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How Reconnecting with your Past can help Propel you Forward.
Looking Back, but Moving Forward
I think that most of us have had occasions where we are reunited with a person from our past. This can be at a High School Reunion, a family reunion, or just reconnecting with a friend whom you'd lost touch with for several years. For some of us, going back is not an option; we move ahead with no interest in the people of our past,
But I think more of us are a bit intrigued or curious about those people who we once knew that come back into our lives. I know that I am often quite curious about persons from my past, and with the advent of social media it's very easy to "see" what is going on with a lot of people whom you may not have seen in person for dozens of years. That is enough for many of us and many of the people who we used to know.
But, every now and then a person who was really important to you a long time ago will resurface. You always have the option to meet with them or to decline as you see fit. Sometimes it feels too scary to reconnect with a person from our past because we are afraid of remembering the person we were in connection to them.
As time passes we all are evolving into the people we want to be. Some of us are on an upward trajectory and achieving, growing and becoming more actualized. But, for others, we may be feeling stuck, or even going backward. It can really challenge our sense of ourselves in the moment to be confronted with someone from our past who is doing really well, when we are not. Or, it could be that you are the one who's moved forward and continues to grow, while the other person seems stuck or broken in their day to day lives.
Let's look at the potential for self growth and forward movement that can be achieved when we let the past inform us and are open to reconnecting with others from the past.
You Can't go back, but you can Learn from the past
I had the occasion recently to reconnect with somebody from my past and it was such an intense experience that I felt the need to deconstruct it here.
I am grateful to have had the opportunity to spend time with somebody that I had believed I would never see again. What a blessing to reconnect with a person that you once cherished after a lengthy absence of several years!
But, as lovely as it was, it was also fraught with so many challenges. I laugh now to realize that neither of us foresaw how many difficulties we would encounter day to day as we found ourselves sharing a space for a period of about ten days. We both naively thought that we'd just pick up where we had left off and it would just flow smoothly. Well, it did flow, but not all that smoothly. There were many bumps along the way, but we also got better at navigating the bumps over the time we had together. Two people living in the same State, City and even the same home are going to grow and evolve in different ways. So, when you get together with somebody who has been living in a different country, and a completely different lifestyle the differences in the two of you are going to be much more apparent. And, differences are great! How boring it would be to find that the other person had not changed at all, or that you were still exactly the same! Change and differences are both wonderful, but they also present challenges.
One challenge I discovered is that we are confronted with the person we were when we meet up with somebody from our past. I met my friend a couple of weeks ago after an absence of four years. Immediately when I saw him I was propelled back in time; it was four years ago and I remembered not only him but who I was when I was with him.
I'm still the same person essentially, but so much different also! While I've retained the core of myself and my belief's I've also adapted and changed in ways that I hadn't even realized until I saw my friend. Suddenly I am aware how much different I am now from the way I was and how I lived four long years ago. And I'm not unique! We all are evolving and changing and hopefully growing as the time passes. But, are we growing in the same direction?
It is in realizing that we are growing but in different directions that can be a bit of a painful reality check! I had known on an intellectual level of course that he and I were living much different lives, but only in spending time together did I realize just how different.
While differences are good, it can also be a serious challenge to find common ground.
It is in the revisiting of the past via a rekindled friendship that the work begins. If you are desirous of keeping in touch with the old friend from your past you have to decide if your path's are divergent enough to make it impossible, or if together you can find some common ground to move forward. In any case, when you are given the opportunity to reconnect with a friend or loved one from your past you have been given a gift of self discovery.
Let's look at how you can grow and become an even stronger and better version of yourself as you revisit your past.
Learning from the Past and growing Forward
My experience of reconnecting with my friend after our long absence was a very powerful experience. I had anticipated a visit that was fun and knew that there might be a few challenges, but I was not at all prepared for how much it would impact me personally!
Only after parting company did I come to grips with all that the visit with my friend from the past wrought in my life! I'm still sorting through all of the many emotions and feelings that are surfacing, but am feeling it is important to capture it and share my experience. I'm quite surprised at all the layers that have been peeled back and feeling alternately raw and excited for it.
When we open ourselves to this kind of exchange we are inviting a lot of energy into our lives. We can take this energy and use it to move forward in a new way, or we can let the energy overwhelm us. In honesty, I was overwhelmed and am only now coming to terms with all that was stirred up for me.
I think the challenge is to have an open heart for the person that you are reconnecting with, but to keep a strong boundary for your heart at the same time. It takes a lot of honesty with yourself to really see the other person as they are today and not get caught up in feelings of nostalgia that might keep us from being clear about the person in the moment.
For me, there was a familiar pull while at the same time I was feeling sad that there was also now such a disparity in how we each live our lives today. As a loving friend, it did not feel like it was up to me to bring my friend on board with how I live, nor was it necessary for me to return to the way we related those years ago when I was a much different person.
I found it a challenge to connect meaningfully in a way that was familiar to us, but to hold on to the essence of who I am today even though it left a distance between us. I think that it was a gift for me to be able to see this person and to learn how to navigate our day to day lives, but have the opportunity to live my truth and stay firm in it.
It was tempting to revert to the ways in which I used to behave in order to relate to him in a familiar way. I struggled with the strong pull to connect and to have fun, while at the same time being true to how I live today.
It was very rewarding to let myself be free to be completely honest about who I am and to also embrace the person he was fully, without judgment or need to ask him to change. I'd like to believe that the positive changes I've made in my life were reflected in such a way as to be inspiring to my friend. I was also given the opportunity to see him more fully as a person from this new found perspective and that was beautiful!
Unless we live a hermetic existence, the people in our lives will always be there as catalysts for our own growth. How lovely that a person from several years ago could come back into my life and again be a catalyst for my own journey of personal growth! I feel blessed that the Universe opened up this doorway for us both.
Keep Moving Forward, but let your Past Inform your Journey
I'd like to believe that my friend and I have reentered one another's lives for a reason beyond our ten days of shared time. It would be lovely to think that we've opened the door to actually spending more time together and not that it was the last time we will see one another. Being with somebody from the past reminded me of all the joy we once shared.
I've been blessed with an opportunity to really go deep and to explore my own journey via this reunion. How wonderful is life that in bringing people to us we are given the tools to work on ourselves. It has been hard work but rewarding to see that I can still open my heart to a dear friend but hold my boundaries at the same time and be true to who I am and how I live.
Should you be given the opportunity to reconnect with a friend from your past I heartily encourage you to take it! The opportunity for self discovery is huge while also enjoying time with a person that once was important to you. Just know that as you have changed, so have they and together you will likely have to relearn about each other to some extent.
Whether you and the old friend are able to move forward in friendship together remains to be seen, but I can assure you that if you are open minded you will be impacted positively!
This is an opportunity to really see how much you've grown over time, and even if you and the friend are on different path's now, you can each impact the other on your respective journey's.
I'm feeling quite grateful for the opportunity to see my dear friend and know that even as I miss them now that they've gone, I've been blessed with the opportunity to grow even more and to go forward into the unknown with a renewed sense of myself.
I wish you all a journey that takes you to your highest self!