What are your thoughts on character development?
It’s safe to say that none of us are who we were a year ago, or even a month ago. Why then do we have the tendency to hold people accountable for who they once were? In some cases, I’d argue that it’s okay to air on the side of caution. I for one would never let a child or animal abuser into my life. But I believe that for the most part people are genuinely good and don’t wish hurt on others.
I’ve been doing a lot of reflection lately. Not the dwelling type, more the looking back and realizing that things weren’t as I thought they were. For a long time, I looked back to my time in Pittsford with disdain and hurt feelings. I was bullied, and I was always sad. My early teenage years, left me deeply insecure and shy. But I don’t think I was a very nice person either.
People viewed me as sweet, and I’ve always had a sweet interior, but I don’t think the words I chose were those of kindness. I’m sure that there’s at least one person who feels that I wasn’t very loving to them at one point.
For many years I let the feelings I had back then dictate my future. I held on to the pain and didn’t cut myself any slack. I forgave everyone else around me except myself. Why are we so harsh on ourselves when we often times let others off the hook so easily? No one I knew back then is the same person that they are today.
If I were to see any of them I wouldn’t dare greet them with anything short of a smile.
Why then has it taken me so long to forgive myself?
Why hadn’t I been able to love who I once was, and instead put her into a box where she slowly shriveled up?
Every season in my life has made me who I am today. To get to this point I needed to learn how to love the “me” of the past. The “me” who I was ashamed of and angry with for so long.
In order to successfully grow into emotionally mature adults, we need to be able to look back with love and not hate. I’m not who I once was, but who I once was has helped me become who I am now.
For that, I’ll always be grateful.
Lesson one in forgiveness is realizing that character development is real. Growth is real. Growing in the direction you want to grow in is entirely up to you. You can choose to dwell and long for what once was, or move forward and greet the present with open arms and warmth.
We all hate parts of ourselves. We all feel intense emotions that have the potential to take over our thoughts and lead us down a dark spiral to nowhere.
The secret is processing how you feel and allowing yourself to sit in that feeling for a little while. Don’t sit too long though, because while you’re sitting, the world is moving.
There are parts of who we are that we hate, but if you look closely enough you’ll find many more reasons to love yourself. You’ll find personality traits that the world deserves to see, traits that you deserve to know and grow into.
We all deal with growth in different ways. I pray that if you’re reading this you’ll realize that you are a different person, and it’s not fair to yourself to hate on the “you” of the past. There’s so much beauty in everyone, even the ugly parts that they’ve locked away for so long.
My time in Pittsford was challenging, but I wouldn’t change any of it. The universe kicked my ass, and it’s taken me a long time to realize why. I needed the challenge to learn how to survive, to grow into who I’m becoming.
And for that I’m happy.