I would like to share a prayer by a renowned mystic which goes like this, “My past, O Lord, to Your mercy; my present, to Your Love; my future, to your providence.”
What is this prayer all about? What does this prayer mean for survivors of abuse and many other forms of victimization?
The prayer conveys a message of hope, resilience, positivity, trust, and confidence in God. There is always something to look forward to… a reason to move forward and not just move on after an episode of pain and hurt.
Bad things have happened to you and many others that were unjustified and unfair but let not the past weigh you down and stop you from moving forward.
Your past does not define you and your future. What does is what you choose to be… or how you choose to live beyond tragedy.
Do you see yourself as a victim… or a survivor?
A victim will continue to live in the past and dwell on the pain. She has stopped living and pursuing her dreams. There is no new beginning; only guilt and shame.
For them, life has stopped. Misery has taken over.
Are you a victim then?
A survivor, on the other hand, refuses to be defined by the abuse she had suffered in the past. She does not allow herself to be pushed around by the pain that had followed or be dictated by the guilt or shame that lingers.
For them, there is no dwelling in the past but only living and fighting in the present and beyond. The promise of the future is greater than the pain, sweeter than the tears of the past.
Victims see only the ugliness of their experience. Survivors see hope interwoven in their experience.
It is true that your present circumstances are, to a large extent, the result of your past. It’s also true that your future is determined by how you act in the present moment.
In other words, your past has no bearing on your future… not if you choose to become a slave to your past.
It is only by your choosing that you became a slave to the past.
All of us have experienced some forms of abuse. Some of us have experienced circumstances so bad they could be considered traumatic.
As victims of injustices that were not our own, it is normal for us to feel hurt, experience guilt or shame, and feel anger or hatred towards those who wronged us in the past.
But where are we now? How far did we get?
Did our guilt, anger, and resentment make us better and stronger individuals?
Did enslaving ourselves to the past bring us any good in life?
We could never change the past. Therefore, let us stop living in the past.
Let’s get ahead and not let the pain of the past weigh us down. Don’t allow your past to have a grip on your present.
Forgive the people who had caused you hurt. Your life is not about them, so why cling to the memory of them and what they did to you?
Recognize that you have complete autonomy to make wise choices in the present moment. Affirm your choice for inner healing and peace of mind, love, and happiness.
Admit that you cannot change the past but acknowledge you have much power over the present and control over the future.
You cannot change the past but you can choose how to react to it or to look at it differently. From it, strive to become a wiser, stronger, and more matured person.
You do not have to be a victim or slave any longer.
Your past does not define you and your future, so with the help of God, move forward.