Quote of the Day: The Disappointing Past

 

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 Group Writing
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 6 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    That is such a great quote. Nearly everyone grows from an egocentric infant into a mature adult. Along the way we experience personal failings — morally questionable decisions, cowardice, hubris — until we become fully realized (if ever). If we bury the more shameful aspects of our personal history, if we deny that they occurred, then we are poorly armed to act with moral clarity, courage, loyalty, and responsibility.

    • #1
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Rodin (View Comment):

    That is such a great quote. Nearly everyone grows from an egocentric infant into a mature adult. Along the way we experience personal failings — morally questionable decisions, cowardice, hubris — until we become fully realized (if ever). If we bury the more shameful aspects of our personal history, if deny that they occurred, we are poorly armed to act with moral clarity, courage, loyalty, and responsibility.

    Thank you. After I posted, I realized that this quote was for me, too. I had a strained relationship with my mother most of my life, although I loved the fact that we reconciled on my initiative. I still have little contact with my brother and none with my sister. I contributed to some of the difficulties over the years. And I finally “owned” that fact. Rather than dwelling on what I did wrong, I decided to focus on how I could live my life differently. So now I focus on being a good and loving wife, a good friend, a good teacher, and even on Ricochet, a good writer and commenter. This focus has completely changed my life and is the source of much of my peace and happiness.

    • #2
  3. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    It occurs to me that “erasing the past” is a bad habit of the Left,  when we talk about socialism and Communism. Not only do they think they’ll be able to “do it better,” but they conveniently ignore the millions of people who died under Stalin and Mao. That’s a reprehensible kind of erasing. 

    • #3
  4. Columbo Member
    Columbo
    @Columbo

    Golda Meir reminds me of another Iron Lady ….

    • #4
  5. Columbo Member
    Columbo
    @Columbo

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Rodin (View Comment):

    That is such a great quote. Nearly everyone grows from an egocentric infant into a mature adult. Along the way we experience personal failings — morally questionable decisions, cowardice, hubris — until we become fully realized (if ever). If we bury the more shameful aspects of our personal history, if deny that they occurred, we are poorly armed to act with moral clarity, courage, loyalty, and responsibility.

    Thank you. After I posted, I realized that this quote was for me, too. I had a strained relationship with my mother most of my life, although I loved the fact that we reconciled on my initiative. I still have little contact with my brother and none with my sister. I contributed to some of the difficulties over the years. And I finally “owned” that fact. Rather than dwelling on what I did wrong, I decided to focus on how I could live my life differently. So now I focus on being a good and loving wife, a good friend, a good teacher, and even on Ricochet, a good writer and commenter. This focus has completely changed my life and is the source of much of my peace and happiness.

    Success, my lady! You have run the good race, fought the good fight, competed well … [link]

    • #5
  6. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Columbo (View Comment):
    Success, my lady! You have run the good race, fought the good fight, competed well … [link]

    Thanks so much, Columbo. Much appreciated.

    • #6
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.