Taking It Back

Think Piece Written By Christian J. Ashliman

Have you ever thought about your past mistakes or failures, and wished you could scrub them out of your history? Just completely erase them from the timeline you have created for yourself? The human condition feels like it promotes this inclination to repress these awful moments we have all found ourselves in, for better or for ill; and it’s absolutely understandable. How fun is it to dwell in the midst of murky, negative provoking splices of our lives? Times when we have felt so rotten, and experienced such intense emotional or physical pain. What do we stand to gain from bathing in these episodic replays of the depressed, crestfallen events of our lives?

Somewhere along the string, we are stopped by these little remembrances, and prompted to turn something positive out of an entirely damning recall of prior failures, or bad choices. As is the human condition to try and avoid these replays, it is also in that of learning from former errors. Intaking the good, paired with bad, and choosing to advance from any given situation better than before. This idea casts a new light on what it means to experience hardship, however dreadful it might be.

So instead of shoving these poor life experiences and thoughts down into a black hole of repression, where their only purpose is to resurface with dissenting, gloomy emotions, instead maybe the question that should be asked is, “Who would I be without adversity and hardship?” Asking this question with a different perspective, allows us a new level of understanding, where the negative events of our lives, those moments that weren’t our proudest, instead become swathing brush strokes in a masterpiece that is life. Something that adds character, personality, and ultimately, teaches us how to move forward as a new, and improved version of ourselves. It may not be an easy task by any means, but deciding to be thankful for these challenges that seemingly block our way for no good reason at times, can help you pull more out of past mistakes and pitfalls.

I never got to meet my grandpa; he died after fighting a long battle with cancer before I was even born. That being said, I have heard much about him, and through family, have learned about many different ideologies and personality quirks that he had, which in turn has painted an extremely positive, and wise, picture of him in my eyes. I have always been told that towards the end of his life, he said something that I will never forget. He would never have taken back the cancer, never wished it hadn’t come to him; he understood that this prolonged clash molded and formed him into the person he was up to that point; and he loved that person. I don’t believe this perspective comes easily, and in darker times, it can seem almost impossible to follow this vein of thinking. It takes a choice, to twist the way you perceive an event, and analyze it from a different angle; but with some practice, a little bit of ambition, and a lot of honesty with yourself, this skill can direct some light into the shadowy nooks of your life.

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