As I sit at my computer today, I am feeling a deep sense of bitterness, anger and disappointment. With myself. Not with my new-found self, but with the self that I owned in my earlier years. My young adolescent self.
The young adolescent self who did so miserably in school, for no real logical reason. The one who had the potential, but who chose not to make use of it. I suppose I could make excuses for her. I could say that she was shy and deeply introverted and unable to communicate her thoughts. I could say that she struggled with a lack of self-esteem and confidence and that she was never encouraged or supported in her studies. I could even say that she fell into the wrong crowd. All true, but not good enough.
As I look through my old school transcripts I am overwhelmed with anger at that young girl who had so much potential, but chose to throw it away. Hindsight can be excruciatingly painful. We review our lives and see things that could so easily have been made different. We see the choices we didn’t make that could have changed our entire life direction, but which we now have no power over.
Ironically, for most of my life, I have had an inescapable thirst for knowledge. An all-encompassing need to know, to understand, to discover. An unrelenting passion for learning that refuses to go away. Perhaps I am trying to make up for my younger self’s lack of drive, her disinterest and her apathy.
Yet, despite the anger and disappointment I feel compelled to try to understand and to forgive. I wish I could meet my young shy self today. I would tell her that she is capable, and that she has worth. I would give her all the support she needed and desired. I would give her unconditional positive regard to build her self-esteem and confidence. I would tell her that I knew she could do anything and be anything that she wanted. And I would gently draw her out of her bubble and introduce her to the not-so-frightening world around her.
Personal growth is not only about accepting and loving the person we are, but also the person that we were. And as difficult as it might be, letting go of the anger that we direct at ourselves is a necessary ingredient in loving all of the parts that make us who we are. This is what will make us complete and what will help us grow and move forward in our life-long journey.