means that you have to discover what you want in life. And that in itself is a frightening thing to do. Because knowing what you want entails having goals and striving for them. But perhaps you were in that place before, where you did have goals and you did in fact work to achieve them, but you failed. So to hope again is to create the possibility of another failure. But most people don't realize that they are now in a different place than they were before—mentally at least. Because you are now equipped with the new knowledge generated painfully by those failures. And isn't that the very definition of learning from your mistakes?
You must be willing to face yourself again. You must be willing to fail again. That is the only way out of the fog. Because what is the alternative? Would it be better to fall back into your deep state of depression? What is the true price of your hopelessness? For some, the price of hopelessness is that the people under your care are dragged together into your pit of despair. So, not only is your own life miserable, but you now have made everyone else’s life miserable, especially those who love you.
Our Personality Keeps Us Accountable of Our Future
One way to effectively extract useful information from our past is to identify our personality. And see how it has changed over time. A lot of our past decisions are sometimes rooted in our personality. We tend to not make a decision based on objective truths, but rather with feelings. It is the unfortunate bane of human existence, but it is not without its merits. For example, the act of falling in love is not one made with the head, but with the heart. Other examples would be acts of kindness, the feeling of joy in the silly little things, and the choices of friends we make. Our personality steers the ship to which our feelings sail through. And remembering what we felt at the time we did the things we did in the past is the best way to predict what we could do in the future. Identifying your personality type can help you better understand yourself and the choices you make. For example, if you were more of a particularly gregarious type, perhaps you should have stayed home studying more rather than constantly going out with your friends. If you were more of an unsociable type, perhaps you may want to analyze how your current lack of romantic relationships was contributed by your incessant need to stay indoors and watch Netflix.
Willing to Change
What is change? The very definition of it can be tricky. “Change” could be something that involves a career shift, a change in social circles, a change in diet, or simply a change in the way you think. All forms can be significant to one’s life, even in small doses—and one change usually starts a chain reaction of other changes, both physically and mentally. It is a strange concoction of the psychological and the real, the subjective and the objective. Am I afraid or is that thing frightening? Is something difficult or am I incompetent? When I become angry with someone, is it because of something they have done, or my lack of control? The dichotomy of the real and psychological is what determines the state of confusion we chronically occupy. And that state of confusion can have an objective consequence, such as losing your job, breaking of a relationship, or loss of income; but it can also be subjective, associated with a state of composed pain, doubt, and quiet desperation—blinding us from seeing a path forward.
Avoiding the pains in our past could just make the pain bigger. If you leave the grass in your front yard unattended it will grow longer and longer to the point where it blinds you to the path to your own front gate. And within that inability to move forward, that's when the devil comes. He is sneaky. Able to slither its way through the thick bushes and overgrowths and right into your home. And that is where darkness finds you — leading us into unexamined motivations, bred by your fear, failures, and frustrations.
There will be a time in your life when it will take everything you have to face what is merely right on your doorstep. Sometimes the biggest antagonist in your life is yourself. Only if you had been brave enough to shed light on your past mistakes and experiences could you have unlocked something you never thought you had. And that is the truth, how terrible it may be.