Just keep moving forward. Forgive and forget. Don’t cry over spilt milk. It’s just water under the bridge. Don’t look back. All these statements encourage us to leave the past in the past, only focusing on the future. But there’s a fatal flaw to that mentality. If you don’t know where you’ve been, like really get in touch with the past, you’ll wind up repeating it. It’s impossible to forget the past, and unless you process it, your future will be guided by it.
Reflect on past harm.
Contrary to popular belief, reflecting on past harm is not living in it. Reflecting on past harm is not synonymous with “pity party.” It’s not a lack of trust in God. It’s not a sign of weakness. Reflecting on past harm, especially the emotions you felt, allows your body to process trauma that it couldn’t process in the moment. Reflecting allows the community to process communal trauma, and if done well, can unite in a uniquely powerful way.
Reflecting on experienced harm integrates your body and your brain to understanding the trauma; and then twisting it into something you can use in the present. When reflection is prevented or rejected, the harm of the original event or circumstances continue in its destructive pattern. This destructive pattern may not be immediately seen, but it will eventually show its true colors in all it’s hateful power. Reflection integrates the parts of you or the community that were fragmented, like creating a mosaic from shattered glass.
Reflect on past goodness.
Equally as powerful as reflecting on the harm, is reflection on experienced goodness. We were made for goodness. When we acknowledge the goodness in ourselves and the world around us, we get a glimpse of how beautiful and wonderful the world was made to be. I like to conceptualize it in this way – Our great big, astounding God put a tiny characteristic of himself into each of us. And also, into each piece of glorious nature. When we recognize the beauty of these characteristics in our past and present selves, and in the world around us, we glimpse the beauty of God.
So don’t just keep moving forward. Pause now and again. Look back over your shoulder from where you’ve come. Forgive, yes, but remember what you are forgiving. Cry a little bit over what was lost. God never intended you to experience harm. It is worth mourning. It’s not just water under the bridge. If water can carve out canyons, then the impact of harm and goodness on our hearts should be equally visible. Don’t leave the past in the past, or it will come back to haunt you. Allow the streams of metabolized harm and goodness to fuel your momentum into your glorious future…into our glorious future.
Photo Credit: Pixabay; https://nappy.co/pixabay
We are aware of the magnitude of this subject matter and the inadequate brevity of this post. For more, please reference our podcasts, our 1Community groups, or feel free to email us at Uniquelythesame@mission1race.org.
We also wish to address our inability to consider issues of sexual, physical, emotional, and spiritual abuse in our discussions on developing understanding and oneness. If you are in an abusive situation of any kind, we encourage you to seek professional and other help; and to realize that this content does not necessarily apply to your circumstances.