of what was and will be is a crucial, but often overlooked, action when you are trying to come to terms with a life that has been tumultuous. I found that the hang up I had with accepting what is was the fact that culturally, I was programed to believe that acceptance was synonymous with giving up. Giving up made me a quitter and lazy because I just wasn’t trying hard enough. If I wasn’t trying hard enough than I was a failure at being a productive member of society. None of which is actually true.
Acceptance allows you to move on and stop allowing fears concerning our past to dictate our future. It is not giving up. I found that by accepting what was in my past and leaving it there, I was free to move on with my life. It also gave me the chance to focus on other aspects in my life that I really hadn’t had the chance to scrutinize. Seeing the same issue from a different angle or seeing it with fresh eyes (as my grandpa would say).
For instance, one of the points of contention with my parents was being homeschooled. I thought it had been unfair and mean and that had primarily been my focus. Here is the side that was hidden due to my pity party. My parents had the foresight to choose an accredited school, it was an actual school, with an actual campus that I could have attended but they chose the satellite program. I had to take an entrance exam, which ranked right up there with the ones you take for university and my curriculum was based on my test scores.
I tested out of English and Literature and therefore didn’t have to take them unless I wanted to (and I did) so I was allowed to choose any class I wanted. I also tested out of history, and biology and opted not to take more classes. I did however test incredibly low on my math…never has been my strong suit, and after more testing in that area I ended up taking 4 levels of math (to catch up) and the schools mandatory Bible class. The four levels of math and mandatory Bible class simply fueled my ire towards the whole ordeal.
Here is what I neglected to realize at the time but have since come to terms with and even embraced. Outside of one school system that I attended for 6 years of my life, I had hated all the public schools that I had attended and the one I did like was very much like the homeschool situation. You didn’t just learn by memorization so you could regurgitate it back on exams, they actually taught you to think and apply. This, I later found to be helpful when I attended university. I am also certain that it helped when dealing with the bipolar aftermath and retraining the brain or at least old and very unhelpful negative thought pattern cycles.
I also ended up loving the mandatory Bible class. Always a big fan of ancient history. The bible class actually was along that vein; I could now apply historical context to childhood bible stories. The school also had a mandatory Bible they wanted you to use for the class; a Ryrie Study Bible and I have to admit I loved that thing. I still have it and it is falling apart. Here is why I love it. Half of each page is scripture and half is notes, glorious notes. Ancient Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic translations that proved the King James version a sad little accident that has caused lots of problems. It also quoted other Holy Books and Traditions as a comparative in similarities not differences and started me on a mythical and mystical search that lasted decades.
I can not change my childhood. Since I can’t change it my only viable option is to accept it. What purpose is being fulfilled by hanging onto past wounds? There isn’t any purpose. It was actually preventing me from seeing the positive aspects of the situation (and yes there is always a positive to each negative and a negative to each positive…the point is balance…find the balance).
I realized that I could take any hurtful incident from my life and apply questions to help me process it. How did this event help me? Why did this event happen? What did this event teach me? Where do I still need work regarding this event? When did I notice a pattern(s)? By accepting that an event hurt me or caused a wound my focus changes and I am free to heal and learn rather than be stuck endlessly replaying the wound.
Photo: Silhouette. Rajasthan, India; Nikon DSLR 5300 by Pamela