“Man is free at the moment he wishes to be” – Voltaire
Lately I have learned how to appreciate the small and simple things in life. For instance a new day, a sunset or spending time with my family has definitely become more meaningful. I know this may not sound very spectacular, but I am not simply speaking about having fun with family or looking at the horizon in awe of a beautiful scene, as nice as these things are. But what I am speaking of is the essence of both of these and what they truly represent, which for me is a deep appreciation of my life and those that choose to be in it with me and my appreciation for God’s creation, which ultimately reminds me that tomorrow is always a new day.
When I consider these new days it reminds me to be hopeful, grateful and thankful for what I have, what I have been through and what lies before me. It has taken a while for this style of living to take root in my life, especially when there are real past circumstances living in my recent memory constantly reminding me of the contrary, but something as simple as a sunset has helped to change that way of thinking. More importantly, it is my own personal growth that has allowed me to respect and understand the significance of those simple, yet dynamic things in nature, life and family.
Being a man who has always lived his life with the rear view mirror in close sight, this way of thinking is a fairly new concept for me. It kind of ties into that over thinking side of me. I use to disproportionately consider the thoughts and ideas of others when it came to my actions, especially if they were not agreeable. I spent more time wondering how others felt or thought about me than living my own life and pressing on. I equate this to living in bondage and fear. It is the fear to fail or disappoint someone else, therefore we become bound and essentially do nothing. It is a vicious cycle that can perpetuate itself over and over again for a lifetime.
So what does one do after experiencing failure, under going a major let down, suffering abuse or hurting someone else? My advice is to recognize the beautiful things that exist around us. Also known as, “don’t forget to smell the roses.” It is very easy to take for granted a sunrise or a really good friendship. Although they may happen everyday all around the globe, many of us fail to see them or appreciate the beauty that they offer, especially when we are in need them. I will confess that when I am in the center of a dark place, I can easily miss them or simply choose not to acknowledge that they exist, but nowadays I make a point to stop, breathe and enjoy what I have today.
I refuse to allow the past to dictate my future, no matter how dark my past was. I can no longer be victimized by mistakes I have made or things I have done. I choose to walk in the light of my forgiveness and the freedom I have through the choices I have made according to my faith in God.
There is so much we can learn from life when we make the decision to pause and just look around. I can complain about what I lack, what I want or even what I possibly lost, or I can reset and remind myself that I have the privilege to breathe the air today. I can remind myself that even though I may have some haters around me, there are still people who love and care about who I am as a man, despite anything and everything. And as the sun rises with each day, that love is new, and I will take joy in that, period. More importantly, I will love myself and never give up on who I am and who I am becoming.
Negative words will not penetrate a heart or mind that knows it is loved. This is why is it is so important to accept our wrong doings, own what is ours, seek forgiveness, reconcile and keep living. Not all will forgive you and some relationships will never be reconciled, but we give ourselves a fighting chance to live a life free of bondage when we do these things. The key is to never look back or be entertained with visions and negative images of your past, not even for a moment.
I have learned that making peace with our past is like laying it to rest at a funeral. During the funeral I may have painful emotions and struggle, but once I bury “the thing” I release it and declare to myself and the world that what is in front of me is all that really matters now. In that moment I must realize I cannot bring what is dead back to life, and it is time to heal and move on with life. Saying sorry will not change the circumstances, so once that is done, it must be done for real and forever.
Are you still living like a victim of your past? Do you believe you have committed the most unforgivable sin? Are there people in your life still reminding you that you are unworthy? Well it is time that you live in the present. It is time that you understand we have all failed in something, and as humans we will continue to fall short. And it is time that you drop those that fail to see your worth. It is time that you love yourself more than the outside world does.
Remember to smell the roses. Remember to connect with those that love you in spite of, and everyone once in a while take in a sunset or sunrise and know that tomorrow is truly a new day. An opportunity for us all to ponder, refresh and start anew.