Do my reactions dig up my past?

Commentary by Isabel Hernández Negrín, Las Palmas, Canary Islands, Spain.

We nearly always believe that our responses to situations are coherent, that they are what the situation demands.
And, moreover, that they constitute an open and informed response.

But, are you sure that they are?

For, how many times have you been sure about how someone would react in a particular situation!

We know that so and so is shy and that he will not manage to feel comfortable speaking in public. Or that somebody or other is going to get angry if we oppose her on a certain issue. Or you know perfectly well that your boss will be irritated by certain things.

Our reactions are normally predictable and they are conditioned by what we have learnt in the past and bear the traces of that even today, in the here and now. Our reactive responses are influenced more by the past, by our memories, than by a voluntary, informed and conscious act. We are always digging up our pasts.

If we have had a significant disappointment in love, maybe we have buried it away, and we will always be scared of feeling betrayed, or let down, or abandoned. If we have had parents or teachers who were over-demanding or not very affectionate we may be scared of making mistakes and this fear may arise whenever we are faced with situations that are either not at all challenging, or intensely challenging. If our parents always allowed us to do what we wanted, we may be easily frustrated when we cannot get what we want.

Is this freedom? No, not at all. When we are not able to see what motivates our reactions, we always continue repeating the past. We act on the basis of our memories and fears and not the actual situation that we face.

Observe yourself, because it is the only way to free yourself from the past and to lead a life that you really feel is yours, in which you are creative and happy! You do not know how good it feels and how light you will feel!