I used to dislike squirrels and be quite afraid of them. One day, my cousin reminded me that when we were little girls, a squirrel bit me. I then understood my feelings…but that didn’t change how I felt about squirrels; I still professed to dislike them, cringed when I talked about them, and told others the reason for my feelings. “My story” about squirrels became one of drama and past trauma. I’m not sure how interesting it was, but I liked to tell it.
One day, I realized what a foolish thing this was and decided to change. Why dislike a being who is such a part of my world and landscape? Why have a trauma story that doesn’t in any way serve me? Why “get a kick” out of having a phobia and shiver when someone mentioned squirrels, just to get attention? Suddenly, it seemed really dumb and so I changed it/me. I began to say that I liked squirrels and I began to like them….just like that.
There is so much talk about trying to understand our negative pasts so we can get free of them, but I don’t believe that this is necessary…..or even true. Sometimes finding out why we react the way that we do just makes our present, restricted, situation even more “legitimate”. If I want to “argue for my limitations” I can do that and I can hold onto my trauma stories and keep myself from changing and growing. If I truly want to be free of the negative past (or my conception of a negative past) then I can be, and I will open myself up to new ways of seeing, feeling and experiencing the world…and I will welcome all Life into my life.