Embarrassed by My Past (Even Though it Made Me Stronger)
We all have a past. Sure they range from fantastic to tragic to inspiring or even painfully heart-breaking but we all have one. Depending on the situation, our history can be summed up in either short- or long-tail form regardless if we are talking about who we are, where we’re from or what we do.
99% of Us Have Pasts With Wonderful HIGHS and Stressful LOWS
Experiences are one of the few things in life that none of us can avoid. How we internalise and process them and – more importantly – how we mentally and physically externalise the history of those experiences is a large part of what makes us who we are. I could experience the EXACT same thing as the person standing next to me and walk away with a completely different version of what went down. Hopefully, for the good but maybe not. I guess the outcome really depends on our beliefs or the mood we were in or even on our level of emotional intelligence.
Well, something really strange happened this month that sparked this banter in my head. I was sitting in the tail end of what was a 2-hour long job interview for a very cool startup company in Hong Kong looking for a VP of comms & marketing. They raised their very justified concern that I seem like a flight risk because I’ve lived in three countries in the past two years. Fair enough, it is true that I don’t have stability on my side.
The past two years have been a crazy adventure. I watched my daughter fly off on her own to start uni in the UK, I walked on the Great Wall of China and I even worked for one of China’s biggest pop stars G.E.M. for a few months. The same two years have also been stressful and AWFUL and full of failures and mistakes. I was even deported from India over an administrative error they won’t correct. So I took a deep breath, looked the Chairman in the eye and told him I would like to be forthcoming and truthful about it all. He kindly nodded with compassion and I began.
Just like you…I’ve walked a path. Each step has led me to where I am and shaped my mentality. I can generally wade through it all very matter-of-factly and embrace it. Yet something strange happened that day. As I began to recount the truth of it all, it took the whole of 30 seconds before I felt my cheeks heat up and turn red in embarrassment. As I talked through the ‘negatives’ of the past couple of years, taking responsibility for everything but also just sharing that I’ve had a run of really REALLY bad luck, my hands also started to shake.
There I Was Trying to Put My Best Foot Forward
When I was done explaining it all, I went to take a sip of water and my hand was shaking so badly I spilled the water! They were very kind and never made me feel judged, which I was thankful for, but I’ve never had that reaction to recounting my life before.
Well, Screw That!
That’s the last time that’s happening. I’m not sure how to reprogramme oneself but being embarrassed about the past serves no good (well, unless it’s truly terrible but that’s not this). Maybe I just hadn’t really taken responsibility for it all yet? Well, here it is. I’ve screwed up and made bad choices at times but every bit of that past is part of my DNA now.
I can’t 100% explain what happened that day but I know it was uncomfortable and I was undeniably embarrassed. Case in point when I turned red and dribbled water all over the desk in front of me! Certainly not my finest hour.
Being YOU means a lot of different things. If you’re lucky, you’re a positive end-product of all of your experiences and you shine bright like a beacon for others. If you’re not so lucky yet, then maybe you just need a little help getting there. Either way, it’s okay. Life is a journey and we are all on that path. Surround yourself with positivity and people who love you and your path will surely become easier.
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