How many times are we told to
“Get over it”,
and, when given such an instruction, how often do we reply, or want to reply
” I can’t do that, you simply don’t understand”
I suspect all of us have found ourselves in that situation at some point in our lives, and within us all I suspect there is an inner resentment or an inner voice that declares
“What do you mean get over it, how dare you tell me what to do! You haven’t been there, you haven’t felt the pain; or whatever, and you aren’t the one who is still dealing with the scars!”
I have thought such words, and I have thrown back a hurtful and accusatory stare at the speaker; but was I right to do so when, if truth be told, the speaker was only trying to help me overcome a series of traumatic experiences so I could live my life to the full? I wasn’t grateful to her at the time for saying such words, or words of a similar nature, but on hindsight, and upon reflection of a recent conversation, it crosses my mind that embracing a new way of thinking might be a good thing for us all.
I’m not saying we should ignore our own or world history, and I’m not saying that we should grant ourselves, or others, automatic absolution, but how often do we dwell on past events, both pleasant and painful, without learning from them and without trying to put them into context thereby exacting a resolution, understanding, or cure
Puzzled by what I’m saying, well carry on reading and hopefully everything will become clear, but in all the sections that follow three questions will constantly reoccurring
- Can we forget
- Should forget
- Can we get over it
- Can we learn from history, and allow reconciliation and forgiveness to win over retribution and pain
Let me say now that I’m not too sure myself whether there are any concrete answers to such questions but to begin with, can we deal with and get over our own personal history and pain.
Dealing with our own inner demons
As a long-term depressive who recognised failure at age 7, and a sufferer of several breakdowns including a suicide attempt, I can fairly say that, as regards dealing with the past, both successfully and unsuccessfully, I’ve been there and I’ve got the T-Shirt. Several times over in fact, so if anyone has any doubts on what follows, please reffer back to these words
From the ecstatically happy to the unbearably sad or painful, we all have memories inside us that, all to often, we find hard to share. Once they had substance, once they might had words, sounds, a sense of touch and smell, but now they sit quietly inside us, just waiting for us to drop our guard so that they might, once more, rush our and drown us all over again.
So what do we do about such memories? How many of us hold them either out of shame or, dare I say, safety and convenience, but lock them away in a prison of our own making and maintainance so that they never really see the light of day.
I suspect most of us do so, but how wise is our actions, and, under certain conditions, might it not be better to deal with them in a more proactive and controlled type of way? Sure, we could easily carry on as we are as the prison hs been built, the bars are good and strong, and we have trained our mind to prevent any kind of escape or leakage, but for what purpose and to what avail?
Might it not be better to unlock the doors of confinement, and find our, where relevant, what has gone on.
Yes it hurts; dear God’s does it hurt, as it is as though you are pulling out your own teeth, without anesthetic, and doing so, very painfully one by one
Yes, there is no guarantee of self acceptance and resolution
Yes, there maybe certain memories or incidents that cannot be dealt with, or that simply will not go away and
Yes, outside help may be needed to assist and kind of resolution
But even if you deal with just one memory, or just one painful incident in your life that is one less prisoner and one less padlock that has to be maintained, fed, and monitored, and with that time and energy at your disposal, just think of what you might be able top do
Dealing with World History
“The Holocaust, the First World War, and the Second World War; that’s all History now. Why can’t people just get over it, and now live life to the full!”
That was a comment that was made to myself and others recently, as well as other more unrepeatable comments, and, bang ion cue we all condemned such a view saying that certain things were too big, too distressing, and too important to be forgotten or ignored. Were we right to challenge his views though, or his way of thinking, or were we guilty of blindly burying our heads in the sand? After all, such things are history, technically anyway, and, as they are so painful to remember, might it not be time to deal with them, and learn from them. so that we might let some of the more painful and damaging memories go.
To those who have lost family and friends during such periods of history this might sound like blasphemy, and cruel insensitive indifference to the suffering that so may endured, but nothing could be further from the truth. I do feel though that we have to learn from such events, and, no matter how difficult seek some kind of inner and/or outer reconciliation with our enemies so that we can let some of our pain to one side.
This isn’t to say that we should personally or communally forget about such incidents. Far from it, for if we forget such events then we would be dishonouring so any who have suffered or died, and the damn mess will once more swing into view, but we have to learn
What is even harder is to forgive , or to at least seek some kind of understanding or reconciliation; but it can be done. For many years I wanted to seek vengeance of the three boys who made my life Hell at school, I have been to the First World War cemeteries, and heard first hand accounts of Holocaust survivors. I saw one long whistle player desperately hammering out orange day parade marching tunes to no-one but an empty promenade, an indifferent sea, a drunk, and a moribund seagull, and I have seen my wife standing, frozen by fear and memories, in front of a russian tank in London’s Imperial war museum.
So much pain, and so little resolution, and too what end.
If there is no reconciliation and understanding in areas such as Northern Island, Nazi Germany, the Balkans, Syria, Israel and Palestine, then when will such tragedies over go to the grave. In all such conflicts all sides have comitted terriblke acts, but whsat hope for peace is there is both siudes stubboirnly look back over such incidents and refuse to give way?
Dealing with the unknown
Look at the picture on the left of these words
Fine words, you might say, great words from a well respected leader, but how much time do we spend worrying about, or thinking about things which are either beyond our control,or beyond our comprehension.
I have dealt with this topic before in earlier posts-click here– but my point is quite simply why don’t we get over such questions and use all of that time and energy to do things and achieve things that really need to be done.
Don’t get me wrong, I love to think about such things, and if anyone wants to engage in such a discussion then I am one of the first there, but I can very clearly see that such discussions are a waste of time if nothing can be solved. Just look at the quote below
“Well, you have made for yourself
something that you call a morality or a religion or what not. It
doesn’t fit the facts. Well, scrap it. Scrap it and get one that
does fit. That is what is wrong with the world at present. It
scraps its obsolete steam engines and dynamos; but it won’t scrap
its old prejudices and its old moralities and its old religions
and its old political constitutions. What’s the result? In
machinery it does very well; but in morals and religion and
politics it is working at a loss that brings it nearer bankruptcy
every year. Don’t persist in that folly. If your old religion
broke down yesterday, get a newer and a better one for tomorrow.”
Major Barbara G B Shaw
It may seem that be speaker is being callous and mercenary, but I wonder, is he doing any more than spelling out an uncomfortable truth that many of all ready know? We can agonise, philosophise, and gaze at our own navels for all eternity, nobody is going to stop us, but while we waffle on about such indefinable and unsolvable quandaries, others, of a more pragmatic nature, are cheerfully grabbing our potential resources and food
This has been a long post, and a tough post with many unanswered questions, but what I’d like to to close the post is to invite you to look at three you tube video’s which sum up, in my mind, the post as a whole
One is a Holocaust survivors testimony, while the other two are testimonies of the descendents or some of the Nazi War Criminals. They are sober viewing, but I make no apologies for their presence, as I believe they offer a lesson to us all. Have a good day everyone, and that you for both your attention and time