I am as big a fan of moving forward as the next guy, but I feel like there should be a disclaimer. I have never moved all the way forward unless I have figured out a way to process and let go of whatever it is I am moving forward from.
Even then, I have found that, years later, I am doing the processing and letting go again, but on a different level.
We are the sum total of all of our experiences. There really isn’t a complete purging system to erase an experience from our lives—unless we have a brain injury or dementia process that affects our memory systems.
Each time we move forward, we are choosing to shift our perspective of whatever it was that has propelled us forward in the first place. If it is a relationship, for example, then we take what we learned about ourselves through that relationship, process our part of its end, and move on.
Let’s say we move on to the next relationship (or job, or whatever). Have we erased all of our previous relationships by doing so? Of course not.
If we have processed and truly moved forward, then we take all that we have learned from our previous relationships into the new one. If we have moved forward without processing, shifting perspective, and letting, go then we may just bring all the icky into that relationship too.
The icky is any behavioral pattern that we have developed over the years. For example, in many of my previous jobs, it was important to me that I get the approval of my boss. In my twenties, I needed that validation and approval to feel ok, so I tended to be a workaholic as a result.
I took this ick into my thirties, but before I started showing symptoms of my illness, I realized that my workaholism was also driven by my need to save my clients and help them ways I couldn’t in my past efforts to save my mom. It was the same ick, but on a different level. See how that works?
How do you know if you have truly moved forward into your next experience? I think you know when you get there. If there is icky showing up, then somewhere along the way, we may have skipped a step or two.
I have cheated the process plenty of times, but it always catches up to me somewhere along the line. The icky comes out and I am never quite sure where it has come from at first. I have even run far away from the icky without trying to figure it out. It still catches back up and shows itself until I take a look at it.
My hope is to take as little ick as possible into the New Year ahead. I do this every year, and every year, I have an unrealistic expectation of leaving the ick behind. This time, I am trying something different. I expect to be processing something again on a different level, and I welcome some ick as I move forward.