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Breaking Free of the Past
By Skye Thomas
Everyone makes a mistake at some point in their life. Most of us make the majority of our mistakes when we are young. Teenagers and twenty-somethings are especially prone to make some whoppers! After we make those big mistakes, we naturally want to fix the problems and get on to better things. Nobody likes to sit in mistakes they made during their youth for the rest of their lives. Some mistakes do follow us forever, but that does not change the fact that we still want to move onwards and upwards towards better days.
If you have ever made really big mistakes and lived a dysfunctional or otherwise bad lifestyle for awhile, then you know how hard it is to get the people around you to accept that you have changed and you are no longer making those bad choices or embracing the negative philosophies. One of the most difficult and painful aspects of pulling yourself together is finding out that your friends and family do not believe you that you have changed. Yes, it is important for you to change for yourself and not for others, so you push yourself despite the lack of emotional support, but it still hurts. And, I am not talking about wanting to be seen as new and different when you haven't done the work needed to really change your life. I'm talking about after having made the changes to improve your life, and people still see you as the old destructive person that you used to be.
One of the biggest reasons that people fail at making permanent positive changes is not a lack of effort or a lack of support. Most of our people say that they support us in our decisions to improve ourselves. It is the lack of belief that we have actually accomplished the changes. After we work and work to create a new reality for ourselves our families and our peers still treat us like we are that other version of ourselves that made all of the mistakes and embraced all of those self-destructive choices. It's as if we are never really able to get those who knew us when we were bad to really forgive and forget on the deepest level needed. A piece of them always sees that ugly piece of us even if we have grown, matured, and become so much better than we used to be.
Last year, a singer by the name of Fantasia Barrino won the hearts of Americans on the hit television show, American Idol. She has a beautiful gift of song and entertainment to offer the world. She is unique, passionate, and powerfully authentic in a world of cookie-cutter pop stars that all sound the same on the radio. Fantasia is a single mother. She never hid from us the fact that she fell in love with a preacher's boy and they had a child out of wedlock. She also did not hide from us that he had physically abused her and that is why she left him.
Part of what made her so impressive is that instead of sitting home on welfare whining and crying about being a victim, she pulled herself up by her bootstraps and started working long hard hours on her music career and doing whatever it took to make a better life for herself and for her daughter. Fantasia's family, church, and entire community loved her and fully supported her in her dreams of becoming the next American Idol. She knew how blessed she was to have such a wonderful support system and became a role model to other single mothers that you can change your life with hard work and a passionate fire in your heart. She always made sure to let people know that it was her religious faith and her family that got her through the hard times.
One of the songs on her first CD is called "Baby Mama." The song cheers single mothers on as they struggle through trying to keep a job and pay for quality day care for their children. It does not tell us that we should chose that path, but that if you have, her heart goes out to you because she's been there and knows first hand how hard it is. The song is telling single mothers not to give up the battle for independence and self-sufficiency. You would think that she was telling teenage girls to all go out and get themselves pregnant the way the media attacked her. I cannot tell you how many Christian groups attacked her for that song. They kept saying that she is a role model promoting unprotected sex and that she was glamorizing single parenthood. They act as if once she screwed up she was supposed to carry that label for the rest of her life. She is not supposed to ever encourage others in the same situation to not give up and quit. Screw 'em Fantasia! You keep cheering those girls on to pull themselves together. You are NOT a poster child for bad choices. You are a beautiful role model of how anyone can come from hell and find their way back into a heavenly life.
I wish I could tell all of you that there's some magical formula I've learned to get people to respect you and to see you as fresh and new once you've pulled your life back together. You work so hard to create a new self-image and some people refuse to see it. But the truth is some people never do get a clue. They really don't know what it takes to come back from a really bad lifestyle. They don't know you, the real you who fought and struggled to make something of yourself. I wish I could tell all of you how to not give a darn what others think of you, but that is a very private and personal journey for each of us. You have to remember that you are making positive changes in your life because the changes benefit you and not because you are trying to win a popularity contest.
Sometimes the best solution is to make a fresh start in a fresh location. After you have done the spiritual, emotional, and psychological work to turn your life around, move away from the naysayers who would treat you as if you have never changed. Do not allow anyone to convince you that once you make a mistake that you are to be labeled as damaged goods for the rest of your life. Surround yourself with people who do not know or do not care that once upon a time you were a mess. And even if it seems as if you are the only person in the world who recognizes that you have changed, know that you are right and that you are a new person making a new life.
Copyright 2006, Skye Thomas, Tomorrow's Edge
About The Author
Skye Thomas is the CEO of Tomorrow's Edge, an Internet leader in inspiring leaps of faith. Her books, articles, and astrological forecasts have inspired people of all ages and faiths to recommit themselves to the pursuit of happiness.