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Looking Back

Remember the story of Lot’s wife? She was being taken, along with her family, away from her town of Sodom, which was about to be destroyed. They were told not to look back, but Lot’s wife did look back at the burning city and was turned into a pillar of salt.

If I mention something about my childhood, particularly about my experiences at school, someone is likely to say, “That was a long time ago. Now you have a family, friends, life is good. Best to move on.”

But that’s precisely what I did for a long time. As soon as I left school, I put it all behind me and didn’t look back. The result of that was that I had nothing to say. When others talked about their childhoods, I kept quiet. If specifically asked, I’d mumble something short and feel left out.

Now, I think that was the wrong thing to do. Our past is a part of us. If we block it out, we lose part of our personalities, of ourselves. So now I try to talk about it. I try not to listen to the voice that says, “They don’t want to know. They think you’re dwelling on the past. They think you should move on.”

Guess what? I haven’t turned into a pillar of salt. I’ve become a bit more of a real person. Talking is hard, but it’s also rewarding. And there’s always the hope that by talking I can help others, because I believe that the things that happened to me didn’t need to happen and don’t need to happen to anyone.

What do you think? Is looking back good or bad?

By Miriam Drori

Author, editor, attempter of this thing called life.

10 replies on “Looking Back”

I think it’s what makes us human, the ability to reflect. But I’d say it’s healthy to do it in measured amounts. I’m nostalgic, but I make an effort to live in the present. Not many people can just ‘be’ in the present. It takes time. I’m not great at it, but I remind myself to enjoy as many simple moments as I can.

Too much looking back is bad when it crosses with self-analysis. Be aware of the ingredients that make you, but don’t try and delve in and analyse yourself, you’ll never be objective, your experience will colour it, you might make mistakes, give yourself complexes that are not there.

These are just my thoughts of course, I’m not an expert. I do think everyone can benefit by even just 2 minutes a day of consciously being in the present. Looking back helps us to learn too, but maybe we do that without having to try? Interesting question, Miriam.

Hi Miriam, this is an interesting posting. I agree with what you’ve said. I think it’s good to look back, rather than try to block things out and not think or speak about them. Sometimes looking back and facing what happened can help us come to terms so that we can then move on. Of course, too much looking back has its dangers, such as getting ‘stuck’ in the past and reliving painful memories in an unconstructive way. I suppose, like most things, it’s getting the right balance. There’s a time to look back, a time to live in the present, and a time to move on.

What do I think?? I’m not sure. Take a look at this tell-all blog I wrote: http://judeanrose.blogspot.com/2009/11/nu-testament.html
Ever since I wrote this and shared it in full view of the public eye, I have been feeling tremendous angst. Those who didn’t know the story before–has it changed their view of me and now perhaps they think my mental health is on the edge? Yikes.

On the other hand, I just read a wonderful book called Sleeping Arrangements by Laura Shaine Cunningham that made me realize that it may be possible that every childhood has a dark side. Reading the experiences of this author made me realize that I am most likely, perfectly normal!

I want to look forward and back in equal measure. Maybe this is why we have two eyes?
I’m being silly, but some people get stuck looking back. Some people, like you experience, lose something by not looking back.

People might change their view of you if they certain things, but that assumes you can control what people think of you anyway. You can to some extent, but people will draw conclusions based on what they see right now and that may or may not be what you want.

From what I see you’re smart, thoughtful, and interesting. Nothing you say about your past would change that. Those things would simply add layers. Layers are good. Otherwise you’re as thin as paper.

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