Often, I wonder how many people are needing to start over; either having to or wishing they could, because things fell apart or didn’t turn out as we might’ve hoped. All those times people find themselves needing the faith, courage and self-belief to somehow start again and perhaps chart different paths from ones they’d been walking to that point.
Life, in various ways, is inherently uncertain and fragile; demanding adaptability and resilience to navigate its paths, chart or correct our course, and pick ourselves up in those times things don’t go to plan (see Notes One). But, what might that even mean? To dismantle our lives, discard that which no longer serves us, give up on broken dreams, and begin again?
How can we pull apart those things that make us who we are, re-evaluate them, decide to leave some aspects aside, or perhaps develop new qualities we’ve never possessed? From what ‘centre of our being’ can we make such higher-level decisions about our existence? And, if we’re actively choosing to leave parts of ourselves behind, on what ground do we find confidence for doing so?
Because, in many ways, we live in a world that looks back to determine our worth, identity, capability, character, etc. We turn to the past, the picture it paints, to discover ourselves through the evidence we find there. If, in doing that, we see much we’d rather change, where do we find the courage or certainty? Can we conclude, despite it all, that we have more to offer? To believe in ourselves.
It’s so easy to look back, see evidence of failure, and decide to give up. Whether it’s relationships, dreams, projects, social ties, mistaken paths or other struggles, it may be we reach the point of reviewing our lives and see the need to give up or start over in some or all ways (Notes Two).
Yet our world often wants to hold people hostage to their past. Because, of course, our paths tell a story; but are we interpreting it rightly or perpetuating this limited understanding of human development and difficulties people can experience inwardly or outwardly? How open are we to letting people change? To believing in them, beyond the impression their reality might be giving us?
In very real ways, we cannot change the past. In equally real ways, we can keep it in hand and be forever bringing it into the present where it might serve to stop us diving into what the future might hold. Whether those processes are personal or collective, we can either nail people to the wall or gracefully allow them room to develop something new (Notes Three).
It’s interesting, the process of being human: we expect so much, in idealistic realms of thought, but reality’s another matter. Making our way through life – its practical, social, psychological intricacies – doesn’t seem as straightforward as we might make out. Letting ourselves change, letting others change, letting something new come about, seem exciting but challenging paths to walk.
Notes and References:
Note 1: We’re all vulnerable
Note 1: Living as an open wound
Note 2: What is acceptable?
Note 2: The need for discernment
Note 2: Is anything obvious to someone who doesn’t know?
Note 3: Need to suffer in order to change?
Note 3: Conversation as revelation