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One cannot and must not try to erase the past merely because it does not fit the present. —Golda Meir
David Ben-Gurion called her “the toughest man in government.” She was also known as the “Iron Lady of Israel.” Golda Meir came to Israel as a deeply committed Zionist, and lived there during the War of Independence, the 1972 Munich massacre at the Olympics, as well as the Yom Kippur War. Her personal life had its challenges, but she was a fighter.
In this quote, Meir reminds us that it’s tempting to try to forget about our past for many different reasons: we may have never reached some goals; we may have failed to be successful; we may have found ourselves alone; we may have been beaten down by the people in our lives. As a result of all these disappointments, we either dwell on our disenchantments with life, try to make believe they didn’t happen, or blame others for our current situation. If we don’t have this perspective, we may have others in our lives who do. Often these situations are used as an excuse to avoid relationships or taking risks, for fear of being disappointed even more.
None of those strategies are helpful or life affirming.
Instead, we have to arm ourselves with courage. We have to refuse to reject our past and see what it can teach us. If we make the same mistakes over and over again, why might that be happening? Is it fate, or might we be choosing people who are not loving or honorable? Why would we make those choices? Why would we make choices that hurt us and hold us back?
When we reflect on our past courageously and honestly, we can make powerful discoveries about ourselves. Rather than beat ourselves up about our choices, or mourn the losses we experienced, we can learn from them. Those memories are our teachers, reminding us that in going forward we are empowered to choose differently. And as we move forward, we may periodically stumble on our path, but rather than give up on our progress, we can remind ourselves that making out-of-the-ordinary choices can be difficult. If nothing else, we must be kind to ourselves as we follow the path of growth and transformation.
So don’t try to erase the past, but look at it honestly and sincerely. Learn what you might do differently.
Be alive and thrive in your life and into your future.Published in