Today I went on a lovely bike ride with one of my parents.
While I was riding, I was thinking of how I hold onto past feelings from people I feel let down or hurt by. I was thinking of a specific person in relation to this - who I was also on the ride with - and the tenuous relationship we've had over the years.
I've worked out a lot of my feelings over this, but sometimes, I can still feel myself holding onto those past experiences and feelings. Even now, after this person has changed and shown considerable growth, I still see them as that overbearing, angry and critical person from my childhood and teenage years.
I realized today, it's almost as if I'm holding this person emotionally hostage.
I'm forcing them to stay in one place, and to always be that person I remember them as. In some ways, this justifies certain things I've done. Things I did because I was either emulating their behavior or projecting my inner pain outwards. I began to wonder why I want this person to stay as that vision in my mind, when I hated them when they were that person.
Wouldn't I rather see them as they are now, or at least try to be more objective in my view, so that I could let in the love? Love is so much easier to carry around than hate.
As I biked, I thought about how much I've changed, and how much it would hurt me if I wasn't allowed to grow and be different. What if someone was insisting on tethering me to my past in the same way?
It of course would not feel good, and as I biked, I realized this hurts me as much as them. I saw it like one person literally holding another hostage.
When you're the person holding another down, it appears as if the person being held hostage is the one being trapped against their will. But isn't the person doing the holding trapped also? How can they be free if they have to make sure this person stays in place?
How can I be free if all my energy is focused on tethering us to the past, just to prove something that only I can see?
By letting this person go, and by not caring who they were, or even who they are now, I allow myself to be free. I no longer have to put all my energy on holding onto something, but instead, can completely let go.
And by letting go, I can embrace and allow all of my own beautiful growth. By stubbornly sticking to only one view of this person I was short changing my own growth. I wasn't allowing myself to grow in a way that saw a bigger perspective. I wasn't even trying to see that this person too had also been wounded, disappointed, and sucker punched by life.
I had locked myself into place while holding the key that would set me free. The key to my freedom was the same as theirs. That day, I set us both free, and I never looked back.