It happened to me just the other day. I was recalling a time when I made some terrible choices. Then my mind told me to stop. To pretend that it didn’t happen. But I told my mind off! “Don’t deny experiences,” I yelled at myself.
Don’t Deny Experiences
I reminded myself that those choices, those times, that pain, the guilt and feelings of betrayal and the sense of loss – all of these feelings and experiences are precious. They taught me more about life. These experiences made me examine my choices, my motives and my values. They taught me more about myself. I became a more authentic version of myself.
These experiences made me more compassionate with myself and more understanding of others. They also helped me to become stronger – stand up for myself and move away from toxic environments and people.
In Terry Hershey’s book, Sanctuary: Creating a Space for Grace in Your Life, he tells a story of going to Atlanta for a meeting of Spiritual Directors International. Having some spare time, he goes to get a haircut. He engages in small talk with Sharon, the hairdresser. It progresses a little further, and he talks about his father, who survived cancer. She tells him that, like his father, she also is a cancer survivor.
Hershey says he told her “I’m sorry.” He asked, “‘When did you learn about the cancer, and what kind of treatment did you go through?’ ‘I had the whole nine yards.’ She laughs. ‘Surgery. And then more surgery and then chemo.’ We are quiet, except for the sound of scissors. ‘It’s the best thing that ever happened to me,’ she adds… “‘It has made me softer,’ she tells me. ‘And now, I love different.’”
He concludes, “After the conference someone asked me, ‘What did you do there?’ Well, I got a haircut. And I felt my heart soften just a little.”
Looking back on these hard times, I realize how they softened me and moulded me. Despite how difficult the memories are, I choose not to deny my experiences.
“To regret one’s own experiences is to arrest one’s own development. To deny one’s own experiences is to put a lie into the lips of one’s own life. It is no less than a denial of the soul.” ― Oscar Wilde, De Profundis
Linking in to Kate Motaung’s #FiveMinuteFriday