It’s been many years since I was in high school, and back then, there was no social media other than hand-painted banners for the school dance, next football game, bake sale, etc. I didn’t know one kid who had their own phone, and most families had only one of them and only one TV or radio. In my house, using the phone was a privilege, closely monitored by my parents. They deliberately kept the phone cord short (to those of you not familiar with the telephone technology of that time, phones used to have an actual cord) so that I couldn’t slip into a closet and talk. In that time, gossip flowed like forbidden wine and reputations were made or destroyed by mouth.
Years later, if you stayed in the same town you grew up in, you might be called and thought of permanently as “Pee Pants” for the one time you had an accident in gym class, or “Cry Baby” for the time someone beaned you in the nose with a basketball. An embarrassing, horrible moment in your life was out there in the high school world, and took on a life of its own, causing you shame and pain over and over again. Each casual joke or comment could turn your outlook into mud in a second. Everything hurt, and if you were like me, you pushed all that hurt way down were it festered and grew more fearsome.
The person you were then; scared, unsure of yourself, constantly trying on different personas each day so that you wouldn’t feel so “you,” is not who you are today. Everyone, no matter how they appeared to us at the time, was scared and unsure. That is part of being young and growing into the person you are becoming.
Today you are not that scared kid trying to fit in. Holding on to those old fears and re-living those hurts and slights do not hurt those who inflicted them on you in the least. But they do hurt YOU. Allow yourself to let them go–let them ALL go. I realize that so many people have had terrible things happen to them, things that have scarred them for life. These things are hard to let go, but you must let them go in order to survive and be the person you were born to be. Easy to say, I know. Trust me, it’s taken me decades to let my own grip go, and I still have flare-ups from time to time.
I’ll pass on some of the tips I’ve used to leave my old hurts behind me. They may sound wacky, but they do work:
THE FLUSH-O-GRAM: Whoever hurt you, did you wrong and so on, is probably living their life with no memory or realization of the devastation they caused you. Get yourself a few sheets of toilet paper, fold them to make a small thickness, then write that person’s name on it. Throw it straight into the toilet and flush. (If you feel the need, relieve yourself on it before flushing.) By the time you push the handle down, you may already be laughing. Any time you feel anger or resentment of that person coming back, remember the time you “flushed” them.
THE BURN NOTICE: Same as the flush-o-gram, only use regular paper and toss it into a fire. (Please observe standard fire safety when you do this.)
THE UNIVERSAL MESSAGE: You can do this anywhere, including your car. (I have banished many bad memories this way myself.) Address the person or situation that bothers you and tell them exactly what they did and how it hurt you. Say this at least three times. I know this sounds “woo-woo,” but the message you send will be heard and felt at some level by the person to whom it is addressed. Even if it makes no difference to them, YOU have said it, and having said it frees you of it.
Once you have done this, you are on the way to healing yourself and pulling out that nasty weed that has been taking over your mind, heart and soul. Any time you feel that sneaky weed creeping back to re-root itself, repeat the process. You can also seal that process by a simple daily affirmation such as: “The past is past. I forgive and more on.” Forgiving doesn’t mean you accept or condone what happened; you are forgiving to help yourself.
Don’t let that old incident keep hurting you; you don’t deserve it. Each time you reinforce the forgiveness, you grow stronger, more loving, more kind and more able to accept yourself as the amazing and unique person you are. There is no one like you in the world, and you are here for a reason. You are important, and you are loved. You may never know this, but believe me, whatever you look like, whatever it is you do, whatever you say; someone is looking at you with admiration, thinking, ‘wow–I wish I looked like her/him, I wish I could say something clever like she/he did, I wish I could do what she/he is doing.’
You are not defined by uninformed ignorant things that were said to you or about you. High school is over, and your real life is now. Let go of anything unpleasant in the past, it’s not who you are. Learn all you can from the past and let go of all the crap, prepare the best you can for the future, and live in the NOW.