Looking back and thinking forward

by tamarjacobson

Quote of the day:

Nostalgia is a sentimental remembrance of things that never happened. F. Scott Fitzgerald from Ageless Marketing

Some of my family members have had the hardest time with me as I reflect on my past. They want me to get the facts straight. They want me to see it the way they did. It is difficult to see things the same way. I would venture to say that it is probably impossible.

I remember helping my son when as a little boy, he wanted me to play with him with his Lego. But I wanted to facilitate his play because that is what I had learned in early childhood classes when I was young. And so, I would sit by him cross-legged on the floor and help him find Lego pieces for his creative constructions. He would tell me which piece to look for and then I would search among the hundreds of small bricks strewn on the carpet. I would take my time, hoping he would find them himself, thereby behaving as a facilitator rather than an active participant. Years later one evening, when he was in his twenties, my son accompanied me to an early childhood undergraduate class I was teaching. I told my tale about facilitating children’s play and used our Lego-playing memory as an example. He raised his hand from the back of the room and said, "And I always thought you were so slow." Needless to say, everyone exploded in laughter.

Same situation – completely different interpretations.

Life experiences are filtered through so many different lenses: genes, placement in the family, parent’s ages and changing dynamics, perceptions, and interactions, physical environments, personalities, feelings, thoughts, and so much more. We really never know what the other is thinking or feeling. Some of my biggest mistakes over the years have been through assumptions – interpreting what I thought others were thinking and feeling about me. Looking back I have realized that I filtered my life experiences through feeling that I was a bad person who destroyed others by my actions and statements. It has taken almost nineteen years to understand that this aging brain simply needs a new filter. Our emotional memories are developed through repetitive experiences that over and over again confirm what we learn. These past years of maturation I have had repetitive healing experiences that have counteracted those earliest emotional memories developed in childhood, and alerted me that the time is long overdue for a change of filter.

My actions and statements are not destructive. They are unique self-expression. They are my life force that is translated through me into action.

Which is not to say that things I have said and done have not hurt people. Naturally they have. Just as things people have done and said have hurt me. Especially as I sifted them through my old filter of understanding – or mis-understanding. Indeed, communication and relationships are fraught with mis-understandings as we go back and forth filtering our experiences through old, traumatic, patterned, lenses. Someone is always going to be hurt and it is no ones fault.

Thinking forward, I realize that what I need for the future is a good, strong, courageous ear for listening to other people’s interpretations and stories, a great big box of tissues for the tears, bunches of patience, loads of compassion, and a bright, glowing, brand new filter to sift my self-vision to a different understanding.