This post started as one thing and ended as another. So I really have no idea of the title. C’est la vie (That’s life)
As hard as this may be for some of you to read; I do not have a perfectly running household. Our well oiled machine is often a quart low. I want to make that clear because I often hear what people imagine, “You must have a wonderful marriage and family.” I follow the logic. I mean, you would think a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) would have … The problem is that means a plumber never has a leak at home.
After 21years of marriage and three children aged 20, 17 and 14; I have battle scars. That’s good. The scars are a reminder of a past I endured, a testament to the strength of my marriage and family. When I assessed a marriage or family I wait to hear about the scars. I never ask.
How you view your scars tells me a great deal about you. Details of your scars are not important for what I am interested in, I want to see what you make of them. Do you hide them? Are they a reminder of triumph or failure? The answers to these questions are far more important.
As a therapist, I measure things like resiliently, perseverance, faith, integrity, and yes, honor. These are the internal things that tell me WHO I am talking too. See, the details are not important to me because I am not your judge, I am a therapist. I am less concerned with what you did and more concerned with what you are doing. Did you catch that? One is past tense and the other is present.
Doing is called changing. A smart (handsome) guy said if you’re not changing, you’re not moving forward. Forward is the optimum word here.
I could go over all my scars, good and bad. Reliving the glory days or replaying the mistakes. Everyone has both and they’re all good … IF. If seems to be one of those words that brings doubt to the conversation.
If you ever hear yourself saying, “If only,” stop after the only because nothing useful will follow. The past is not the present or future. Thank you Captain Obvious. There is only one way the past can haunt you and that is by inviting it into the present. The past has some useful things; ghosts are not one of them.
So when I am assessing scars, I do not care about details. I want to know are you haunted by ghosts, recreating the past, or are you moving forward. Here is another fun fact, forward movement is called progress.
Why have I used 600 words to tell you this? Your scars are a part of you, don’t hide from them. If you did badly, DO good. If you did good, DO better. The optimum word here is DO. As in, keep moving forward.
Some will not let you forget your past despite your effort to improve, they are judging you. People do this for a number of reasons; check out my other post Here Comes the Judge. If you are the one judging yourself on past behavior, STOP. You are flirting with ghosts that can do nothing for you.
Quick review: What do you think of your scars? What part do they play in your life? Are you living in the past or present? The answer to that question will determine the next. Are you moving forward?