The Power of Reconnecting with old Friends
For some people, reconnecting with old friends brings up a lot of painful feelings and feels like a nightmare – especially if it ended on a sour note. For others, living in the past is an obsessive and oftentimes destructive hobby. Somewhere in the middle, however, lies a wonderful porthole into remembering how we’ve changed from who we were.
Point of View #1: Isn’t chasing down old friends living in the past? (feel free to skip if this isn’t you)
For those that consider reconnecting with old friends to be a useless waste of time, let’s consider. We know that when it’s family most people will generally reach out to family members when they wouldn’t necessarily reach out to someone outside of their kin. This may be because they recognize the simple truth that they won’t be able to ‘escape’ their family, and therefore they might as well ‘bite the bullet’ and figure something out (so, blood is thicker).
People outside of the family, however, apparently seem to be much easier to escape. One may think to themselves that perhaps they will never plan to visit a particular city again, so why bother respecting its inhabitants if there isn’t any clear benefit? Distance and time are viewed similarly in this way. If an old friend/acquaintance/enemy is out there, and I may never see them again, why bother?
Point of View #2: Our memories are all we have! (feel free to skip if this isn’t you)
The future may appear to suck, frankly, and so why not relive all of the thriving times and exciting relationships that have proved (at least somewhat) reliable the past? We can catch up, watch old movies, laugh at the same old jokes that we laughed at 5-30 years ago, and it’ll be a blast. New friends may be hard to come by, so that’s why we have old friends – right?
Everybody now: The Hidden Power of Reconnection
Between these two extremes lies ‘The Middle Way’, which is certainly a valuable path to consider on any topic. Of course, it doesn’t make sense to make the future all about the past. The future is imminent, and the past is literally nothing, so it certainly doesn’t make sense to let our pasts define us.
At the same time, the past is literally the only here, and very soon this moment will be in the past as well. It’s a record of our decisions. The issues that are on our minds right now (in regard to the future), are likely being driven by stuck emotions that were created in the past. Let’s consider this: 10 years ago, we experienced a pitfall of some sort. A broken ankle, or a fight with a parent, or a lost wallet. Something that created negative feelings, and is easier just to not think about. It may even seem harmful to drudge up old feelings about that high school relationship that went sour, or even that annoying kid who was so hurtful to you in the back of the class in 4th grade. We all have our stories, and we tend to want to protect ourselves from re-living them over and over in order to keep sane and functioning in our daily lives. Totally understandable.
BUT! The solution is actually very simple. The guilt or shame that went unexpressed about that incident is still there. We may still be angry at that annoying kid (and at ourselves for feeling ashamed), and every time we get angry that’s still a part of it. We may still be hurt by that breakup, and to this day avoid certain types of intimacy because we’ve ‘learned our lesson’. In reality, the only thing we’ve learned is that we are not emotionally available because we haven’t yet made space in ourselves for new feelings.
If you’ll never see that person again, why does it really matter how they feel? This common question is misleading, because the fact is that it’s because we don’t allow ourselves to care about how the other person feels, that we may never see them again. Everyone has something special to offer. Every single person has a convergence of totally unique gifts – and by pretending this to be anything other than the truth is committing a disservice to ourselves, and to the world. This doesn’t mean that we have to be ‘friends’, with everyone, and give our time where it doesn’t feel good. If simply feels too scary, though, then it may be worthwhile. If it’s because of judgement, it may be worthwhile as well, because in that case we must also be judging ourselves. If it’s because of laziness, than we’re hurting everyone involved by avoiding the responsibility of finding clarity for the future.
In short: Reconnecting with Old Friends clears us out and helps us start anew. It can be a wonderfully insightful adventure, and sometimes even the most surreal experience imaginable. It’s Truly Participating in your life!