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Life is Shaped More by Moments than by Vast Experience

  Posted by Bryan Thompson , 11 April 2012 · 144 views

Earlier this evening, my friend and fellow fiction author RJ Keller posted the following to her Facebook status (for the sake of this personal development blog, I’ll blur the more violent terms and let you substitute “rainbows” or “clouds” if you wish):
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Like you, my first instinct is to laugh. Out loud. But as I think more about it, it occurs to me that there are years that go by in our lives – some good, some bad, many boring – that seem to take up space. And then, there are moments that really shape us, aren’t there?
Bad Childhoods to Tragic Events

Some of you reading this have experienced real pain in your life. More than others of us will ever know. Maybe you’ve endured a horrendous breakup or lost a loved one in death. Maybe you were seriously wounded in an accident or experienced a disease or sickness that rocked you to your very core.
Some of these may seem more intense than others, but the one thing they have in common is that they’re life-changing. These are random moments that shape who you are as a human being. Prior to experiencing these events, you might have been trusting of others, but once the event transpired, you found yourself closed-off to other people, or your trust in people was only surface-level.
Yes, good moments happen, too – that big promotion, the wedding, the birth of a child – these happen to us all the time. And yet, we often are so much more drawn to the memories of a bad memory. At least most of us (myself included) are.
How Do We Let Moments Shape Us?

I’ve mentioned several life-changing moments on this blog, from being humiliated as a prepubescent seventh-grader to losing my job to changing my perspective from a rock.
I won’t go back into them here, but those are three moments that weren’t just part of ordinary experiences. They were life-changing moments. Two of them were very painful, and I came to realize they not only were difficult then, they prove difficult now. The lessons that came from them may not have always been needed (I’m sure I would have remained a good person if they had never happened.) But they shaped my life.
Not even in the best way.
For years, I remained skeptical of people and only allowed myself to get close to a certain place. Then, I’d wall myself off from them and pretend I was okay not having close friends.
This is often the problem: we allow those negative moments to create walls in our lives. Walls keep people out. Maybe we were cheated out of trust that we should have had for our society. But the one choice we do have is how we live our moments now.
In our last post in this series, we learned that we have the choice to remain stuck in our pasts (good or bad) or we can live right now in this moment.
And in that same spirit, we have the choice to let life-changing moments be teaching tools for our future and to give us a story OR to be a hindrance to our relationships.
I’ve had some of the same thoughts about people that RJ Keller had in her humorous status update. And I’m sure she’s not really interested in hurting anyone from her past. But how true these moments often are for us.
What About You?

Have you let certain moments in your past define you? Have you allowed those experiences to rob your current and future relationships? Have you shifted your perspective because of a life-changing moment in a positive way? Share your experiences below in the comment section!

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