COLUMN: Everyone has a past, part II

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By John Lapp

Well, I hope you read last week’s column. If not, let me briefly explain: we all have pasts, pasts that have perhaps helped us and incidences from those pasts that have hindered us in our adult years. Those instances may continue to have negative effects on our lives unless we learn how to begin “shedding” those things, which we may have struggled with in the years before emerging into adulthood.
Today’s column, I hope, will help you to learn how to begin the “shedding” process, and become a full-fledged, healthier adult. However, you may still have the many memories of some of those areas that had a negative affect on you.
To begin with, I presented some aspects of my own years growing up in my relatively healthy family with three brothers — one is three years my senior and two are younger by four and nine years, respectively.
Some of my recovery from not being totally appreciated or recognized relative to good accomplishments in some areas were personally compensated for by feeling proud of myself, not arrogantly proud, but satisfied, that I was doing OK.
One of these was by becoming one of the best trumpet players in my high school band, both concert band and performing during half-time at high school football games. My trumpet teacher, a man of 30-40 years experience told me, and also told my parents, that I had one of the finest “tones” he had ever heard in all his many years of instructing dozens of students.
That prompted me to perform in solo work at school and at my church. Interestingly enough, although my parents always knew when I was going to be playing in front of my whole school, never once did they attend to support my efforts, and on many occasions I did solo work at our church, and while receiving appreciation for those efforts, not one occasion was followed with anything from either of my parents.
But others, including my grandmother, were instrumental in my success. My grandmother purchased my first new trumpet; the others were rented from a studio.
As I stated in last week’s column, while I guess I was disappointed by my parent’s lack of recognition, much of what took place later presented me with what some of you may need to hear. Neither of my parents were raised in homes where they heard any words of appreciation for accomplishments, but they knew they were loved.
As I stated in last week’s column, feeling loved is often more important than just knowing you are loved. But, it must have been difficult for either of them to be able to actually express words that they may had really felt. It helps to be able to forgive others for what may have been a gross oversight.
That same thing has happened with many of my clients over the years in their own backgrounds. I have heard and experienced tearful expressions of pain even decades after these people have emerged into their adult years, still feeling the pains of rejection, non-acceptance, overt and unfair comparisons to others, including siblings, cousins, children of some of the friends of these parents. The only things being told to them came from the parents of these other children.
Another personal example was when I excelled in the sport of bowling. I competed in three leagues per week for several years and went on to compete in tournaments that were written up in the local newspapers, yet still no word of appreciation or recognition. One of the leagues was a large, inter-church league where our team won the league championship, my father later stated we won “much to the fact that we had John on our team, who had one of the highest averages in the whole league.” Yet pathetically not one word was said to me personally. A disappointment? Yes. Did I hold a grudge or get angry about it? I don’t think so, because I loved bowling so much that I gained my own satisfaction from these as well as the previously presented trumpet playing skills.
I have spent an enormous amount of energy and time with many of my clients to emerge finally as fully competent adults without being “beat up” with the painful memories of what could have been or what should have been.
Come on folks, let it go and get on with life and what you can still make of it. Many of these clients have felt a tremendous relief from this load of pain and pressure, having tried to prove themselves as being worthy of those things which never took place in their lives. Now, they are able to forgive, while maybe not being able to fully forget those situations.
Why not just look at who you are and how far you have come as an adult, not on what should have been and holding longterm grudges? That type of painful long-term “blame-game” will get you nowhere, and will still expend a lot of energy that you cannot afford to waste without it hurting you in the long run.
Your past and my past is, in fact, just that — the past. Learn from it, and move on to better things and a better life. You deserve to fully emerge. Let it happen. For more information, call 477-2818. May God bless you and reward you for your efforts.