If we’re honest with ourselves, we should be able to admit that we have a “past” that precedes us; the “past” being the place where we lived as individuals before we got hitched…the place that had a profound impact on shaping every aspect of the women that we’ve blossomed into today.
It is in this place where we first experienced the magic of life and all of the splendor and beauty thereof…where we learned our first lessons about living, loving, losing, caring, sharing, trusting, believing, and simply being…where we began to understand how we must fit into the mold of what it means to be a good and dutiful woman and wife simply because that’s what we’re expected to be.
Although the past holds a different meaning for each of us, there’s an undeniable unifying power in what the past represents because as women, we’ve all experienced similar issues that are unique to us—especially when it comes to the people whom we allow into our lives, how we love the way we do, and, perhaps most importantly, why we love the way we do. We’ve all experienced personal triumphs in life, as well as experienced agonizing defeats, overcome unsurmountable odds, achieved the seemingly impossible, loved hard, had our hearts shattered in the process of loving, made good decisions, made bad decisions, and the list of shared experiences can go on into infinity.
The point here is that our respective pasts, which we understand to be the sum of our life experiences—regardless of how good, bad, or indifferent—shaped the women that we’ve become. Even though we’d like to think that we’ve got it altogether, and that our past is just that, the past, the reality is that the past impacts our future whether we want to acknowledge all the ways in which our previous decisions contributed to how our lives have unfolded up until this present moment or not.
Despite the circumstances surrounding the decision-making process that helped mold who we are today, the reality is that we all hold onto the toxic by-products that result from that decision-making process, and those by-products are like shape-shifters because they almost always assume the form of whatever looks, feels, sounds, and seems “normal” in an effort to coerce us into thinking and believing that something, someone, or certain conditions, situations, or circumstances are indeed real and tangible when what we’re witnessing is merely an illusion; or rather, something that isn’t real but seems real enough to manipulate us into constantly thinking about, meditating on, believing in, worrying about, alienating ourselves, and eventually compromising our integrity based on faulty information.
This, my Sisters-in-Matrimony, is where we begin to pack our bags and carry them into every situation and relationship that we encounter; even into our marriages. We remain in packrat-mode in an effort to mask our vulnerabilities, our insecurities, and everything else we believe will expose our weaknesses just so that we can save-face. It is at this point where we begin to replay the soundtrack of our lives, which causes us to operate from a place of insecurity as opposed to from a place of strength, power, and wisdom all because we, in our best attempt at winning, make deficit-based decisions rooted in honoring what others will think and/or perceive of us as opposed to honoring our authentic truths about ourselves, which are hidden and cluttered by all of the toxic by-products of past decisions that we continue to pack away. It’s a vicious cycle that usually manifests itself when we try our hardest to hold onto those things that are the most important to us when it feels as if we’re at risk for losing them to something or someone that falls beyond the scope of our control.
Perhaps the funniest thing about the baggage that we accumulate is that we always try to find ways to ensure that stays neatly tucked away, hidden from anyone’s sight because the danger of full exposure means that we’ll likely be perceived as a weak, vulnerable women. Even as we cram more stuff in our bags until the stress and tension causes the zipper to pop and ooze all the toxic by-products of our past decisions into our present situations, we remain guarded over our pasts because we often fail to connect how our past experiences impact how we think, act, respond, love, and feel the way we do today.
This is why it’s critically important for us to learn understand how the act of forgiveness can free us from bondage on so many different levels so that we can be free to live in and appreciate the present of each moment that we’ve been given to live in love…not allow ourselves to die a slow and miserable death because our bags have become too obese for us to carry. The beauty in this principle is that it remains the same for everyone…even for our husbands.
So how does all this talk about the past decision-making, baggage, and vulnerability better-position me to keep my past from sabotaging my present while keeping my sanity in-tact? Here, my “Sisters-in-Matrimony,” is where we have to do the work of self-examination so that we can be clear about how our pasts can impact every aspect of our present state of matrimonial bliss from how we are able to connect with and relate to our husbands and how we go about fulfilling our wifely duties. What decisions have you make in your past that are impacting how you operate as a woman and a wife in marriage and in life?
Although this is a rather loaded question, your freedom to walk in your authenticity as a woman and as a wife will only happen when you free yourself from the hurt, shame, disappointment, fear, anxiety, or whatever emotion bubbles-up in the core of your soul when you think of how your past decisions ushered you into the present state of your life. This liberation will come when you realize that your past does not define you. You might not realize how your past affects every waking moment of your life, but you owe it to yourself to make an honest attempt to understand why and how your present behavior is subconsciously driven by your past.
Maybe your past affects you the way it does because as your memories of your past experiences and traumas are triggered by stress in whatever form it appears—as issues with trust resulting from many broken relationships and familial ties with those whose duty it was to shield and protect you to being rejected by those whom you wanted but didn’t desire you in the same was to being abandoned by your father or your mother and growing up to believe that you were never worthy enough just as you are to suffering from various forms of abuse—whether physical, mental, emotional, psychological, or financial—that makes it hard for your to trust that anyone will protect you, take care of and provide for all your needs, to whatever else that causes you to cast doubt on your ability to live in the present without being weighed down by the baggage of your past.
My Sisters, the reality is that we’re now joined with our husbands; from the moment that we took our vows on our wedding day until the day that death causes us to part. You will never be able to be fully present in your future, your marriage, and in your life if you’re merely moving through your present shackled to the ghosts of the decisions of your past. Be free…get clear…and keep your sanity through the process.