For many years, before I decided to deal with all of my “issues”, I have struggled with what causes me to feel like this. To be like this. Why can’t I be happy [like everyone else]? Why do I have to keep battling anxiety attacks and depression? Why can’t I just be “normal”?
I have been going back and forth since I started my therapy sessions, whether it would be worth going back in time to figure out the “why”, or if I should just accept the “what” and focus on managing the cards I have been dealt and look forward instead. And the professionals argue this very same question all the time, so I am not alone in asking myself this, that is clear.
My therapist suggested I write a letter to my father, who is very much a part of the “why”.
Not to mention every layman who seems to have an opinion too – and without any sound statistical evidence or empirical studies, the majority seems to lean towards “you have to forgive and forget to be able to move on”… But I think I have reached my conclusion and I disagree. Respectfully but firmly disagree.
I don’t want to spend any more time dwelling on the past. It is gone. It is finished already. No one can change it.
One of the most important things I have taken away from the numerous Dhamma talks that I have listened to, or participated in, is that nothing good comes out of re-hashing the past. The secret is to be able to let it go and move on. Look forward. Learn from it, yes, but don’t get stuck in the past. Don’t hash over it. Don’t let it define you. And since I started practicing that skill every day, some days several times a day when I almost fall back into old thinking patterns, the better I feel. The stronger I get. The more grounded and calm. And the less I stress and worry, about anything really.
Because I don’t spend all that negative energy beating myself up or trying to analyse things that are anyway long gone and cannot be changed.
And I practice every single day. Every day “letting go” becomes a little easier, more natural or instinctive a behaviour, to the point that this has now become my “new normal”. And it is a good normal! It is a great normal! Perhaps not the “like everyone else” normal but a much better one I think.
So Dad, here is the letter that I will never write to you:
I don’t need to write you a letter to move on.
I have found a much better way of dealing with my ghosts.
I have found my balance.
I have found happiness.
I have found my inner strength and finally thrown the mask off!