Ghosts

No. Not ghosts in the sense of the dead coming back to life to seek their revenge and haunt the living. But ghosts of the past, good or bad, regrets or loves. We all have them. The things that haunt us.

But recently, I am realizing that these ghosts aren’t always a bad thing. These ghosts teach us lessons and help us to grow. We learn from our past mistakes.

When people tell you to move on, listen carefully, because sometimes they are right. Don’t hold on to your ghosts so much that you forget about the future. Instead, take those mistakes and successes and learn from them.

In The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien, a book I read in English, O’Brien uses war veterans to write about the fact that everyone carries ghosts. However, he does not view this as a bad thing, even in the hardest times. Instead, he shows it to be a very valuable thing. What would we be without our past experiences, without the people who have made a difference in our lives?  Whether they are still by our side or have moved on, in one way or another, they were important. O’Brien writes “by telling stories, you objectify your own experience. You separate it from yourself. You pin down certain truths. You make up others.”

When you allow yourself to remember, you allow yourself to heal and understand. Do not make the mistake of dwelling, which we all so easily fall victim to. What’s past is past. But don’t forget when you forgive. Tell the stories over and over again until they don’t hurt so much. And don’t let anyone make you feel ashamed for remembering. Don’t feel stupid for telling your story more than anything else and feeling the way it makes you feel. One day, the parts that used to make you cry, will be the ones that you’re most proud to tell. What seemed, at the time, to be your biggest struggles, will become your biggest triumphs.

Sometimes the stories that are the hardest to hear are the ones that most need to be told.

And learn to listen when others tell their stories. Don’t be too busy. Don’t be annoyed. Have patience, because that boy talking your ear off, that girl crying on your shoulder, one day they might surprise you and return the favor when you need it most.

Love your ghosts, and hold them close. Cry when you miss them, and don’t be ashamed. Thank those ghosts and don’t forget them. Those ghosts made you who you are, good or bad. You would be nothing without them.

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