When I was in undergrad my friends and I had many deep discussions about religion and beliefs.  Also about coffee and what was in that mystery punch and if we’d ever have peach schnaps after that one night….anyway we would talk about what tradition we were raised in or not, if we still believed in that for ourselves or not, and how we planned on practicing going forward.  Standard stuff for your 20’s.  But what was interesting is that there seemed to be 3 buckets that we finally sorted into: staying with the family religion, finding our own spirituality completely apart from our religion of origin, or being “not” our religion of origin.  I came to call it the “anti-Catholic” option but it could be anti anything, anti-Presbyterian, anti-Mormon, anti-Jewish, anti-Pastafarian, whatever.

The anti people are very clear that they are not whatever they were.  In fact, they can describe in great detail what they are no longer or will not have any more.  This makes sense when you’re first changing from this to that.  People who have known you before or know about you or know people around you or make assumptions based on things they know about you can think you are this when you’re actually that.  Clarifying is a good thing and gets everyone set up to succeed.  Yay!  However, people who are anti whatever tend to fossilize their identity into being not what they are no longer.  So any time they need to make a statement about themselves, instead of saying what they are, they say what they are not.  Instead of asking for what they want, they give you a laundry list of what they don’t want.  Instead of moving towards the life and relationships and connection they do want, they walk backwards through life with their hands out pushing against what they are no longer and shouting over their shoulders that they aren’t this any more.  See how healed and whole they are?  🙂  They are completely free to be whatever they want.  Or not.

The life we have lived up until now is our life.  We shouldn’t be throwing the baby out with the bath water.  We are in part sculpted by our experiences, actions, and choices and we should claim them.  However, our past shouldn’t be something that is still alive, active, and interacting with us constantly.  It shouldn’t define us, it should be the fertile soil we plant our new selves in so we can be constantly harvesting the best of a new life.  If we are continuously self identifying with what we are not, we are cheating ourselves out of our own lives. At some point what we were should no longer be relevant other than as history that we can choose to weave into things or not. What we have become, what we choose, and who we are growing into should be the identity we fully inhabit.  Are there places you are walking backwards pushing against the past?